Breathing space: Mindfulness in your lunch hour
The best meditation apps and drop-in classes to set you on your journey to a stress-free life
If proof were ever needed of the growing number of people turning to meditation in everyday life, it's the success of Headspace. This popular mindfulness app, which has a legion of celebrity fans and more than 15 million downloads to date, adheres to a secular and scientific-based approach in teaching people the benefits of daily meditation. Its straightforward 'meditation made simple' philosophy means it's ideal for sceptics and those put off by spiritual connotations. The dedicated Headspace for Work initiative was created to implement mindfulness techniques in the workplace, to improve staff productivity and overall happiness. So far the programme has been adopted by a number of multi-million-pound corporations, including Milbank, Google and Airbnb. But even if meditation is far from your company's agenda, Headspace's simple, self-guided sessions are designed to fit into your working week, whether on your morning commute, in between meetings or whenever you happen to need it most.
A new teacher-free meditation studio at Monument, Inhere offers bite-size drop-in classes ranging from five to 30 minutes and starting at just £2 a pop. So, if you're a stressed-out City worker, there's now no excuse not to give meditation a go. And you can forget all the hippie cliches associated with meditation – this surprisingly sleek studio is designed to be a tranquil haven in the heart of the City, seating just nine people at a time. Inhere founder Adiba Osmani, a former marketing consultant who discovered meditation in 2009, was inspired to open her studio after realising that 'there was nowhere to go for even a few minutes of respite' in one of the UK's most stressful environments. 'Inhere,' she says, 'provides an ideal setting for Londoners to stop, pause and hear themselves again.'
London Buddhist Centre
Long before mindfulness was on the average person's radar, the London Buddhist Centre was giving Buddhist-based meditation classes in the East End, while dishing out free tea and veggie-friendly snacks. This community-minded centre opened in 1978 in a former fire station on Roman Road and continues to offer a variety of donation-based yoga, mindfulness and meditation classes and retreats. As well as running a more in-depth eight-week mindfulness course to combat depression, stress and anxiety, the centre offers lunchtime taster meditation sessions throughout the week, where newcomers and regulars alike are invited to go back to basics under the peaceful gaze of a giant gold Buddha.