By Louise. Posted on 23rd December 2014.
Who else has been feeling a bit stressed this past week or two? I feel like there are a million and one things to get done in the run up to Christmas and I am starting to feel a little frazzled. Now, I have admittedly given myself an extra task this year by beginning a course in nutrition in my spare time and the fact that I have my first exam for it this weekend, but on top of that there is a busy day job, upcoming Christmas dinners and parties, planning and doing Christmas shopping (thanks internet for making my life somewhat easier in that respect!), running to keep up my fitness for my 2015 races,finding a new yoga class (more on that to come in future weeks), reading my book club books, and making sure I see friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything that I do, but I am looking forward to some chill-out time over Christmas where I can indulge in cups of tea and watching films all day long!
But it’s true that Christmas is a stressful time of year. And we try to do all of it, we don’t want to miss out on all the fun. I have admitted before on my blog that I am a huge culprit of trying to do everything. I’m soon going to be pondering my new year intentions for 2015 and I think that really prioritising how and where I want to spend my time is going to be high on the agenda.
In the meantime, I have been trying out a new meditation app to help me find some space in every day, no matter how busy I might be. I have been meditating for a few years now, on and off. I first discovered meditation through my yoga practice, but have also done a course with Mind on mindfulness meditation and attended some Gaia House day retreats. It’s something I always come back to. I have found it hard in the past to establish a daily practice but I think that good apps really help you to carve out that much needed time.
The app I have been trying is called Anamaya. It’s free to download, with the starter meditations included, and then you just pay to unlock the rest of the content (it’s currently £9.99 to unlock it all). Anamaya kindly gifted me the full app for free and so I have been exploring what’s on there.
Anamaya is a sanctuary in London where they do all sorts of lovely things including massage, acupuncture, pilates, dietetics and more. They have now created their own app where you can take a slice of relaxation with you, wherever you go. The meditations are split into different themes or areas so you can pick which one you want to focus on – anger, anxiety, concentration, pain, worry, stress, pregnancy. One area I was intrigued by is the sport area – I can’t wait to give these meditations a listen!
I have started with the general section to get me into the Anamaya style of meditation. The meditations for each theme are split into three levels and there are seven meditations for each level. You progress through level 1 and 2 in order and then you can move on to level 3 or go back into some of level 1 or 2. I have completed level 1 of the general meditations and am just moving on to level 2. Level 1 recordings are all 10 minutes long which is perfect for me – I have an allocated 10 minutes in the morning to meditate (around 6.40am, after my shower so I don’t fall asleep while meditating – a problem I have had in the past!). Level 2 are 15 minutes and level 3 are 20 minutes so I’ll have to see how these go. I might move them into the evening to fit them in more easily.
One of the things I really like about this app is the reminder feature – you can set the app the remind you at a point in the day if you haven’t meditated. I find that if I don’t do it first thing, the day will sweep me away and I’ll completely forget. So this little reminder for days when I don’t manage to sit down on my cushions is super helpful. You can also set ‘mindfulness reminders’ to remind you to check in with yourself and your thoughts. This all helps sow the seeds of meditation in your mind and hopefully makes it become the norm.
There is also a Learning Centre in the app with all sorts of useful information and tips. This can help get you started but also it never hurts to re-read this stuff and keep you inspired in your practice.
So, two weeks in and I am enjoying using the app. I find it helpful to have a tool for my meditation and it keeps me coming back every day. I can feel meditation actually unwinding all my crazy thoughts from the day and bringing me back to myself. I find my breath and for those ten minutes that’s all that matters.
I was gifted the full Anamaya app for free but all views and opinions in this blog are my own.
Originally published on Louise’s blog at http://louliveswell.blogspot.co.uk/.