While meditation is a centuries-old practice of focusing the mind to achieve mental clarity, the technique only recently gained mainstream popularity, with over 14% of Americans reporting that they practice it. This rise in interest in meditation may be due in part to the development of smartphone apps like Headspace or Calm that help users practice mindfulness on their own at any time or place. Often, these apps allow users to choose their own mode of meditation, and provide instructor-guided recordings in a variety of lengths and styles, making the practice accessible to nearly everyone with a phone.
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But some of the benefits of the community of meditation that comes from taking a class in person can be lost on these apps. Though the focus of the practice is mainly on the self, many people report that meditating in groups can help eliminate any feelings of loneliness that come from the typical solitude, according to Deepak Chopra, an advocate of alternative medicine behind The Chopra Center. Even though meditation has gained popularity in recent years, however, studios offering guided group sessions are still few and far between outside of big cities.
What if technology could once again help make meditation more accessible by helping to bring these classes to those who can’t be there in person? Journey LIVE is trying to do just that. Similar to Peloton, an app that allows its users to access live streams of spin cycle classes from their own exercise bikes, Journey LIVE will allow its users to enter live stream classes of meditation from remote studios. Journey also works with a variety of corporations to give employees the opportunity to reap the benefits of increased productivity and reduced stress that come from regular practice of meditation.
Journey’s app allows users to participate in 15-minute sessions scheduled throughout the day, and even makes one recorded session available for those who can’t fit the times of the live streams into their schedules. The app goes beyond mere video play though, and actually lets remote users actively participate in the session via mindfulness-provoking prompts on the screen and chat boxes in which the teacher can respond for post-meditation discussions.
The purpose of all of these apps though, comes down to making the benefits of meditation more accessible to the public, and those like Journey LIVE that simulate participation more closely with live streams do an even better job of translating all of the benefits of in-person practice through the screen. With more and more new studies demonstrating that the stress-reducing benefits of meditation can also improve other aspects of health, the practice should be available to as many people as possible.
At the heart of meditation is a strengthening of the connection between mind and body, whether done on one’s own, with the help of others in a group class, or through recordings on apps at home. With all of this new technology, there are fewer obstacles for those who are interested in starting meditation and those looking to continue their practice from any place and time to reap all of the stress-reducing health benefits this ancient technique has to offer.