I recently had the opportunity to try out the Pause meditation app, which was released earlier this month and is compatible with iOS6.0 or later. I really appreciate how, more than any other meditation app I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many of the apps on the market), Pause takes a thoughtful approach to guiding newbie and new-ish meditators like myself through the basics of the practice before transitioning them into more focused work on different life areas, such as work stress, love, and personal relationships. For very experienced meditators who are just seeking access to a library of guided sessions, note that the app is structured such that users have to complete multiple skill development sessions, totaling a significant amount of time, before they can access the higher level sessions.
As I’ve discussed previously, while live guided meditation sessions are invaluable experiences, I find meditation apps to be a very helpful and necessary supplement. They are a handy tool to use for developing a solo practice and a great way for someone to ease into meditation on their own if they are intimidated by the idea of attending a live session. Also, I find I’m most in need of meditation when I don’t have an opportunity to make it to a meditation facility, such as when I’m dealing with a stressful work or personal situation. As I detail below, Pause does a good job of balancing out its goal of having users gradually develop their skills before tackling more challenging sessions with providing users with critical guidance in times of need, such as by providing a pre-requsite-free “SOS Session” to be used in the event of a panic attack
The Format of the Pause Meditation App
The Pause meditation app is set up so that users have the opportunity to hone the fundamentals of their practice before plunging into more intense area-specific work. As the users get more foundation and skills-focused sessions under their belt, accruing points referred to as “lotuses,” they are able to unlock more life issue-specific sessions. The meditations generally range from 5 to 15 minutes in length, making them very doable first thing in the morning before you run out the door, or even during a lunch break at your desk. The app is structured as follows:
- When the user logs in, she is asked how she is feeling that day and, based on her response, the app recommends the appropriate meditation series.
- The user may then proceed to the main meditation series page of the app which lists foundational meditations and subject area-specific ones.
- The Foundation meditations allow users to develop the nuts and bolts of their practice, such as learning to breath properly, sitting in a comfortable position, and even fighting the instinct to fidget. Though I’ve been practicing for months, I actually found this series incredibly helpful because I still struggle with all these things (especially the fidgeting and the sitting), and few apps or live meditations devote significant time to these basics.
- The Series meditations focus on different issues or meditative needs. While the first sessions in most of the series don’t require the completion of any prerequisites, in order to advance in the series the user has to complete certain Foundation and/or Practice sessions (discussed further below). The Series include meditations devoted to dealing with stress and difficult emotions, expressing love to others, developing healthy relationships, and thinking in a more efficient and self-supportive way, along with a series of short meditations for people who can only squeeze in a few minutes to practice.
- The Practice meditations enable users to build on the progress they made in the Foundation sessions by doing more concentrated work on their technique. Areas of work include developing your breath, learning how to properly engage your hands to support the focus on the breath, and increasing awareness of your body and thought processes during meditation.
- For users in distress, Pause provides an “SOS” 15-minute meditation geared towards calming people during a panic attack.
- For more advanced users, the Pause app features a Free Meditation page which supports their solo practice by providing a timer, guided breathing options, and background sound options, such as river, train, or forest sounds.
How to Subscribe
Though the Foundation series is available for free to users when they sign up, to access the other meditation series and options they have to choose between one of two auto-renewing subscription options: (1) 1 month for $13.99; or (2) 1 year for $79.99.
As a person who is still relatively new to meditation and struggles with consistency, I appreciate that Pause is designed to help users develop their practice in bite-sized chunks of a few minutes a day which build on each other. With many of the other meditation apps, I find myself taking a haphazard approach, just choosing a session that fits my mood, but not really progressing in my practice. After just several days of using the app I find myself hitting certain walls or obstacles to meditation a little less. I am definitely adding Pause to my meditation toolkit. To learn more about the Pause meditation app, click here.