Meditation is no longer just something people tack on to the end of their yoga class. And you don’t have to go on an extortionate retreat in the middle of a forest to give it a go, either.
Nowadays everyone can do it on their morning commute, lunch break, or at home after work. But it can be difficult to get into without first doing a few guided meditation classes taught by a pro.
These masters can teach you how meditation doesn’t simply help you relax and escape from life’s messy surroundings, but how it allows you to dig down deep to the core of your anxiety and stresses.
It’s about addressing the cause, not just the symptoms.
Everyone finds different routes to the same mindful place, so try these out and discover which is best for you.
Inner Space is a meditation and personal development centre with sites at Templeton House and Covent Garden. The team here run regular courses and seminars on meditation and mindfulness, but are best known for their free meditation classes. The 30-minute lunchtime and evening meditations are most popular among workers in the Barbican area.
Their space has even come to be known as ‘London’s oasis of calm and insight’ – a refuge for busy business people who need to destress in a very open and relaxed environment. No one is trying to show off here. The team wish to demystify meditation. It is a simple skill that all people can master, and they are on hand in the room to teach and guide both novices and the more experienced.
Teachers from Inner Space also regularly visit offices in the Square Mile to work with those who don’t have the time to get out and visit the centre. Taking time to revitalise is essential for maintaining high productivity at work, and time to unwind at the end of the day is just as important. And while all activities are free, they do welcome voluntary donations.
Templeton House, 33-34 Chiswell Street EC1Y 4SB
This hyper modern meditation class is inspired by the ‘Ganzfeld effect’, which is a form of perceptual deprivation that causes the brain to amplify neural sound so it can search for the sensory signals it is used to receiving. This may sound confusing but the process is actually very simple. You grab some pillows and blankets, lay on the floor with Beats by Dre headphones, and follow the 30-minute guided meditation.
The colourful lights in the room filter through your eyelids as you meditate, helping you fall into a state of lucid dreaming and synaesthesia. For a moment, when we tried the class, we believed we were actually blue – not just in a blue room. We were blue. It was trippy.
And once you stop being distracted by the colours and sounds they will all mesh together, and you can, very easily, fall into a meditative state where you can release stress. Chroma Yoga also hosts a wide variety of yoga classes, as is quite obvious from their name. Each of the classes is also tailored to changing lights, with the science behind colour heavily influencing their routines.
45 Charlotte Road EC2A 3DP
The Foundation of International Spiritual Unfoldment (FISU) Meditation Centre is an educational facility for the development of meditation and stress management techniques. The Moorgate meditation centre offers methods tailored to businesses, plus introductory courses for workplace meditation and consultations on organisational wellbeing and stress management structure. When employees are happy and stress-free, the quality of their work drastically improves.
But they believe that the long-term benefits of meditation cannot be achieved in sporadic walk-in sessions. They recommend people to take their full FISU Meditation course which comprises 10 sessions, each taking about two hours. The course has four modules and takes around three months to complete, and is taught on an individual basis or in small groups. It is billed as the most thorough and personalised meditation offering in the City.
45 Moorfields, Moorgate EC2Y 9AE
Inhere was London’s first ever teacher-free drop-in meditation studio. It launched its City classes in 2017 and is set to open a new studio in Fitzrovia this winter with the aim of giving everyone the chance to develop a healthy relationship with their mind. This means offering people the opportunity, time and space to tune out the noise of daily life.
Such a space is found in custom-built meditation pods. Within these pods, you can choose one of seven different guided modules that are delivered via recordings of soothing soundscapes and instructional audio tracks. Sessions last between five and 30 minutes and run throughout the day.
Guided meditations like ‘Awake’ and ‘Rest’ have been developed to fit in with the ebbs and flows of your daily routine, while others address specific issues such as negative thoughts and concentration. Users can book a session online or drop in whenever they feel like they need to escape.
Most have been developed and recorded by the founder, Adiba, based on her own practice and scientific research on how the brain and body respond to meditation. They are suitable for both beginners and those who practice on a regular basis.
36 Street Mary at Hill EC3R 8DU
These guys are the best for total newbies. Their four-week group course consists of weekly one-hour classes at one of seven London locations. The first session is free and teaches the basics of mindfulness and meditation, getting guests comfortable with sitting in silence and stillness.
They teach simple poses and breathing techniques, focusing on centring the body before dealing with the inner workings of the mind. In the end, participants leave with the skills and resources needed to continue practicing meditation and mindfulness at home, slowly incorporating it into everyday routines.
It’s a very approachable course for those who know very little about mediation but still feel the need for its benefits. And because meditation is such a personal experience, Obby makes sure classes never have more than 10 people participating at a time. The four-week course is only £81, making it one of the most affordable of its kind, too.