On the first day of spring, over 150 people converged at several of New York City's high-profile landmarks and… took a deep breath. The meditative flash mobs were part of a promotion marking the launch of the Westin Well-being Movement, a new global collaboration between Westin Hotels and online meditation site Headspace.com.
The Well-being Movement, which Westin is promoting as the first of its kind for a hotel chain, is a year-long initiative designed to provide guests with access to podcasts, publications and more intended to inspire concepts of wellness. The hotel has developed six "pillars of well-being": sleep well, eat well, move well, feel well, work well and play well. As part of the initiative, the hotel collaborated with Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe (author of "Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day) to create seven custom 10-minute meditations (pre-recorded podcasts) with titles like "Switching Off From Work."
For the NYC kick-off (the date also coincided with International Day of Happiness), participants on their way to work began with a Meditation Moment at Flatiron Plaza on 23rd St led by Puddicombe. Guests were invited to close their eyes, see, hear and feel the sounds around them, and take a brief (private) assessment of how their bodies feel, connected to the seat and the gound.
Meditation moments then continued at other spots around town, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, Central Park and Times Square. Some participants held up cardboard cartoon bubbles with phrases like "Shhh… Headspace Happening."
In addition to the NYC event, Westin hotels around the country hosted well-being open houses on March 20 where guests and others could experience the brand's signature programs. Over the course of the next week, hotels hosted events and programs open to the public, like guided 5K runs, Heavenly Spa mini-appointments, group yoga sessions and more.
The Headspace collaboration marks the first new partnership in 2014 of Westin's Well-being Movement and ties into the hotel's piller "Feel Well." Other events, partnerships and initiatives are planned throughout the year. The goal is to encourage both guests and associates to look after the health and wellfare of their minds and bodies with simple guided meditation exercises. A dedicated space on Westin.com features videos and audio files, including custom-made Headspace videos.
The concept of wellness and balance in life has become an increasingly important one to bartenders around town, who have come to realize that long, late-night hours, high-energy events and hospitality, and an alcohol-fueled world must be balanced with taking care of oneself and others through acts of kindness, physical fitness, meditation and mindful eating. For consumers, having hotel associates, hospitality staff and bartenders participate in these sorts of movement translates into a better customer experience and perhaps even better drinks (with a renewed emphasis on fresh ingredients and balanced palates). The "balanced bartender" trend has been explored at AskMen.com as part of its 2014 Drinking Trends.
For more information, visit westin.com/wellbeing or follow the conversation on Twitter at #WestinWellbeing.
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author was invited to come meditate, but was too busy. He was then sent a packet of meditation-related Headspace materials, but has been too busy to open it.