By Paula Bostrom on Sat, 08/10/2013
During our busy, stressful lives, it's sometimes hard to find time to breathe and relax. Studies show that meditation creates feelings of calm, relaxation, and positive emotions.
The problem is finding time for contemplation and quiet in our day. The Essential Meditations Deck ($1.99) contains 50 exercises to focus the mind. Pick a "card," and it only takes a few minutes to set you on a different path. Each card has a colorful image on one side and a guided meditation on the other.
There are visualization meditations and meditations using focal points. For example, one card has you concentrate on an object that is near you, maybe a book or coffee cup and focus on the object until you are aware of its unique features. Another encourages the user to simply lie on the floor and breathe.
Some cards resonate with me, and some don't. If I don't like the exercise, I simply flip to another card. However, the inventor of the app, Oceanhouse Media, encourages users to try the meditations that don't immediately appeal because, "sometimes these reveal the most about our inner nature."
One card asks you to imagine yourself in a small rowboat being gently swept along by the currents as you try to release your need to control things in life. That's ok, but for me that would take much longer than a few minutes and instead of invoking feelings of relaxation, it may bring up feelings of, "Why do I do the things I do?" If you have more time and feel like questioning that, go for it.
Either way, if you are experienced in meditation or just need a short break in your day to breathe and focus on something other than all the work that still needs to be done, I've found The Essential Meditations Deck to be helpful. You can also email the different guided meditations to friends to start a conversation or simply encourage them. And, for two bucks, the app is much cheaper than a trip to a yoga studio.