"Would you like to meditate?" a friend asked our group during a recent hangout.
I hesitated to respond. I've always viewed meditating as a solo activity — probably because I've only practiced all by myself, sitting cross-legged on my bed and in my PJs.
Even though I didn't think I'd be able to fully relax while practicing in front of others, I threw up my hand in participation.
After the first minute, I stopped thinking about whether anyone was peeking open their eyes and the insecurity disappeared. My stressful laundry list of to-dos faded into the background of my mind.
At the end of the 10-minute guided meditation, my tense muscles felt loose and the unbearable pressure above my eyebrows released.
What was more surprising, though, was that the energy of the entire room had completely transformed. You could feel the stress circulating prior to our meditation, but afterwards, the environment seemed calm and secure — not to mention, everyone was in a better mood.
Curious if I should make meditating my regular dinner party icebreaker, I reached out to a meditation teacher for her thoughts on practicing with others.
"Meditating in a group is awesome, as is meditating solo!" Valerie Oula, a Kundalini meditation teacher and founder of Modern Ritual NYC, says.
"Everything is energy, and when you meditate in a group, it's as if everyone gets on the same page, [it] helps people to relax, and be more open."
Oula also adds that group meditation is a good place to start if you want to build your own solo practice, or if you simply want to recommit to practicing.
While I'm not sure every friend hangout is deserving of a meditation prompt, when tension is in the air, it definitely beats two truths and a lie.