THE INSIDERS NEW YORK URBAN ZEN
EXPERIENCE: Surprisingly, New York can be one of the most peaceful and relaxing cities in the world. In contrast to its high-octane reputation, the Big Apple offers a vast array of quiet, life-enhancing experiences if you know where to look. Here’s a one-day itinerary to tap into an empire state of body, mind and soul.
LEARN TO DO NOTHING: Start your day at ISHTA Yoga, on East 11th Street, with a meditation class led by eminent Yogiraj Alan Finger, who uses simple techniques to quickly achieve a state of deep bliss. Afterwards, maintain your mood by popping into the Magen H Gallery next door and marvel at original mid-century furniture by the likes of Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouve; ishtayoga.com; magenxxcentury.com.
UNBOUND POTENTIAL: Book the same guru at ISHTA for a Dharma session. For me, it’s like being with a psychiatrist who, instead of medication, prescribes a personalised mantra. Also try a Marma session, an ancient Indian practice that manipulates the flow of energy to optimise health. If you can’t get to New York, Alan and his celebrity yoga teacher wife, Sarah, will be sharing their learnings on a first visit to Australian in February.
ALONE TIME: Spend a tranquil afternoon solo by jumping on a scenic train for a ride up the Hudson River Valley from Grand Central Station. Stop at Cold Spring for a picturesque hike and visit Magazzino, a new art space, or travel a little further up to Beacon and visit DIA Art Foundation, followed by a short cab ride to Ella Bella’s for the best gluten-free bread in the world. On your return to Manhattan, up your zinc intake with a stop at Grand Central Oyster Bar for a delectable assortment of molluscs; magazzino.art; diaart.org; ellasbellasbeacon.com; oysterbarny.com.
DINE: A delight for all the senses, sample kaiseki (a seasonal multi-course meal) in an elegant tatamilined room at EN Japanese Brasserie in the West Village. For tighter budgets, try Korean vegetarian favourite Hangawi on East 32nd Street. Then float through the evening over a cocktail or two at the opulent restaurant, Le Coucou, on Lafayette Street in Lower Manhattan; enjb.com; hangawirestaurant.com; lecoucou.com.
Phoebe Joel is an expert in Tibetan Sound Healing, a therapy that dates back to pre-Buddhist Tibetan Bon times. She is also a yoga instructor and jewellery designer, and divides her time between Sydney and New York. She will hold a one-day Urban Retreat at Yoga Village in Potts Point, Sydney, on August 20 followed by a residency with LUX Resorts in The Maldives and Mauritius. More: tibetansoundhealing.com; phoebejoel.com; luxresorts.com.
Graham Erbacher Graham.Erbacher@news.com.au