The fitness practice stresses the mind-body connection.
Connections are important. Some connections could be as simple as peanut butter and jelly or as complex as the inner workings of a rocket ship but when two things come together it can be a beautiful thing. We recently sat down with our friend Sarah O’Shea, co-founder of Mental NYC who focuses on one of the most important connections, mind and body.
How does the connection of both mind and body work together and what are the benefits behind their synergy?
In many wellness practices we tend to look at the mind and body separately when it’s really all connected. For my partner Brendan and I, it was the first time in our lives when we were moving our bodies because it felt good mentally instead of attaching it to aesthetic goals. We wanted to create a community and a practice that was intentional about working out to feel good mentally. You find that in yoga but hardly ever find it with high-intensity interval training (one of the best training modalities you can do for your mental health), which is what we were craving—so we decided to create it and our signature class, Mental Movement was born. We brought meditation into it because we wanted to make that clear connection between a mind and body practice. It’s also scientifically proven to be easier to drop into a meditation after exerting a high amount of energy so we find that we are able to create this bridge for people that wouldn’t otherwise start meditating without the movement piece.
Life can get hectic and routines change—especially these days—what little things have you been doing or recommend to do when you’re feeling stressed out?
I genuinely notice such a difference in my mental state when I don’t take the time to move my body. Even if I’m busy I try to get in some form of movement daily. It can be anything. Walking, biking, dancing, and of course Mental Movement. It all counts!
I also take the time for bite-sized meditations throughout the day when I notice my stress levels peaking. You really don’t have to meditate for a long time to see the benefits. Sometimes it just looks like closing my eyes for 2 minutes and noticing my breath. Start with 2 minutes daily and see how you feel! Also, staying hydrated is key.
You really don’t have to meditate for a long time to see the benefits.
The personal journey of climbing your own mountain and finding its peak is at the heart of Mental NYC. If you could climb any literal mountain, which one and why?
Oh good one. Hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu is up there for me. The view from the top looks magical.
If you could pick any person to share that journey with who would it be?
Brendan is my trekking partner for sure. Both with Mental NYC and in life.
You spent some time in Montauk over at The Boneyard, how was life out east?
Life at the end is pretty amazing. It doesn’t get much better than starting your day with Zaida and cold brew at The Boneyard followed by a Gin Beach swim.
Favorite Montauk Brew Co. seltzer drank at the Boneyard? Has to be lemon-lime right? (The answer is lemon-lime)
Ah I am definitely a Raspberry Lime girl—but close.
When someone walks out of a Mental NYC classroom or after a Mental Monday at the Boneyard, how can they bring that into the rest of their day and week?
Celebrating the here and now is a big part of our practice at Mental NYC. You can tap into that feeling after class by taking time to express gratitude for the moment you are in. That can look like taking a few moments to notice your breath or it might look like journaling some things you are grateful for that day. It’s allowing yourself to find that piece of you that is happy to be exactly where you are right now.