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The market for mindfulness exercises: enlightenment to go

Yoginis sitzen im Kreis bei Atemübungen in einem Park
Chinese yoginis doing breathing exercises in a park in Handan in the province of Hebei

“Why is the West taking our traditional Chinese culture and is selling it back to us?” ranted Zeng Xianglong, a psychology professor at Beijing Normal University, in an interview mid-year. His angry comment was directed at mindfulness, a meditation practice focused on the present moment. This practice is also experiencing a boom in China. In wealthy metropolises such as Shanghai and Shenzhen, mindfulness studios have sprouted up in the past three years. Hundreds of mindfulness apps entice people with guided meditations, videos, or music tracks that are supposed to relax, alleviate anxiety or help you fall asleep. Even large Chinese corporations like Huawei and Didi Chuxing now offer their employees breathing exercises to reduce stress. The underlying idea behind this trend, which has been adopted from Silicon Valley, is that people who feel inner peace work more efficiently.

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