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Williamsburg restaurant ISA serves dinner for participants of meditation workshop

Going ‘om,’ then ‘yum’

The Brooklyn Paper
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Instead of dinner and a movie, try dinner and a meditation.

A Williamsburg restaurant is serving up mindfulness sessions followed by a meal.

Leading the workshops is meditation expert Caroline Contillo, a graduate of the yearlong immersion and teaching training program at the Interdependence Project in Manhattan who said the culinary and consciousness combo is great for socializing.

“Something I always liked about classes I took at the Interdependence Project was the way we’d often go out to dinner afterwards, to continue the conversation more casually. I really love this part of the event,” said Contillo, whose monthly sessions at Isa are free with a fee for optional dinner.

“It’s usually a very interesting mix of people from all different backgrounds and interests, all sitting at a table, enjoying delicious food and drink, talking about the same topics that came up during meditation but in a different way. You never know who you’ll end up sitting next to.”

The sessions take place on the second floor of the restaurant, where there is an open space for participants to sit on the ground and let their minds wander. Contillo said there was something special to meditating at the eatery.

“There’s a lot of ambient sound to work with,” Contillo said. “It makes the practice and the evening very site-specific and improvisat­ional.”

Much like yoga, anyone can meditate at home, alone. But Cantillo said there’s a lot to gain from participating in a group with an instructor.

“Having someone guide you through the basic steps for the first time can be really helpful,” Contillo said. “I still love going to public group meditation and getting instruction, because each teacher is going to have a slightly different spin, and it can be nice to be reminded about how the process unfolds.”

The meditation sessions are a great opportunity to escape the busy routine of living in New York City, which has a ton of activities and distractions that for some, in the end, amount to an overwhelming list of things to do. Contillo hopes her workshop helps participants forget all this and just breathe.

“It can be difficult to get ourselves to sit down and ‘do nothing’ for ten minutes a day, because we can always think of something we ‘should’ be doing,” she said.

“In a workshop, surrounded by other people, it can be easier to sink into the method and really start noticing how we relate to our breath and the present moment.”

Mindfulness Meditation at Isa [348 Wythe Ave. near S. Second Street in Williamsburg, (348) 689–3594, isa.gg]. Aug. 28, 7 pm. Free with optional $45 communal dinner.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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