Those who follow me on Twitter will have noticed that I have taken up meditation, by using the app by Insight Timer.
I did have experience with visualisation in a therapy setting in my 20’s (and I suppose listening to a fairytale radio show aired on Sunday mornings when I was little – the reader would tell you to ‘close your eyes to see what’s happening’) but meditation was new to me.
I had heard of benefits of meditation, including improving sleep (muchMUCH needed), reducing anxiety (check), lowering blood pressure (yes, please) and getting your brain to stop chattering (OMG yes!), but it wasn’t until the lovely iHanna posted a message on Twitter saying she had just done a mediation with Insight Timer that I looked into it and tried it out. That was 30 days ago.
Insight Timer is an app that has a free and a paid (under £2) version. As I went straight to the paid one I don’t know exactly what you get on the free option, but I love the paid one.
First off there’s the timer, where you can set bells to start, end and chime during your meditation. They sounds very real, especially when you’re listening to them through headphones. You can set just how long you want to meditate, as I’m a beginner I’ve a few differnt ‘pre-sets’ set at 5, 10 and 15 minutes, looking to expand as I get more practise.
Then there are guided meditations to listen to and follow, currently there are 82 on the site by different meditation teachers, varying in length from 1 minute to just over 30 minutes, and in style from body scans to mediation focussing on breath to guided visualisations.
All mediations (and guided meditations if you set it up that way) are counted, and for ever 10 consecutive days or 50 days with a session, you’ll get a star. The stats also tell you just how much time you’ve spent meditating so far. I’ve just reached 30 days and did 8 hrs and 25 min. of meditation using the bell configuration as well as the guided meditation. Yay me, I’ve now got 3 gold stars. 😉
There is also a Community button. You can see how many people are currently meditation all over the world, and you can join the many groups. I joined the UK&I Open Meditation group, Nederland Mediteert (because it is nice to ask questions in your own language) and Beginner’s Mind and in all groups people have been nothing but lovely and kind and open to answering all silly questions a beginner like me might have, like, if it’s true that your brain changes as you meditate, will you be able to feel it?
You can add friends, and send them little messages like ‘Thank you for meditating with me’. I think that’s lovely. (If any of you get this app, feel free to add me – Eveline from Harlow, England).
You can log and journal your sessions (and yes, they export to Evernote), set a daily reminder, rate the guided meditations and put them in your favourites so you can find them again, and they also have a Facebook page where they post inspirational quotes and updates on the site or app, and a Twitter account. You can set your account so it posts about your meditation automatically. It’s what I’ve set mine up to do every day for this last month, but I will change it to now only post when I reach another milestone in my stats.
As I’m sure you can tell, I really love this app. It’s easy to use, makes you feel that eventhough you sit there on your own you’re part of a larger community of people, and really, does what it says on the tin. You can’t ask for more, really.
I started off with just guided meditations as it was closest to what I had done before, but I am now enjoying my silent meditations too. While I haven’t seen any of the benefits just yet (and I wasn’t expecting to, it will take a lot longer than just 30 days), I am enjoying the experience.
If you do get the app, please let me know how you get on!