Meditation is gaining popularity for creating a healthier lifestyle such as boosting productivity and memory, relieving stress and anxiety and finally creating a more positive, healthy lifestyle. There is now plenty of research which backs up these claims. It doesn’t have to be sitting in a lotus pose chanting OM, it’s something that can be done anywhere at any time but be patient, it isn't something that will change your life overnight, it requires practice, like yoga which eventually becomes part of your lifestyle which helps keep life balanced.
I decided to get into meditation properly, as this is was only something I did after my yoga practice in savasana. So for the past week I have been devoting 20 minutes of my day to meditate (10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening) and trying to do this around the same time each day so that it becomes habitual. I am definitely not a morning person, I choose warmth and comfort and more sleeeeeep, so at the start, I was reluctant to get up at 6.30 am just to meditate for 10 minutes. But over time it has got easier and now I look forward to it. I enjoy my routine of meditating in the morning, when afterwards I write out daily affirmations to focus on and before I drift off to sleep, I meditate for a further 10 minutes, review my day and read a good book setting me up for a good nights sleep.
What I have found
I am definitely feeling more productive throughout the day and funnily enough more energetic despite getting up early. Also I’m finding that I go to sleep quicker and that my quality of sleep has improved. But I still wake up in the early morning in a fuzzy headed daze! Combined with the daily affirmations, my outlook on life I feel is improving. I feel a lot more positive about certain things and my relationships with people, especially new people I have just met. I know that sometimes I put up an imaginary guard up when I meet new people, but when I notice this I can start to correct it.
Reviewing the apps
There are lots of meditation apps out there, I will be reviewing the big two apps Headspace and Calm. Both available for Android and iPhone and have a free 7 day or 10 trial depending on the app. Thereafter you can subscribe to access more content.
Narrated by Andy Puddicombe who is a meditation and mindfulness expert, he takes you through the guided 10 minutes of meditation explaining how it can help you live a better life by simply not thinking anything. Watch this video which will explain a little more about meditation.
You can try out the 10 day trial for free and subscribe thereafter to access all of the headspace collection such as the foundation courses to further your understanding of the meditation techniques, Meditation to help improve health and relationships and meditation for on the go and there’s even a 2 minute SOS meditation for those moments when you need instant calm and stress relief.
What I like
I love the community that Andy has created, where people share their experiences and how meditation has helped them through things like serious health issues. His simple mission is to improve the health and happiness of the world, so there is a ‘’Get some/Give some’’ scheme, when you purchase a subscription, a person who is unable to afford it can access the meditation for free.
The analogies used to explain how meditation can help you really makes sense. You get an appreciation for life. Most of the time we aren’t actually living and connecting mind to body and our body and mind take on so much we rarely show gratitude and thanks for all the stress we put on it.
There are 4 subscription methods to choose from, so you can pick one to suit you
If you are interested in trying out the free 10 day trial you can search for Headspace in your apps.
☮ Giving back community
☮ Sharing community, sharing success stories
☮ Guided meditation from an expert
☮ Easy analogies to help your understanding of meditation
☮ Lots of different meditation guides to help improve areas of your life
☮ Great if you are new you meditation and want to improve understanding
A very simple app with the free 7 days of calm guided meditation, guided meditation focusing on calmness and scanning the body (part of the free 7 days of calm) and when you subscribe you can access guided meditation for Deep sleep, Anxiety, Concentration, On the go and many more to help balance other areas in your life. There is also a timer, so you can choose how long you want to meditate for, perhaps using the meditation techniques you have already picked up.
When you subscribe you can access 21 days of calm guided meditation, the 50 further guided meditation such as reducing anxiety and improving sleep. New life changing content is also added monthly for subscribers. Subscription is $9.99/month or £6.40 charged monthly subscription and a yearly subscription $39.99 or £25.62 charged yearly.
What I like
With Calm you get the wonderful meditation guides, with chilled, relaxed music and serene backgrounds. But it lacks the added value that Headspace brings through understanding of meditation. If you’re a beginner to meditation definitely give Headspace a go first, which will help you to understand and appreciate the guided meditation that Calm offers.
You can find calm online or in your app store.
☮ Simple and easy to use app
☮ Relaxing music along with the guided meditation
☮ You can choose what backdrops you would like which relates to the relaxing music
☮ Free 7 days of calm
☮ Choose how long you would like to meditate for
So, which one would I highly recommend? If you are totally new to meditation, try Headspace first. This will help you understand what meditation is, the application and how it can work for you. After that, if you are hungry for for meditation, try Calm. There are also apps that play relaxed chilled out music, so when you want to try out the meditation techniques yourself, you can apply them here.
And remember, your life won't change over night. This is something that takes practice. Like you would prepare your body through training for a marathon, meditation is similar. Think of it as training the neural pathways in your brain to be still and calm.