September 22, 2016

Master Your Mind at Mastermind

It’s a gym for your brain.

Tucked into a shopping center off Oak Lawn, the recently-opened Mastermind is billed as a mental gym. The idea of working out your brain certainly isn’t new (Luminosity commercials instantly come to mind), but one that I still find intriguing—we’re typically so focused on workout out our body, but why not the brain?

Mastermind’s classes center around teaching and improving eight principles: energy, heart, focus, intention, gratitude, mindfulness, relaxation, and gut and grit. The 30- and 45-minute sessions take place inside a modern classroom.

After getting a cup of the special Mastermind blend tea, I entered the classroom and was faced with a tough decision—what kind of chair did I want to sit in? There were circular pillows, floor seats, and upright chairs—and thanks to the morning’s ensemble, I went with an upright seat at the very back of the room.

As I set up my notebook, the instructor, Noel (who seriously has that “yoga” voice down pat), began the class. After a quick introductory talk about reaching “a state of being, not doing,” she instructed us to close our eyes—and they remained shut for the rest of the 30-minute class. Well, mine stayed mostly shut, that is. Every once in a while I found myself drifting into too deep of a meditative state (aka falling asleep) and had to crack an eye to wake back up.

We started with relaxing the entire body starting at your nose (tough) and working your way down to your toes. Every time my “monkey mind” started to stray, I was supposed to work my way back to focusing on my breath. I resisted the urge to sneak a look at my  phone, and surprisingly the class was over faster than I thought it would be.

I walked out of class in that post-spa state of mind—relaxed and a little sleepy. And while that isn’t ideal for tackling a day of deadline writing, I can see the benefits of the Mastermind Mindful class when it comes to those pre-sleep jitters. I’ll give the techniques a try tonight and let you know.

The Details: Mastermind, 3858 Oak Lawn Avenue. Website here.