MNDFL: The space to breathe. There is nothing more important to us at The Moment HQ than listening to our minds and bodies, and MNDFL is a place that encourages us to do just that, beginning the moment we walk in the door. MNDFL is a NYC meditation studio lead by expert teachers, offering simple and accessible breathing and meditation techniques. Their newest location just opened up in February in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which is conveniently located right off the Bedford subway station. Williamsburg is the perfect location, so easy to reach on those days when we weren’t as mindful or present as we wanted to be, or when we just generally need a minute to wind down.
We’ve been fans since they opened their first location in Greenwich Village just a couple of years ago. We have been popping in and out of classes ever since. The best part of MNDFL? You can drop in anytime and just sit and breathe when classes are not in session. So for all of you who grow tired of noisy streets and constant construction like we do, we can escape here together, and become a little more mindful. It’s the best.
On the first day that they opened in Williamsburg, we stopped in for a MNDFL Sound Class. When you first walk into MNDFL, you can’t help but immediately feel calm and relaxed. Everything about MNDFL makes your experience there become more, well, mindful – the complimentary tea, cozy reading nook to indulge in a variety of zen books, the artwork and overall branding, from the colors of the cushions that you sit on, to the plants around the room, friendly staff – ah, everything. You can’t help but leave a little lighter. And if you’re in NYC like we are, I’m sure we could all bare to become a little bit lighter (mentally speaking, of course).
While lounging in the cozy reading nook with a cup of tea in hand, we chatted with Ellie Burrows, CEO of MNDFL, who was finishing up her busy day by taking a breath with us. We are such fans; It was inspiring to see Ellie completely calm and relaxed, and on the day that they opened the new store! It definitely made us want to visit more often. We’re continuously inspired by her ability to be grounded, present, and calm during times that, for most, would have people’s heads spinning. Not Ellie, she’s a zen master, and we couldn’t wait to ask her how she does it all, while keeping a steady breath!
Photo above by Jai Lennard
The Moment: What’s your role at MNDFL?
Ellie: I’m one of the co-founders, but I also have the title CEO – sometimes we joke that it stands for “Chief Experience Officer.” I help make meditation accessible to all New Yorkers.
The Moment: Where are you based?
Ellie: New York City and The Universe at large.
The Moment: What was the inspiration for your brand?
Ellie: Accessibility, integrity, inclusivity, modernity, service and love. These are some of the words that we often use when we talk about what MNDFL is all about. Accessibility: we’ve given our classes different themes which help one navigate the variety of meditation styles that are offered at MNDFL. Your first class is just $10. Integrity: All of our teachers are certified in a specific meditation lineage or tradition. Inclusivity: We have a very diverse community and welcome all New Yorkers. Our youngest community member is 9 and our oldest is 91, and the people who sit with us come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Modernity: We offer meditation instruction that can easily integrate into the demands of city living ,and all of our classes touch upon contemporary topics. Service: We’re here to help New Yorkers slow down, learn how to relax and open their hearts. Love: The space was born out of a deep love of the practice and people can feel that reverence when they come into the space. When it comes to the studio, our culture and the design went hand-in-hand. We believe that kindness is environmental. We were aware of using neutral, natural, gentle materials throughout the studio. Even the color on our walls is called “Calm.” And when people see the green wall for the first time, they generally take a big breath. So even the elements in the studio help you become aware of your breath.
The Moment: How did you become interested in meditation?
Ellie: I had a little health scare, which landed me in the office of Dr. Frank Lipman, a wonderful functional medicine doctor in the city. That visit was the first day of an almost ten year journey of self-exploration and study. That same year, I was introduced to a practice called Ecstatic Breath-work, and that was the first time I really ‘met’ my breath. While it has its benefits, it was neither meditation nor practical for everyday usage (you don’t want to drive a car or write an important email after hours of doing that), so I started exploring and struggling with meditation.
The Moment: Why is meditation becoming more mainstream?
Ellie: Science is now proving what some spiritual traditions have been saying for thousands of years. It’s no longer a monk in robes on the other side of the world telling you that meditation is good for you. Instead, it’s The New York Times, academic papers, your doctor, boss, neighbors or friends. With our studios, people are able to access quality teaching without having to commit to immersive experiences that completely take them out of their lives. While we value a retreat setting and encourage our community members to have that experience, we also understand that they have every day demands that may not allow for that. We don’t want them to miss out on an opportunity to learn how to meditate and incorporate such a powerful and beneficial practice into their daily lives.
The Moment: What’s your meditation routine?
Ellie: I meditate twice a day for 30 minutes. It’s the first thing I do after I brush my teeth and wash my face and I do it again sometime around 3 or 4pm. It’s easy to set aside the time because I know first-hand the impact it will have on my day. The style I practice provides my body with deep relaxation, so I’m better able to creatively problem solve, I’m less likely to have knee-jerk reactions to triggers, and it helps me live life with a more open heart overall. I would definitely feel different if I don’t practice. I find that if I show up for my internal world, then I’m better able to show up for my external one.
The Moment: What foods do you eat or drink to promote a feeling of zen/ward off anxiety?
Ellie: Meditation helps me with that more than any food category or beverage. I feel my best when I have a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night, exercise a minimum of four days a week, and when I make good decisions when it comes to what kind of food I’m ingesting. I try to live and eat consciously and cleanly, but I like to leave room for pleasure. For example, one of the most pleasurable parts of my day is my morning meditation, followed by a cup of black tea with steamed milk or a piece of dark chocolate in the afternoon. I feel the best when my diet consists of healthy fats, plants, and lean protein.
The Moment: Where are your favorite wellness spots?
Ellie: Dr. Frank Lipman’s office, TroupeFit, Lifethyme Market, Body By Simone, INDAY, New York Pilates, ModelFit, Sweetgreen, Cafe Clover, Sky Ting Yoga, Springbone, Divya’s Kitchen, CAP Beauty, Alexandra Soveral (when she’s in the city!), Aurelia Edwards (massage therapist!), Dr. Keren Day (chiropractor!), Bari, Two Hands, Bareburger, Naturopathica, Butcher’s Daughter, Le Botaniste, Peacefood Cafe. Siggy’s.
The Moment: How do you stay in the moment?
Ellie: Making sure I have a consistent meditation practice.
We love wellness centers, check out another one of our favorites on the West Coast, Renew Juicery.
Photography by Julia Robbs