There was a time when I thought yoga and meditation was just for hippies. My life focused on business travel, raising two sons with my husband, and trail running in my spare time. Not much time for reflection there.
After dealing with two big health issues, cancer and a brain tumor diagnosis, I discovered the importance of meditation and mindfulness. Meditating on a regular basis is a simple way to calm your mind and body. It is essentially a state of being (a mindset) and not an "act." The right mindset helps untangle all those thoughts we have, allows you to heal, and helps to keep things in perspective.
Since I'm always the eager student, I have been practicing (and learning) more with a new iPhone app called Meditation Studio released this year by the Gaiam Company. Meditation Studio provides the basics and guidelines to get started with meditation. It also provides a sense of community and that gives you a connected feeling.
The layout is simple and easy to navigate. The calendar feature is a great idea -- it keeps track of which meditation sessions you've done and on what day. And of course reminders can be scheduled that you should take advantage of.
There are three meditation courses -- Meditation Essentials, Uncovering Happiness, and Changing Habits. There are multiple teachers (I counted 18) that guide you through meditations based on their specialty and focus. It's nice to hear different voices leading you down those different paths.
The meditations are also sorted by "Just For" collections intended for specific groups of people. These collections can also be described as areas in life where you could use a little more love; each meditation session helps you focus on a particular goal or issue. For example, there is a Be Healthy collection that has meditations to help deal with stress, sleep, anxiety, and pain. I definitely look forward to the Public Speaking section under Performance meditations (visualization) since public speaking can make me nervous.
I reached out to Gaiam's COO, Cyd Crouse, to find out how the teachers were chosen and if Gaiam plans to expand into other Collections.
• The teachers chosen are leaders in their areas of expertise and a total of 23 books have been written between all of them. The backgrounds include psychologists, yogis, veteran's experts, and obviously meditation experts.
• Gaiam has plans to release "Just For" collections for moms, teens, quarterlife-ers, etc., later this year.
• As someone who grew up around the military, the current Just For Veterans collection is an area I found heart-warming.
• I recommend they provide a collection for cancer patients and survivors since that is part of the reason for starting my meditation practice.
Everyone can -- and should -- learn about meditation in my opinion. Many people think that meditation is about just being still and emptying their minds. It can be more than that. Ultimately it is up to you how you choose (or interpret) your method. Are you ready to untangle your mind?
Brigitte Cutshall is a Media Solutions Consultant and a Health Advocate. Brigitte is the author of "Real Things: 6 Ways to Embrace Life," published April 2015. For more information visit BrigitteCutshall.