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INTERVIEW: Michael Miller

This week we caught up with Michael Miller, the founder of The New York Meditation Centre.

1) WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE YOU TO EXPLORE MEDITATION?

I had dabbled in meditation for about 10 years after a professor recommended it. Though I found it interesting, I didn’t really commit or get proper instruction. Then when I was living in LA and working an intense corporate publishing job, a friend learned Vedic Meditation. I saw a very noticeable change in her in just a few weeks — she was calmer and making big decisions without drama. I thought I should look into it more and when I met the teacher, I knew I needed to learn.

2) WHAT POSITIVE CHANGES CAN PEOPLE EXPERIENCE FROM PRACTICING MEDITATION?

Meditation has such a global effect on your mind and body, it’s hard to keep the list short. Unless you want to feel more stressed and tired – meditation is not going to help that! Better sleep, less irritation, more focus, greater calm, improved memory, reduced anxiety, stronger cardiovascular system, increased clarity.

3) WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A MEDITATION TEACHER?

When I started, so many changes happened. I was sleeping better, feeling happier, getting more done. Other people were noticing that something was different about me. I realized that other people needed to be doing this, and getting the same benefits.

4) WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT WHEN THEY COME TO THE NEW YORK MEDITATION CENTRE?

I think people are surprised by how normal the people are who learn. It’s not just for yoga types, you don’t have to be into crystals. We teach people who are very engaged in the world, as executives, students, stay-at-home parents. This is not about withdrawing from life. It’s all about being better in your family, in your social circle and in your workplace.

5) WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE HANG OUT SPOTS IN NEW YORK?

I’m a cafe–culture fan. Irving Farm near Gramercy Park is a favourite, and Blue Bottle on W 15th. For lunch, Pongol (28th & Lex) has amazing South Indian food. It’s both vegetarian and kosher, and it’s wonderful seeing an Orthodox Jewish family sitting next to a very traditional Hindu family. Dinnertime it’s il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. The panna cotta with balsamic vinegar is so good it’s almost weird. I always like walking the High Line. Early morning when it’s quiet is wonderful, and even during the day, tourists steaming past, there’s something magical. For culture, Pace Gallery, both Midtown and Chelsea always has stunning shows.

6) WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEA SUNDAY BE LIKE?

I get up early to meditate and perhaps do a bit of yoga. Sunday is pancake day — we make a variation on Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes with spelt flour. I’m usually teaching on Sundays, so then a couple of hours talking about the effects of meditation on the mind and body. Then a bit more family time, at a park or around home. Sunday evening there’s always some work to be done, organising for the week. And anytime it’s on, I end with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Smart and funny, the ideal combo.

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