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Zen Special: options for your well-being in São Paulo

Everyone already knows that São Paulo never stops. What many do not even imagine is that, in parallel with so many movement, the state’s capital has spaces that allow relaxation and even meditation, bringing tranquility and renovation to anyone.

For those who seek a more zen routine, here we list some of the options for total relaxation. You are even going to forget you are in the biggest metropolis of the South Hemisphere!

Meditation

Fo GuangShan Temple

For those who do not want to go too far to rest the mind, there are several options within the city. The Fo GuangShan Temple has a typical Buddhist decoration, with a very fancy altar. The atmosphere is of absolute peace. It is great to relax and meditate. The meditation meetings are open to the public. The temple also teaches various courses, of topics such as vegetarian cuisine, Chinese language and thai chi chuan.

ZuLai Buddhist Temple

Buddhist Temple. Photo: ZuLai Temple/advertising.

Another wonderful place for those looking for absolute peace is Cotia, a city in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. The ZuLai Buddhist Temple is the perfect stop for those seeking a deep contact with Buddhism or simply a place to relax. The temple propagates Mahayana, whose tradition emphasizes the practical and daily use of religious teachings. Therefore, the temple offers various courses such as meditation, Mandarin, and martial arts.

Busshinji Temple

Another great facility of tranquility is located in the Liberdade neighborhood: the Busshinji Temple, head office of the Sotozen School in South America. It is a space dedicated to people who seek the tradition of Zen Buddhism. Ideal for who wants to start in zazen, a meditation technique that aims at not thinking about anything. You will experience a feeling of complete well-being!

Center for Bodhisattva Buddhist Studies São Paulo

Centro de Estudos Budistas [Center for Buddhist Studies]. Photo: CEBB Bodisatva/advertising.

The house, located behind the Pátio Paulista mall, at the Maestro Cardim street, has an activity agenda for those who want to get to know or even deepen their studies of Buddhism. Meditation techniques, mantra recitation, and even movie sessions are organized under the guidance of Lama Padma Samten.

Mahabodhi Kadampa Meditation Center

Founded 19 years ago, the house offers meditation courses and specialized retreats for those who lead an eventful routine, with the aim of training “urban meditators”. There are also special activities focused on children once a month.

Our Lady of Assumption Basilica – São Bento Monastery

Regardless of belief, starting the day by attending a mass celebrated with Gregorian chant in the Our Lady of Assumption Basilica, in São Bento Monastery, will surely give a lot of peace of mind to those in need. When crossing the thick doors of the Monastery, visitors forget that they are at the heart of São Paulo. In contrast with the chaos and noise coming from outside, inside the building silence and peace reign. It is a perfect place to relax, meditate, or say a prayer while admiring beautiful stained glass windows and sacred art items.

Solo Sagrado de Guarapiranga [Sacred Ground of Guarapiranga]

Solo Sagrado [Sacred Ground]. Photo: Nara Lima/SPTuris.

The Solo Sagrado de Guarapiranga is one of the largest spaces for contemplation of nature and meditation in Brazil.

After World War II, the Japanese master Mokiti Okada began constructing what he called prototypes of terrestrial Paradise, the Sacred Grounds. In Brazil, this place is on the banks of the Guarapiranga dam, in the southern area of São Paulo. It is one of the most popular places in the city for those who want to meditate. Visitors can enter the great temple, built in the shape of a ring.

The temple has three shrines: the God Supreme Sanctuary, the Mokiti Okada Sanctuary, and the Ancestors Sanctuary, a special place to pray for the ones who have already left. After meditating, with light body and mind, the visitor can take the opportunity to have a picnic on the dam coast, which has 20 thousand square meters of lawn, with several trees that offer great shadows to rest and different species of wild animals loose, like owls, squirrels, monkeys, quatis [Nasua], armadillos, and sloths.

A corner of peace within the park

Jardim Botânico [Botanical Garden]

Who drives by the noisy Imigrantes highway has no idea that there is a nearby peaceful place, in the middle of Serra do Mar. The Jardim Botânico [Botanical Garden] is home to remnant vegetation from the Atlantic forest and springs of the historical Riacho do Ipiranga [Ipiranga Stream], with several relaxing areas such as the beautiful Lineu Garden, the Lake of Water Lilies, and the Passuarés Woods. Silence reigns, erasing any trace of the fact that the effervescent city is a few meters away. Our tip is to sit on the lawn, read a book, forget the routine and try to make the most of it, all the peace transmitted by the green that rules the space.

Espaço Ouvillas – Villa-Lobos Park

The Park counts with the Espaço Ouvillas, which is close to the woods, dedicated entirely to the relaxation of visitors. People take advantage of banks and sun loungers to stretch a little and forget the rush of everyday life, to the sound of the composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose name was given to the Park. Guaranteed relaxation.

Pico do Jaraguá – Jaraguá State Park

Pico do Jaraguá. Photo: José Cordeiro/SPTuris.

Located in the Jaraguá State Park, Pico do Jaraguá is the highest point in the city of São Paulo. The landscape is relaxant and impressive. From there, it is possible to observe several points of São Paulo. If the day is cloudless, you can see up to a radius of 55 kilometers. Before the absolute silence, the visitor can see the horizon, breathe fresh air, and feel at peace. A pleasant place of calmness.

Pavilhão Japonês [Japanese Pavilion] – Ibirapuera Park

Another Park that outstands in a zen itinerary in São Paulo is Ibirapuera. Given its amplitude, the Park, one of the main attractions of São Paulo, offers leisure to all tastes. For those who want to relax, the suggestion is to walk the tracks between the trees to the Pavilhão Japonês. There the visitor can stay in contact with nature and follow a small exhibit of Japanese memory and culture. On the back, it is possible to contemplate a pond filled with carps and, for those interested, it is also possible to feed the fish with rations provided by local employees. The Pavilhão and its external area offer visitors unique moments of contemplation, reflection, and rest.

Still in Ibirapuera, there is the Espaço da Antiga Serraria [Old Sawmill Space]. There, supporters of Chinese gymnastics gather from Monday to Saturday, at 10:30 am, to exercise in a zen way. The technique, known as liangong, stimulates blood circulation, increases physical stamina, and helps to correct posture. Ibirapuera also offers yoga exercises and other types of well-being activities.

Água Branca Park

In the West region of the city, the Água Branca Park is a true haven for those looking to escape from the rush of the metropolis. It houses an aquarium and a space entirely dedicated to reading. Visitors can spend hours devoted to a good book in the midst of nature. In addition, if you prefer to move your body to achieve a sense of well-being, there is the option to practice outdoor sports.

Praça do Pôr do Sol [Sunset Square]

In Alto de Pinheiros, the Custódio Fernandes Pines square, better known as Praça do Pôr do Sol, has one of the most beautiful views of the sun setting among the skyscrapers of the city. Therefore, it is very common to find people sitting on the grass in the late afternoon admiring the landscape show. The site is regarded as one of the best in the city to see the twilight and forget the routine a little bit.

A quiet night in the buzzing metropolis

Avanhandava

With its lights, the Avanhandava street is one of the most charming of São Paulo. Crossing the Augusta street, Avanhandava is almost an oasis amidst the chaos, with restaurants ranging from the traditional Famiglia Mancini to the cool Madrepérola. A zen program to go alone to relax or take the whole family to eat a delicious pasta, to the sound of a grand piano. Tranquility in one of the most famous regions of São Paulo.

Sala São Paulo [São Paulo Concert Room]

Sala São Paulo. Photo: José Cordeiro/SPTuris.

Those who like concerts should check the agenda of the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo [São Paulo State Orchestra], the Osesp, the main orchestra of Sala São Paulo. This temple of classical music deserves a visit for its beauty and impeccable acoustics. Great for those who want a quiet and culture-driven night in São Paulo.

Spas

If your idea of relaxation is a good massage or a hot tub bath, São Paulo has fantastic options!

Spa Cidade Jardim

Thermal Suite. Photo: Spa Cidade Jardim/adverstising.

Located within the Cidade Jardim Mall, the spa offers treatments aimed for those who want to restore the energies or even fight stress. One of them counts with professionals who design an exclusive program, according to the customer’s profile.

BuddhaSpa

After an intense day of work, a good massage can bring tranquility and peace. At the BuddhaSpa you can get a body scrub or an Ayurverdic massage, besides soaking in the hot tub baths.

Espaço Girassol

Orange Room. Photo: Espaço Girassol/advertising.

You can also choose to stay totally zen after a Day Spa at Espaço Girassol. The relaxation includes aromatherapy, chromotherapy, and anti-stress massages with essential oils, among others.

Kabanah Spa

Massage room. Photo: Kabanah Spa/advertising.

Reserving a portion of the day to enjoy the services of the Kabanah Spa can also aid you to feel lighter. There, the therapies are gathered into packages of thematic treatments, as the traditional Bride’s Day and Day Spa.

In addition, there are several other spaces of relaxation in the city of São Paulo. Those looking for more unique services can choose from the spas of the city’s five-star hotels such as the Hilton Morumbi, with its Amazonian Spa, which accepts guests and non-guests, and offers a range of massages, facial moisturizing and skin cleansing, always with products based on raw material from the Amazon forest. There is also Tivoli Mofarrej, where you can relax with massages, special hydration and baths with aromatic oils at the Elements Spa. An alternative to relaxation sessions outside clinics is to stop by the L’Occitane of the Oscar Freire street.

Serviço:

Centro de Meditação Liberdade – Templo Fo GuangShan
Address: Rua São Joaquim, 460 – Liberdade – Centro – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3207-0662.

Templo Budista ZuLai
Address: Estrada Municipal Fernando Nobre, 1461 – Cotia – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 4612-2895

Templo Busshinji
Address: Rua São Joaquim, 285 – Liberdade – Centro – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3208-0418.

Centro de Estudos Budistas Bodisatva São Paulo
Address: Rua Maestro Cardim, 1024 – Liberdade – Centro – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3266-5372.

Centro de Meditação Kadampa Mahabodhi
Address: Rua Artur de Azevedo, 1360 – Pinheiros – Zona Oeste – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3476-2328.

Mosteiro de São Bento 
Address: Largo de São Bento, s/nº – Centro – São Paulo – SP.
Opening hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 6 am until the end of the 6 pm mass. Saturdays and Sundays from 6 am to 12 am and from 4 pm to 6 pm. On Thursdays the church closes at 8 am and reopens at 11:30 am. Masses: from Monday to Friday, at 7 am – with Gregorian chant –, 1 pm, and 6 pm. Saturdays, 6 am – with Gregorian chant. Sundays, 8:30 am – with organ –, 10 am – with Gregorian chant and organ.
Phone: (11) 3328-8799.

Solo Sagrado do Guarapiranga [Sacred Ground of Guarapiranga]
Address: Estrada do Jaceguai, 6567 – Jardim Casa Grande – Zona Sul – São Paulo.
Opening hours: from Wednesday to Sunday, from 8 am to 6 pm. It opens on holidays (except on Mondays and Tuesdays).
Phone: (11) 5970-1000.

Jardim Botânico de São Paulo
Address: Avenida Miguel Stéfano, 3031 – Água Funda – Zona Sul – São Paulo.
Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday and holidays (including public holidays on Mondays), from 9 am to 5 pm. During Summer daylight saving time: open from 9 am to 6 pm. Closed: Good Friday, December 25th, and January 1st.
Price: R$ 5. Students and older adults aged more than 60 years pay R$ 2.50. Children up to 4 years old and people with special needs are exempt.
Phone: (11) 5073-6300.

Espaço Ouvillas – Parque Villa-Lobos
Address: Avenida Professor Fonseca Rodrigues, 2001 – Alto de Pinheiros – Zona Oeste – São Paulo.
Opening hours: every day, from 5:30 am to 7 pm.
Phone: (11) 3021-6285.

Pico do Jaraguá – Parque Estadual Jaraguá
Address: Rua Antônio Cardoso Nogueira, 539 – Jaraguá – Zona Norte – São Paulo.
Opening hours: everyday, from 7 am to 5 pm (the closing time is extended to 6 pm during Summer daylight saving time).
Phone: (11) 3945-4532.

Pavilhão Japonês – Parque do Ibirapuera
Address: Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, s/nº – Vila Mariana – Zona Sul – São Paulo.
Opening hours: wednesday, saturday, sunday and holidays, from 10 am to noon and from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Phone: (11) 5574-5045.

Parque da Água Branca
Address: Av. Prof. Francisco Matarazzo, 455 – Zona Oeste – São Paulo (near Barra Funda metro station).
Opening hours: everyday, from 6 am to 10 pm. Aquarium: on Mondays, from 1 pm to 5 pm. Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Free (Except the aquarium R$ 2).
Phone: (11) 3865-4131.

Praça do Pôr do Sol
Address: Rua Desembargador Ferreira França, s/nº – Alto De Pinheiros – Zona Oeste – São Paulo.

Avanhandava
Address: Rua Avanhandava – Bela Vista – Zona Sul – São Paulo.

Sala São Paulo
Address: Praça Júlio Prestes, nº 16 – Centro – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3367-9500.

Spa Cidade Jardim
Address: Avenida Magalhães de Castro, 12000 – 5º andar – Shopping Cidade Jardim – Butantã – Zona Oeste – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3552 3575 or (11) 3552 3579

BuddhaSpa
Check out the units and addresses on the website.

Espaço Girassol
Address: R. Fradique Coutinho, 1190 – Pinheiros – Zona Oeste – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 2925-9000.

Kabanah Spa
Address: Unidade I – Av. Brigadeiro Luis Antônio, 4442 – Bela Vista – Zona Sul – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3885-9943/3057-1979

Hilton Morumbi
Address: Av. das Nações Unidas, 12901 – Brooklin – Zona Oeste – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 2845-0000

Tivoli Mofarrej
Address: Alameda Santos, 1437 – Cerqueira César – zona Oeste – São Paulo.
Phone: (11) 3146-5900

 

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