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Free meditation offered inside giant inflatable bubble at Schenley Plaza

Bob Bauder
1943372_web1_schenley-plaza
Tribune-Review
Schenley Plaza in Oakland this weekend will be the site of ‘The Dot,’ a giant inflatable bubble featuring free mindful meditation programs through a partnership of Pittsburgh, Headspace and the Citrone 33 Foundation’s EMBRACE Pittsburgh movement.

Uptight Pittsburghers can find relief on Friday and Saturday in “The Dot,” a giant inflatable bubble at Schenley Park featuring free mindful meditation programs designed to make people feel happier and less stressed out.

Headspace, a company that features a mindful meditation app and online programming, is partnering with the city to launch its Happy Healthy America tour in Pittsburgh.

The tour is designed to improve the lives of people living in cities across America, said Caroline Pay, Headspace’s chief creative officer.

The Pittsburgh event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Schenley Plaza. Programming is free, but space is limited and tickets available on the Headspace event page are required in advance.

“We are traveling really to connect with people where they are in their communities, on the ground and in real life,” she said. “The overall mission of Headspace is to improve health and happiness in the world.”

Pay said the company chose Pittsburgh on its first stop of a multi-city tour because of existing relationships with Carnegie Mellon University and the Citrone 33 Foundation’s EMBRACE Pittsburgh movement. She added that the company has yet to identify other cities on the tour.

She said “thousands” of local residents have signed up for the event.

“When the RSVPs started coming in, we were just so thrilled and overwhelmed,” Pay said.

Cindy and Rob Citrone, Western Pennsylvania natives who are minority owners of the Steelers, are funding EMBRACE through their foundation. Cindy Citrone launched the EMBRACE Pittsburgh movement over Memorial Day weekend to decrease mental suffering and increase contentment across the city, said Jennie Colbert, EMBRACE’s program strategist.

Mindful meditation is an integral part of the effort, she said.

The practice trains people to pay attention to what is happening at that moment. People pause, slow down and pay attention to their breath or sensations in the body. Practicing mindfulness could be as simple as taking a deep breath or sitting for several minutes.

Mindful meditation has evolved into a $1 billion tech industry, and it could double to $2 billion by 2022, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a market research firm.

“It’s just something that Cindy had incorporated into her life,” Colbert said. “She swears that it changed her life and sort of wanted to bring it to the masses.”

The Headspace event features programming through an interactive series of rooms in The Dot, including live meditation. Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is partnering with Headspace, is scheduled to make periodic appearances.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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