The Somadome Meditation Pod. Photo: Instagram
Those searching for a bit of zen in a hectic world, might want to check out of life’s daily stresses and into a Somadome. One of only two in the U.S, it can be found at the Cornelia Day Spa at the Surrey Hotel in New York (the other is at California’s Ojai Valley Inn & Spa). The pod experience combines color immersion therapy, binaural beat meditation, and microcrystalline tiles to get you into an om state–all in under 30 minutes. I wondered, could the pod take one harried, stressed out writer in and have her emerge mellow and happy? Actually, yes.
Of course, the pod isn’t some sort of miracle chamber. Like anything, if you go in skeptical and resisting, you’re probably going to emerge as grumpy as you when you went in. However, if you are willing to go with it, you just might enjoy yourself.
The Somadome is basically a tricked out womb-like chair, with a hinged, dome top featuring colored lights. You sit down in the cushioned seat, put on your headphones, and close the pod to get started. Two air vents blast cool air in. If you’re claustrophobic, don’t worry, with an open panel at your waist, and the ability to open the dome with the flick of a switch, you’ll be absolutely fine. An iPod connecting to your noise-canceling headphones lets you select from eight options for your experience. Three of the meditations are guided—Love, Manifest, & Heal. The other five—Overcome, Succeed, Focus, Recharge and Relax use sound frequencies associated with the body’s natural recharging states to bring you into a deep meditative state. The binaural beat is apparently only something your brain can hear, and is associated with the benefits of your chosen program. While your track is playing, LED lights in the dome turn on, also corresponding with your requested experience. The idea behind color therapy is that the colors stimulate impulses in our brains, which create hormonal and biochemical processes to calm, recharge, or reset your brain. The cushions in the pod are actually microcrystaline tiles that apparently unblock stagnate energy and enhance positive flow in your body. While that sounds amazing, it’s not something you can really feel. They just feel supremely comfortable.
Richard Branson trying out the Somadome. Photo: Instagram
For my Somadome trial, I decided to start with the Heal program. It promises to “use delta states to release HGH, which helps to accelerate healing, boost your immune system, and support well-being. Best used when you feel misaligned or have ailments.” Sounds like a lot of healing for 20 minutes. I clicked on the program and immediately the green light surrounded me in the top of the dome. I expect it to change colors, but it stays the same throughout. Green color therapy promises to stimulate rejuvenation and harmonize health.
The program starts with trippy music that could be a soundtrack from 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are also vibrational sounds and possibly gongs and windchimes. A woman’s breathy, poshly-accented voice begins speaking, promising to have me be “one with the universal mind.” It’s all very new agey, and if you aren’t already on that plane it will may seem a bit far out. But if you’ve done yoga or meditation, or anything in the healing world, it will be familiar territory. I have to admit some of the phrases seemed hokey at first. I was to visualize fields of heather, opening doors, and relationships deepening. But as much as I tried to will my conscious mind to chuckle, or take notes to write about later, I found myself checking out a bit. Was I in a trance-like meditative state? Possibly.Was my immune system boosted? Not sure. All I know is I felt supremely relaxed, slightly amused, and generally in good spirits. It was a change from when I arrived flying in late, with my brain buzzing about deadlines, grocery lists, and bills.
As a regular meditator, I can tell you the Somadome doesn’t quite seem to replicate that experience. However, it does kind of realign your brain for a bit and drown out the world. While you could just listen to a guided meditation track at home, at the very least, the dome protects you from interruptions. And in a world that just doesn’t stop, where I received countless emails, texts, and real life questions, all while I was writing this piece, hiding out in a pod for a bit sounds very appealing.
The Somadome at The Surrey costs $60 a session and needs to be booked in advance through the Cornelia Day Spa.