Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA Awareness Research Center (MARC), notes that there is a lot of research on awareness, which is why many applications are based on attention. This includes Headspace i Calm down– which are some of the most famous – and even UCLA Mindful, led by Winston and the MARC team.
How to choose and use your meditation app
Whether your goal is to reduce anxiety, become more aware in everyday life, or develop a daily meditation practice, research has revealed this internet meditation can work; you just need to know what you should be working with.
Focus on one meditation technique at a time
If there is no one meditation technique that would rule them all, how do you know which one will work for you? Here applications can be of great help as they provide an opportunity to try out many different techniques, all in one, easily accessible place. According to Zeidan, however, you don’t want an app where you work too much, too fast. (For example, you should not do three different types of meditation in the range of 15 minutes.)
“One way to evaluate the effectiveness of an application is how much time the technique will present to you in a given – short time – time,” says Zeidan. “You don’t want that; you really want to master one thing and then move on. We tend to want to try many things, but I think focusing on the breath and body is really the most critical method to get started. ”
Again, awareness meditation is becoming increasingly popular and can be achieved through multiple exercises – such as breathing exercises, body scan meditation, walking meditation, and more – but to find out which works best for you, it may take trial and error. “Which app you choose depends somewhat on your goals,” Winston adds. “Are you looking for awareness or some other kind of practice? If you want to learn awareness, there are many applications out there and it can be overwhelming; what people usually do is go for the ones that are most famous, like Headspace, which are good apps. The problem is finding something that resonates with you. “
Find the app that suits you
If you do not have a connection with your meditation application, it will be almost impossible to establish a connection with yourself at the moment. Winston says something as simple as the voice of an instructor is a boring enough reason to try a new instructor in an app or, if that option isn’t available, get a brand new app.
“Trust your own intuition, listen and really look at the way you instinctively react to a person [or instructor]”, Adds Valdes. “If you don’t feel connected, you may find it difficult to focus.” Lastly, they say, if you don’t feel like you fit into the atmosphere of a particular app, class, or instructor, don’t hesitate to continue. You are not stuck in any application or method. If you don’t feel attracted to the vibration a person or technique is offering you, there is so much out there. ”
It is important to keep in mind that certain meditation techniques, such as Vipsanna – a self-centered Buddhist practice – are rooted in ancient practices, a fact that is often lost in the colonization of wellness spaces. Therefore, Valdes suggests that people who have an interest in starting the practice of meditation look for instructors who consider it a form of their indigenous or cultural practice. Options in the application form include Plum Village, created by a monastic community led by the Buddhist visionary Thich Nhat Hanh, and Liberate, a meditation application designed for the black community, with BIPOC instructors.
Look for applications with an educational component
If you want to become an experienced meditator, then you will want to look for an app that has an educational component of guided meditations and exercises – for example, a popular app Wake up includes lessons and conversations about meditation theory – until you find what helps you achieve the goal of training your mind to be present.
Winston notes that many applications will offer courses at weekly intervals, for example, as an introduction to the basics of meditation. Most educators suggest studying meditation as a one-on-one, as many experienced meditators often receive individualized instructions or go so far as to attend personal lectures. Finding an app with access to a professional is a feature to look for if questions arise during the exercise. Ten percent happier is one such application, offer subscribers have access to a personal meditation trainer. “Some things come up [during meditation] they can be personal to that person and there is an awareness of other things that can be awakened, like trauma and side effects, like seeing stains and feeling like you’re floating, ”says Zeidan. “Clarity can help you not let the mind wander about what it is.”
In other words? You are actually using an app. While there is no magic number of experts who can tell you how much or how long to meditate, Winston encourages you to do so whenever you can. Of course, daily practice is desirable, but it’s less about how much time you spend per day, and more about overall consistency. In fact, research suggests long-term meditation practices have measurable effects on the brain.
“To become an experienced meditator, you have to keep practicing,” Zeidan says. “I actually asked the Dalai Lama [when showing] his research, ‘How much training does it take to be a really good meditator?’ And he said, ‘All my life.’ ‘