Finding “the right way” to meditate can be challenging. Though these ancient practices have become more or less mainstream in this modern day, practicing mindfulness is a lot easier said than done. At the same time that mindfulness techniques are rising in collective consciousness, so too is the growing number of distractions in this fast-paced world.
While meditation might just be the perfect antidote to the chaos that many of us experience (either inside or out), the remedy only works if we find the right blend of techniques that lines up with our unique personal make-up.
Like anything else, meditation is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
The Balance: Meditation App by Elevate Labs has recently hit the market, a meditation app that might help to fill the gap between our meditation aspirations and our actions.
While there is no shortage of meditation apps to consider, Balance might come closest to replicating what it would be like to have our own teacher – to have someone to check in with us as we progress. The app offers a personalized meditation program to enhance its effectiveness in keeping each student focused, committed, and growing in the right direction.
Once you register for the free 10-day introductory program, the app asks a series of questions to gain a better understanding of your present familiarity with these practices and your goals for the program. Ranking four outcomes in order of what matters most to you helps the app to deliver a program that suits your unique make-up. The goals this program sets out to address are:
Teaching nine concrete meditation techniques, the app provides various avenues for learning and personal growth. Depending upon what best suits your goals, comfort levels, and experience level, the techniques you’ll explore will be some combination of breath focus, body scan, labeling, loving-kindness, visualization, awareness, spotlighting, breath control, and innovation.
As you move through the program, the meditations will build upon what you covered in previous days. From the questions you answer at the beginning of and throughout the course, the app will determine what will most effectively contribute to your personal growth, keep you committed, and enhance your focus. The customization is an ongoing process as the app keeps in touch with you throughout the program.
There are a handful of key features that make the Balance app an effective and empowering meditation and mindfulness tool. Unlike some meditation apps that offer little interaction with users, Balance app provides something much more engaging.
As mentioned, one of the things that makes this app really unique is that it checks in with you prior to each meditation to find out more about what you’re familiar and comfortable with. By getting to know how comfortable you are with particular techniques and which skills you find most difficult, the app tailors your experience to be most effective for your goals.
Data collected about your goals will also help the app to deliver the meditations that make the most sense for you. For instance, a program for someone whose top goal is to improve sleep will look different than one designed for someone aiming primarily to increase focus.
The free 10-day program provides routine and structure, helping to create momentum around your budding meditation practice. Since consistency is more effective in establishing meditation habits than the duration of one-off practices are, the 10-day program helps to foster that ongoing engagement. By committing to a daily practice, you start to carve out new neural pathways that have the potential for long-term impact. In terms of length of practice, the duration of each meditation will vary according to your level of experience and can be adjusted each day as needed.
In addition to the structured program, the Balance app also offers one-off meditations for all sorts of situations. The ‘Singles’ section includes both guided and unguided meditations in 14 different categories: Anxiety, Commute, Energize, Relax, Sleep, Wake Up, Wind Down, Breaking Habits, Breathe, Concentrate, Couples, Motivation, SOS, and Unguided. These meditations are short and sweet, running just five or ten minutes in length, offering you a chance to rest and reset while on-the-go or if pressed for time.
So, even if your primary goal is to improve sleep, for instance, the app recognizes that we can all use support from time to time in a variety of areas. Committing to a 10-day plan that is geared towards your overarching needs, experience, mood, and goals does not exempt you from exploring and expanding upon other areas of your life.
The free Foundations or Advanced Plan gives users the fundamental tools they need to build their practice – whether one’s current standing is beginner, intermediate, or advanced. With a subscription, the app unlocks the full library of 10-day plans, as well as the full collection of ‘Single’ meditations. Gaining access to these additional guided meditations and plans allows users to explore different skills and approaches that can empower and inspire new ways of thinking, seeing, and being.
The Balance: Meditation app is a worthy consideration for anyone looking to deepen their practice and receive customized support as they do so. Since most of us cannot afford to have an in-person meditation instructor to help turn aspirations into action, this app is our next best bet in gaining the personalized assistance that is so valuable in helping to make meditation effective. Taking our unique needs, experience, and yearnings into consideration, this meditation app helps us to find what works best for who and where we are at present.
The 10-day program is an excellent introduction to what the Balance app offers – and it’s free to explore. From there, if the program feels like the right fit for where you’re heading, you can sign up for a subscription to gain access to the full library of resources. For customers in the United States, the auto-renewing subscription options are either $11.99/month or $49.99/year. If you absolutely love it and are ready to commit long-term to the resources offered, a lifetime subscription is available for a one-time payment of $199.99. The pricing varies in other countries.
So is it worth trying? With a free, no-commitment 10-day course to explore, the Balance App is a great consideration for anyone who has yet to find the right technique or guide to make meditation stick. It’s entirely risk-free.
The potential benefits are infinite.
Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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