For those who would love to see this gorgeous city but have little time or enthusiasm to plan, I am starting a new series geared just towards you. It’s called “Do This Then That” and is exactly as simple as it sounds. I’ll compile lists that encapsulate the best pairing of what Austin has to offer (complete with added costs) so that you can just come HowCanOne and start living your best life.
For my first installment of “Do This Then That”, I’m going to do a meditation theme, a little introvert meets extrovert. Grab a friend, relax on your own, and go at your own pace. As a note, I do not receive any compensation for these suggestions, they are just things I genuinely enjoy and believe in.
1. Read The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
As my fellow avid readers know, there comes a point when you love a book so much you fear for it to end. The very dread of this feeling has long caused me to avoid fiction as if it were the plague, but at my local library I picked up a copy of this book despite my better judgement.
I was eased into a world of possibility, magic, and danger, but grounded in characters that are real and relatable. Set in turn of the century New York, the expertly woven tale introduces us to many characters, but focuses in on the titular Golem and Jinni. While the Golem is birthed from a Kabbalistic force and the Jinni seems to settle in amongst the Beduin and Syrians, both journeys unfold through the lives of those around them. While it may seem like a thrilling tale of magic and evil, ancient forces and religions, it is somehow also a book about immigration, community, and finding one’s place in the world.
As the last few pages rolled into view, I couldn’t help but fear that my old patterns would come true. I’d grown so attached to the characters, to the world, that it seemed inevitable. When I read the final words and closed the book with a contented “thump”, I felt no fear, no sadness, just a deep gratitude and satisfaction to have had this story in my life. What a wonderful tale.
Price: around $10 on Amazon, free at Austin Public Library
1. Listen to a Singing Bowls Meditation
While Austin traffic may not be the most conducive to aligning your inner chakras, listening to a singing bowl meditation is one surefire way to add some calm to your day. I like to listen to this in the car, in the background while I work, and sometimes drift off to sleep with it on. This is a 3 hour version, but they also have shorter and longer links online (up to 9 hours!) for those who really enjoy the dulcet tones of the bowls.
3. Drop in for a Kundalini Yoga class at YogaYoga
Kundalini yoga is not your typical yoga class. There’s a reason it’s referred to as “Kundalooney” by other yoga practitioners; it’s weird. It’s primarily meditation based, even though there are physically challenging aspects, but most classes are safe for Yoga beginners. Plus, each class ends with a live Gong meditation. If you’ve never had the chance to be bathed in Gong music, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
This is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of Yoga, even if it turns out not to be your cup of tea, which they serve at the end of each class. YogaYoga has many locations all over Austin, so the class schedules can really slide in wherever you can fit it in.
Price: $17 for a drop in class. They offer student discounts on packages, and every once in a while offer free classes to the public.
4. Head over to Phara’s Mediterranean Cuisine and Smoke a Hookah
If you’ve never been to Phara’s before, you are in for a treat. An Austin classic, this spot has the best hookah in the city (in my humble opinion, and I’ve tried a few). The staff is always friendly and kind, and the music and dancers really do transport you to another place.
I highly suggest taking bug spray as most of the seating is outside. They sometimes have it there, but I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to Austin’s patio culture. Phara’s is also BYOB, which is nice if you prefer to imbibe on occasion. Tuesday-Sunday, Phara’s has live music and bellydancers in the evening. Make sure to bring some cash to tip if possible, because the dancers are definitely worth it. Beware, they are not open on Mondays!
Price: The food and hookah are rather expensive here, clocking in at about $18/plate and $20/hookah, so you might save up for this one if you are on a budget like I am. They have student discounts and free parking, but be sure to park on the adjacent streets since their main parking lot rarely has any free spaces.
5. Splurge on your Spirit at Mandala Trading
While I generally try to avoid buying frivolous items (I consider myself a minimalist), I have picked up a few very nice instruments at Mandala Trading on Guad. Their store is a literal treasure trove filled with all sorts of meditative accoutrement. I picked up a bell and dorje set that I use to clear the space after a particularly gnarly nightmare. It’s a nice reminder that there are things we can do to calm ourselves down when we catch a glimpse of the supernatural, and despite their spiritual significance, I enjoy the lovely chime and design.
Even if you are not interested in the wares, at least go take a look. Mandala’s staff is very kind and great at explaining the different mechanisms. They also have charities that may draw your eye for a donation.
Price: Up to you!
Thanks for reading my first installment of “Do This Then That”. I hope you have fun on your (relatively) pre-planned adventure. Austin awaits you!
If you like what you read, feel free to share. Basic Rules: Be civil. We are all people and deserve respect. That’s a hard and fast rule, by the way, it is not optional. Other than that, anything goes.