A Week of Meditation: AURA
At first glance the app design seems really slick. I’m first asked for my name and then asked to give a rating of how much I am interested in mindfulness, how happy/positive I am, and how stressed. It then asks if I would like to set a reminder each day for my practice. I set it to 6am but I think my practice may have to vary day to day as I have a changing schedule in the mornings depending on whether I workout. The visuals are really nice and simple and it’s easy to navigate.
I’m feeling really stressed this morning. I opened up the app and it asked me how I am feeling- ‘great’, ‘okay’, ‘stressed’, ‘anxious’, ‘sad’ or ‘can’t sleep’. I selected stressed! It proceeded to guide me through a 3 minute meditation called compassion. The ladies voice guiding me through the meditation wasn’t the most calming in my opinion- but perhaps other people would disagree! During the 3 minute meditation the speaker encouraged me to repeat some positive affirmations and to tell myself that it’s ok to feel how I am feeling. I’m not sure how much I believed myself I’m afraid and it felt a little strange. I don’t think I was quite ready to get on board with that. The meditation itself seemed to pass extremely quickly- not quite long enough for me to truly relax or 100% dedicate myself to what she was saying- although I have to say that once it had finished I had a short moment of stillness afterwards where I felt a brief sense of calm.
I select okay.
The woman's voice is nicer this time- she can stay! This time I do a meditation focusing on the breath and bringing my attention to it. Again it feels a little too short to really get into it. It congratulated me at the end telling me I'm now level two. I like that it turns it into a sort of game :)
I feel like i prefer doing my meditation in the morning but I had no time at home so i did it on the bus. I thought it would be a little distracting with the bus wobbling all over the place but the session focused on more technical breathing and I actually found myself able to focus a little more this time. ‘Morning Wake Up Breath’, the session was called. I also found a cool little feature called 'mood trends' that shows you the curve of how your mood has changed over the days that you've been using the app according to what mood you choose before each meditation. Pretty good! Maybe I'll see some sort of difference by the end of the week...
I did it in the morning this time. I was actually really looking forward to doing it this morning. I've only just noticed that each time you open the app it gives you a nice inspirational quote. Nice touch Aura, nice touch. Today I selected stressed- I'm noticing a pattern this week for some reason! I received what was essentially a 3 minute compassionate pep talk which, surprisingly, made me feel a little better- although I am still finding it difficult to remain 100% in the moment of what they are saying. Breathing slow and steady throughout seems to be becoming a bit more habitual now though.
Today I selected okay. I was guided through a meditation that personalised the guidance to whether you were feeling overly alert, balanced, or overly relaxed. It was actually really helpful! I'm actually really starting to appreciate having 3 minutes of stillness in my morning. Its helped me to clear my head and feel more focused starting the day. I definitely felt the effects yesterday morning! I can inly imagine how much more effective it would be if it was longer than 3 minutes though…
I had real trouble with it today. My meditation wasn't very focused and so afterwards I thought I'd take some time to check out any other features the free version of the app has to offer. There is quite a nice section called the gratitude journal. It's a very simple feature that allows you to document all that you are grateful for on a daily basis. It would be a nice habit to develop I think! It seems you are limited to the amount of meditations you can listen to each day :(
My last meditation was a little underwhelming. I did find it much easier to focus- perhaps as it’s the weekend and my mind is more at ease- or perhaps a week’s worth of meditation has had some effect! I can only imagine what difference I would feel if the meditations had been longer… I feel as if i’ve only just touched the surface of it all. I’m really keen to try out some other apps now and see if they have more to offer!
A simple and well designed app with loads of nice little features, such as tailoring your meditation based around your mood. However, the app is generally let down by the fact that the free version only allows you to do 3 minute meditations, which for me just wasn’t enough time to fully give in and concentrate. I feel I would have benefited much more from a longer meditation- each time it ended I felt as if I was just starting to focus!