The Art of Meditation

Two years ago I enrolled in a 200-hour teacher training at Exhale. I was approached by one of my teachers after she learned that I was an art dealer. She was keen I meet an artist whose work was spiritual in nature.


She explained he was an enlightened (a description he’d certainly deny), teacher of meditation – a guru whose paintings were portals into consciousness. I wasn’t sure I was prepared. Was I educated enough in art history? Was my subtle body resonating on a high enough frequency? I was nervous.


When I met Vijay Balakrishnan in Chelsea, New York, he explained that each painting was a moving meditation – as he made them he was transported – placing one thumb or finger print dipped in crushed gold pigment and finding it’s counterpart on the opposite side of the black canvas.


Payal 1

Al-kemi, 2013-2014


The work was cosmic and immediately drew me in. I felt closer to the stars, as if I had journeyed deep into outer space. His black and gold imprints were inviting and expansive. Meeting Vijay would stimulate in me an inquiry on the nature of art inspired by the tenants of yoga. Through his meditation practice, he created “Al-kemi” visual visceral vibrations.

Image 4


Al-kemi, 2013-2014


I have a daily meditation practice. I tell my friends and yoga students, start with two minutes, build up to ten if possible or stay steady with two. In a recent conversation with Vijay, he mentioned that meditation was not the same as self-improvement. It was a practice dedicated to self-inquiry, a completely different endeavor.



Al-kemi, 2013-2014


When seated with an inward gaze, we can empty the mind’s clutter. Before the mind quiets, if it ever does, it has a lot to say. Simply listen, unpack, unload and feel the freedom and joy of moving closer to center.


Vijay leads Meditation Club once a week in a loft in NoHo. A half hour of silent meditation followed by a half hour of open discussion. You can email him at for details.


To view Vijay’s paintings and for any sales inquires visit:



Al-kemi, 2013-2014


About Vijay Balakrishnan


Vijay Balakrishnan was born in South India and emigrated to the United States at the age of nine. Around the same time, he began his lifelong meditation practice and his visual work is inspired by this inquiry. The Al-Kemi series explores the internal landscape, where the retinal experience opens to a cognitive shift, and the viewer is transported to subtler layers of Being. They are expressionist, dynamic yantras, built with thousands of fingerprints in pairs, exploring the tensions and harmonics of interior life, a weaving of space and time into an alchemical loom.


Vijay has worked in a number of mediums. He’s co-written two feature screenplays, Karma Local, and Toussaint, published a novel, Peace INC., and his prose and images have appeared in HiLobrow and The Paris Review.


About Payal Parekh


Payal S. Parekh is a nationally certified Vinyasa-based yoga teacher and received her 200-hour training from Exhale, New York. She is currently enrolled as a student in an accelerated Urban Zen Integrative Therapy training, at Yoga Shanti, New York. Payal is also a New York based art entrepreneur. She is a private dealer, curator and art advisor. She specializes in photography and contemporary art, with a focus on talent inspired by India. She seeks to exhibit artworks that transform, empower and enlighten.


Art fused with meditation creates a collective transcendent experience. As a yoga professional, Payal aims to ground her students while expanding their consciousness. She graduated with a BA in Art History from Mount Holyoke College and received an MA specializing in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute, London. Ms. Parekh has appeared in Vogue India, December 2010; Wallpaper, 2012; and Harper’s Bazaar India, March 2014.



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