Experiencing Calm Seas in the Hamptons

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Whether it’s sitting crossed-legged on a mat, taking “inhalation-breaths” on the Hampton Jitney, or transcending mid-air with the aid of an app, practicing meditation is on the rise.

But why are so many people turning to this ancient practice now?

“[Because of ] the heightened stress of our times, especially post-election,” says North Fork wellness expert and yoga instructor Claire Copersino, who notes the swell in class numbers at the North Fork Yoga Shala in Greenport since last November.

Another factor: “…everybody is feeling more squeezed—whether it’s an increasing amount of responsibilities or commitments or just the busy-ness of life,” digital meditation guru and Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe explained in a recent Vox interview. “I think there is no question that the digital revolution has only exacerbated that. People really feel overwhelmed by the amount of communications they’re involved in.”

In the same way the body benefits from training, the mind can benefit through meditation: A recent Harvard Business Review article explains that if people spend ten minutes a day on mindfulness, they can help train their brain into making a smart decision over a more impulsive one.

The good news is that it’s easy to take your practice out East this summer, especially after a bumper-to-bumper experience on 27 where the prevailing spiritual guidance is from Waze.

“Summer is a perfect time to learn to meditate,” said Bob Roth a 40-year transcendental meditation teacher and Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation. During a talk at the Southampton Arts Center, he explained: “You have the time to master the practice and make it a part of your daily routine. Then when you return home you’ll have a simple, effective tool to help you overcome stress and create more energy and focus at a time when you need it the most.”

If mantras aren’t your mojo, maybe class atmosphere is. Take, for example, One Ocean Yoga, which offers a Sunday night guided meditation in the Channing Daughters Winery sculpture garden in Bridgehampton. The group is led by a resident teacher of the neighboring Kadampa Meditation Center of the Hamptons, which plays host to a variety of classes and workshops, including one called “Learn to Meditate in Half a Day” for those in a hurry to relax.

For the more adventurous in spirit, consider the Montauk Salt Cave. Tucked within a charming Tudor structure, the man-made cave offers eight tons of pink Himalayan salt in which to zone out. From the relaxing vantage point of a lounge chair, Hamptons cave people experience salt therapy by breathing in beneficial minerals in a dimly lit setting. Guided meditations happen every other Saturday at noon.

At Mandala Yoga and Ayurveda Center in Amagansett, owner Jolie Parcher seeks a balanced atmosphere. She relies on the year-round community to “set the stage of the feeling of the studio.” The local crowd is more low-key. Parcher describes meditation as the natural evolution of a yoga practice and the benefits can be subtle: “Many of my students are finding that yoga and meditation is making them kinder, more capable people”—which is always a positive thing—especially in the Hamptons.

“Everyone is talking about it, “ says Tonia Slade, East Hampton based holistic health and yoga teacher, whose range of clients include “the bankers and the Type A’s.” For these clients, the yields can be high: “Taking the time to…strengthen the mind-body connection is increasingly important to many successful people,” says Managing Director Jill Lloyd, whose firm Evercore Wealth Management addresses wellness, along with wealth planning and investing.

What else is a likely investment for this crowd? How about Tory Burch? Unsurprisingly, the upscale fashion marketer has hopped on the wellness wagon with a new line of “athleisure” that offers a key meditative feature: breathable fabrics.

Two summers ago, her East Hampton boutique, now Tory Sport, took on a Zen look with an all white interior and comfy chairs that could lull any customer into a mindful state.

Ever since, yogis and meditators alike have been seen storming the racks.


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