Keep calm and listen on
If you've been struggling with catching some shuteye, or need soothing music to help wind down after a stressful day, these four online platforms may have the answer
Sometime around the pandemic, Audible launched a whole range of content under the Audible Sleep Collection, perfect to listen to when hitting the sack or even right after waking up. The new podcast series has been created with a focus on scientifically proven relaxation and calming techniques, including Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), night meditations, bedtime stories, soundscapes, and sound baths. Having struggled with sleep since the beginning of the pandemic, this writer had downloaded the Audible Meditations series. The 11-episode podcast series is perfect to help decompress before hitting the sack. You are taught to release tension, and practise crystal bowl breathing, too. We also enjoyed the morning meditation series.
Available on Audible: Free for members (Rs 199 monthly)
This app personalises your meditation programme based on your goals. From helping with better sleep, developing gratitude, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing happiness and building self-esteem, there are a host of options, available. You begin by answering a few quick questions on the app—this helps with providing a more customised experience. You can also choose the content you are exploring; for instance, if you are trying to catch some shuteye, you can either try soundscapes, relaxing music, sleep meditations or nature sounds. "I was introduced to the app by a family friend. It leverages different forms of meditation. I opted for the seven-day programme. It involved a combination of breathing exercises, guided by the app through counts, with soothing background images of nature and music. Even if I don't have the app handy, I use this technique, when I feel anxious. It helps me monitor my thoughts and get a hold," says Debarati Chakraborty Bhar, communications consultant and mother to twins.
Available on: Google PlayStore
Rs 3,650 annually after seven-day free trial
LIKE other apps, Mindfulness offers a slew of guided meditation programmes. There are foundation courses for beginners, as well as those to help with emotions, focus and relationships. A new feature on the app is Corona Resilience. The three to 15-minute-long sessions help with releasing Coronavirus-related anxiety, immunity boosting practices, developing compassion and even mindful handwashing. "I found the app to be particularly useful in decluttering the mind, helping focus and simply being aware of the present moment," says children's author Nandita da Cunha, who used it for over a year.
Available on: Google PlayStore
Rs 1,200 annually after seven-day free trial
Jason Stephenson's meditation music and NCHPAD
For those looking at a more viewer-curated meditative experience, YouTube is the best option. If a meditation video or audio on the platform has more than a lakh views, it means it has usually served the audience well. Surabhi Dand, a psychotherapist practising alternative healing therapy, who listens to the mini meditation audio series shared on the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)'s YouTube channel, says, "A healer is human first. Helping people with so much positivity can be draining. I listen to these audio books to rewire and reconnect with my inner self in order to strengthen and uphold my spirits. It gives me solace, too." For those struggling with sleep, there's Jason Stephenson's Sleep Meditation Music channel. From the gentle sounds of night rain to relaxing music, and healing sounds, Stephenson's music helps you experience sleep almost immediately.
Available on: YouTube
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