For my part, I absolutely adore meditation, and I absolutely hate silent meditation.
I especially hate 35 minutes of silent meditation.
Fortunately, a new studio called INSCAPE has opened at 45 W. 21st Street, welcoming all those who need a break—and a bit more than just a room full of fellow meditators and silence—to dwell in one of their two sanctuaries.
Colored lighting, ethereal sounds, music and ambient noise are all paired, in most cases, with a guided meditation over a speaker that echoes throughout the whimsical, open space. If you’re one of those Buddha-on-earth types who loves a nice long stretch of silence, you can book one of those sessions , too. Delivered by audio guidance, the content incorporates three primary meditation techniques: focus, mindfulness and mantra, while music cues gentle body movements and breath work to engage and center the meditator.
There’s nothing quite like this in the city right now, and, of course, it’s happening downtown. It is a high-end experience to be sure, but actually costs about as much as the average yoga class.
Designed by renowned architect Winka Dubbeldam—who Khajak Keledjian met at INTERMIX 10 years ago—the space honors the traditions of meditation while infusing modern design and technologies to foster immersion and reflection.
“We thought it was too small for her, but she was actually inspired by the idea. Turns out we have parallel interests in yoga and meditation,” Keledjian said. “Winka’s been meditating since her early 20’s. We collaborated to design the space thoughtfully. Working with someone who authentically understands not only the design you’re imagining, but its essence, is invaluable.”
Khajak Keledjian says that INSCAPE is the first multi-platform meditation and relaxation experience that incorporates a studio and an app, one that provides audio-guided direction to bring the meditator through a unique flow of movement, breathing and meditation technique, step-by-step.
“We created INSCAPE to empower people to connect with their best selves, find balance and live life to its fullest potential, anytime, anywhere,” said Keledjian.“We wanted to create modern, secular and accessible meditation and relaxation experiences that represented an of-the-moment approach to an age-old practice.”
By combining modern technology with ancient techniques, Keledjian hopes INSCAPE will not only help busy city folks find a little Zen, but increase their ability to focus, think creatively, and up their “emotional intelligence.”
Over the last 10 years, as Keledjian practiced and refined what mediation style worked for him, he constructed his “mindful space” internally.
“It all started as a bet that I could not sit still for 15 minutes, when I was leading a hectic lifestyle. It ended up inspiring me to make meditation more relatable and accessible,” he said.
A New Yorker since his teenage years, he built his first business here and knows firsthand the need for balance and calm.
“If you can connect with yourself, you can better connect with others, which makes urban settings like this more manageable,” he said. “If we can reimagine meditation here, and create a cohesive community bringing together like-minded individuals in a big, over-stimulated city like New York, we can do it anywhere.”
Interestingly enough, in a world full of distractions and devices that make us reachable at all hours and threaten to push our boundaries of availability every day, technology is not, he says, the enemy: like with our thoughts during meditation, we have to learn to use it in our favor.
“There is a misconception that people need to detach from technology to find balance and create mindful environments. We want people to understand they can control how they interact with technology, rather than feel they are controlled by it,” he said. “The reality is that technology is part of the evolution of our society and it can enhance and enrich our everyday lives if we utilize it mindfully.”
If you ask me guided meditation is a great way to go—just the right amount of gentle stimulation when you’re seeking a break from an apartment or office full of screens and a city full of: insert frustrating/loud/rude/noisy/annoying/delayed thing here.
Book a session here.