There’s nothing better than starting out your day with a little reflection and relaxation. Here are five ways you can connect mind and body before the chaos of the city hits you. By Carly Petrone.

(credit: Shinnyo Meditation Center)

(credit: Shinnyo Meditation Center)

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Take some time out for yourself before you head to work. Every Wednesday in September you can enjoy a free 30-minute walking meditation around beautiful Bryant Park thanks to the folks from The Shinnyo Center for Meditation and Well-Being. Just meet at the upper gravel level of the park and let instructor Qalvy Grainzvolt lead you on a pre-walk reflection followed by a walking meditation that circles the lawn area. You’ll start your day with relaxation, focus, and deeper overall awareness. You may be in the heart of the city but you certainly won’t feel like it. Walk goes from 8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. Also, don’t miss out on The Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace happening on September 20th. There will be performances by ballet’s “It Girl” Misty Copeland, Brooklyn-based group Decadence, and many more. This event will bring together people of all ages, nationalities, and faiths to create, light, and float thousands of lanterns in a collective quest for peace. There will also be a meditation walk that day happening at 2:15 p.m. Just in time for International Day of Peace, which occurs the following day on September 21st. Learn more about the event and The Shinnyo Center here.



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Spend your Sunday mornings doing Tai Chi at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. Certified instructors from the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA will be there to teach free classes that will improve one’s health, relax your body, and allow you to connect mind and body. Plus, you get to exercise outside among changing exhibitions of contemporary sculpture. Does it get any better than that? Classes start at 11 a.m. and run through the end of September.

(credit: Clipart)

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You may be familiar with Priv, the app that sends professionals to your house to do everything from hairstyling to manicures. But did you know you can also book a massage? Now you don’t have to stress about making it to the spa on time because a masseuse or masseur will be at your door whenever you book an appointment (up to 48 hours in advance). Choose between a 60 minute ($125/$150) or 90 minute massage ($155/$180) with or without a table. You can even do a couples massage if that sounds more enticing. Priv also offers reflexology, prenatal massages, and face reflexology sessions. The app is easy to use and finding the right professional for you is simple thanks to the review and rating system attached to each person’s profile. Learn more and book your appointment here.

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If you’re near Grand Central Station on September 29th, make your way to the Grand Zentral event. This all day yogafest includes 6 free yoga classes and 12 pop-up shops featuring yoga-friendly products and services. Get a makeup touch up on your way out from M.A.C. Cosmetics, enjoy a mini facial with the folks from L’Occitane, or sip on fresh samples from Juice Press. Make sure to check-in for your class 30 minutes before it begins. After your class, you will receive a gift bag filled with goodies from Pure Yoga, Vita Coco, Aveda, Splarkly Soul, Staya Jewelry, and more. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Go to website to register and find out more about this awesome event that will leave you relaxed and ready to face the day.

(credit: Facebook/Best Friends Animal Society)

(credit: Facebook/Best Friends Animal Society)

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Everyone knows that pets help with your overall happiness level. And there’s nothing better than hanging out with your best friend, right? That’s why Best Friends Pet Adoption is now having pop ups every month! Spend your weekend mornings cuddling up to dogs and cats that need a home and feel those endorphins kick in. All dogs come spayed, neutered, and micro-chipped so all you have to do is show up and connect with one of these furry little guys. Pop ups take place all around the city so make sure to stay up to date by following Best Friends Animal Society’s Facebook page. Sign up to volunteer or stop by if you think adding a dog to your family is in the works.

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Carly Petrone is a freelance writer living in New York City.