By now, we’ve all learned about the health benefits of meditation: the practice boosts serotonin levels (yay, happiness!), lowers blood pressure, and can even alleviate chronic pain. But for many of us, taking the time to totally disconnect and do literally nothing for any period of time may seem like an impossible feat. Trust me, I understand the struggle: whenever I have a few spare minutes, I'm tethered to my phone watching YouTube videos or scrolling through my Instagram feed.
I never thought I'd ever be able to convince myself to meditate—but then I heard about Somadome, a pod equipped with soft, colorful lights and soothing music designed to help users fully immerse themselves in a meditative experience.
I decided it was worth a try. After all, my favorite part of yoga is the 10 minutes of savasana at the end of class, since it leaves me feeling calm and refreshed. I was hoping Somadome would provide the same results.
On a Thursday morning before work, I headed to Pure Yoga, a New York City yoga studio that has a Somadome. When I arrived, I was surprised to see the pod set up in a corner of the studio’s lobby, out for the world to see. Would I really be able to focus on achieving a peaceful state in such busy space?
A receptionist lifted the pod's domed roof and had me sit in the padded, lounge-style chair underneath. She covered me in a blanket, handed over a pair of headphones, and told me to pick one of six audio tracks (three were guided meditations, and three were soundtracks for more seasoned meditators). I chose “Love.” Then, the receptionist closed the pod, took my bag (and phone), and I was by myself, ready to get my zen on.
At first, I had trouble relaxing, since meditating inside a fluorescent pod is a little, well, new to me. But after a few minutes of fidgeting around in the chair, I found a comfortable position, closed my eyes, and forgot about the world outside of the pod. Being enclosed in the pod blocked out any potential distractions, making this the easiest meditation experience I’ve ever had. With no coughing or sniffling sounds from fellow yogis, or the temptation of my phone, I drifted off in about five minutes.
After 20 minutes of calm, a soothing recorded voice told me my session was over. I opened the pod, climbed out, and immediately noticed how serene I felt. For me, mornings are somewhat chaotic, as I rush to get ready and get to work on time. But now, that sense of urgency was replaced with a sense of Relax, everything will get done. And that sense was right: I felt less stressed as I went about my day, and was still able to check everything off of my daily to do list.
While Somadome is a somewhat involved form of meditation, I definitely recommend it for beginners who have trouble relaxing on their own. The guided audio tracks walk you through relaxing your entire body and mind, while the personal pod keeps you from thinking about the outside environment. Once you get the hang of the guided meditation, you can probably stick to at-home sessions, though. Since my successful morning in the Somadome, I’ve decided to make time for a few minutes of mindfulness throughout the week.