Interested in Mindfulness? Well, there has to be an app for that!
I read an article about meditation nearly two years ago – (guess who’s just rediscovered this idea for a blog topic?). It was in the UK newspaper, the Observer. It reported that a study at a US Buddhist retreat found that eastern relaxation techniques can protect our chromosomes from degenerating. You can read it here.
That gave me an interest in Mindfulness. I’ve written elsewhere how I love my iPhone so you can imagine that one of my first thoughts was: there has to be “an app for that”. And so there was.
Actually, there are lots and lots of apps for Mindfulness and for meditation. I am going to list here only the ones I’ve used. Have a look in your app store and you’ll find more.
I’ve used three suppliers really: Meditation Oasis, MindApps and Mental Workout Inc.
Meditation Oasis produces “Simply Being”. This bills itself as “guided meditation for relaxation and presence”. It is easy to use, has guided meditations of four different lengths, from 5 to 20 minutes. It uses a woman’s voice and you can listen to the voice alone or have it accompanied by either music or nature sounds of ocean, rain or stream. A recent update (2012) gives you control on how long the music or nature sounds will continue after the guided meditation.
I’ve actually used one of Meditation Oasis’s other apps, “Relax & Rest”, more often. This has the same sort of functionality. It has three meditations and the one I’ve used most is “deep rest”. This is a 13-minute meditation, which is really great at lulling me to sleep.
Both these apps cost 69p on the UK iTunes store and $0.99 on the Australian one. The same app can be loaded on the iPad as well and has got the same functionality but the displays reformat themselves for the iPad, which is nice.
Meditation Oasis has lots of other apps if you look at their web site, here. The newest, “iSleep Easy” is AUD 5.49 so a bit more expensive but no doubt worth it if you are finding it difficult to sleep. They have also recently released “Take a break!”, which is free and provides two meditations – a seven-minute and a thirteen-minute option – to help with stress management.
MindApps is a Swedish organisation and you can buy their apps in Swedish as well as in English, if you find that helpful. You can find details on the website in Swedish here and in English here. I first used “Mindfulness” and there is now “Mindfulness 2”. They both use women’s voices. When you run them, they present you with a screen that tells you: “Take a deep breath”, which is a good start. They also use a lovely gong or bell sound, which you can turn off if you like.
Mindfulness provides a series of guided meditations of different lengths from 3 to 30 minutes and silent meditations, punctuated with bells, of the same lengths. Mindfulness 2 provides a series of guided meditations of different characters: mountain, lake, lovingkindness, standing, walking meditations and body scan and silent meditations of between 10 and 60 minutes.
Both apps allow you to create personalised meditations, to set meditation reminders and to record or log the meditations that you do using the app. There is a great deal to explore.
The apps cost £1.49 on the UK store and $1.99 on the Australian one. They will run on the iPad but only using the iPhone interface.
Mental Workout Inc is an organisation under development, as you can read on their website here. I have their app, “Mindfulness Meditation”.
Unlike the other apps mentioned here, it has a man’s voice. It has a 10-minute relaxation option as well as guided meditations of 5 to 40 minutes. It contains a section with tips on how to meditate – delivered mostly by voice recordings. The main message seems to be: don’t worry about it, whatever you do is fine. You can also give a meditation to someone else, sharing it using email, Facebook or Twitter, which is rather neat.
Mindfulness Meditation costs £1.49 on the UK store and $1.99 on the Australian store.
These are the apps I’ve tried. Let me know if you’ve found any other good ones. In the meantime, take a deep breath and be mindful in all you do!