For the New Year, we decided to depart from the slew of timer-based apps to explore three niche apps: one for those who prefer to meditate in motion, one for stressed-out teens, and one for gadget-obsessed practitioners. While these apps may seem at first glance to target somewhat limited audiences, each one offers something that might help revamp a routine practice.
Walking Meditations takes your daily practice outdoors, providing a new set of inspirations and challenges. Take a Chill is aimed at adolescents, but the useful tips and brief meditations it offers can alleviate stress in users of any age. And Thync—a wearable device paired with an app—adds some zing (literally) to your practice by providing low-level electrical pulses to your brain, stimulating states of energy or calm.
The practice of walking meditation offers a different set of challenges from seated practice because there’s more to pay attention to: the sensations of our body as well as our continuously changing surroundings. Walking Meditations, part of a suite by Meditation Oasis that includes 12 other meditation apps, includes 3 sense-based, guided audio meditations plus a diary feature. “Enliven Body” encourages inward focus, “Enliven Senses” emphasizes the environment, and “Fully Present” offers a combination of the two. The 18-minute meditations are delivered in a reassuring yet sleepy (at times almost comatose) female voice. Frequent pauses are helpful for navigating between the audio and the environment. One slight downside is that you can’t fast-forward or rewind the tracks, but since the meditations are repetitive—stressing a “relaxed, open awareness” and acceptance of all experiences and thoughts—perhaps the function isn’t necessary. Given the continual flights of the mind during a walk, the redundancy of the words can even be helpful, bringing your mind back to this moment on this walk, whether it’s down a city sidewalk, up a mountain trail, or even around your home.