Despite the growing popularity of mindfulness meditation, starting the practice as a beginner can be a challenge especially without a meditation teacher. Relying on mindfulness articles and guide does have a limitation. And learning mindfulness can be a tall order when your mind is raging with anxiety.
I came across Aware, a guided meditation app focused on mindfulness training for beginners. But what really brought me to try out the app (as I’m already familiar with mindfulness meditation) is how Aware is geared towards those who are struggling with stress and anxiety.[Note: I’m trying out this app personally and would review it based on my personal experience with mindfulness meditation. This post also contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission with no additional expense to you if you decided to subscribe to the apps upon reading my review]
Launched in 2016, Aware is intended to make meditation affordable and accessible with the support of mindfulness and meditation experts around the world. Avinash Saurabh, Founder of Aware hopes that Aware could help people to develop daily meditation habits through the right meditation teaching. Avinash’s experience stemmed from decades of meditating himself.
With over 300,000 downloads on Android and a glowing 4.7-star rating, I decided to give it a try. After all, this could be the best and affordable meditation app for beginners to get started with their mindfulness practice.
To be frank, I didn’t expect much with a FREE version of a meditation app and I didn’t get my hope up with Aware either. But I must admit I was surprised by the quality of the mindfulness
meditation foundation course. Besides that, there are a handful of valuable contents that are available with the FREE subscription as well.
These contents are FREE forever when you download and subscribe to Aware :
When you launch your Aware app, you’ll be brought to the Home screen where you can start the 21 Days mindfulness meditation foundation course before getting access to other courses.
Upon completion of the mindfulness foundation course, the following 18 meditation courses will be accessible.
Besides that, there are also single guided meditation tracks available for download on paid subscription. Each of the single meditation tracks targets a specific area in our life, such as Panic Attack, Quit Smoking, Interview and Exam. There are a 17 single meditation tracks in total.
Personally, I’m keen on trying out the anxiety mindfulness program to find out how the specific method it uses to address anxiety. (Stay tuned for my updates on this)
The Breathe is a series of unique breathing exercise that lets you calm your mind by following the instructions on the onscreen animation. Each exercise has a different set of breathing sequence where the duration of exhaling, inhaling and hold differs to produce the desired calming effect.
The app also contains a set of short meditation sessions known as Energizers (FREE), that complements the main mindfulness courses. These are the Energizers :
The development team at Aware definitely goes a long way in designing the app. There is a nice little feature that let you set the ambient sound as you meditate. My personal preference is the Forest theme, with occasional cries of monkeys amidst crickets humming transforming my living room into an imaginary jungle.
There’s also a simple timer that can be configured to gently alert you of your meditation routine. As a popular Zen saying goes “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
The best time to try out a guided meditation app is when my mind is spinning endlessly. Therefore I tried this after a long day of juggling job, cooking, housekeeping and caring my child. When there’s so much going in your mind, you’ll find that you are physically tired but your mind refuses to rest.
I was half expecting a lengthy explanation about mindfulness when I started Day 1 of the mindfulness foundation course. Instead, Aware kickstarted the course with a relaxing breathing exercise that proceeds soothing chimes of bells. The breathing exercise involves long inhale and exhale with the eye open.
Personally, I think it’s a great idea instead of starting with the meditation itself. It serves as a great transition between a raging mind to calm mindfulness practice. Beginners may find this helpful as it is usually pretty hard for the mind and body to immediately adjust to focus on awareness itself.
Mindfulness meditation involves watching our breathing and bringing back the wandering mind to the primary meditation object. It could be overwhelming for a beginner to do both in the first session. Aware clearly took this into account as the first session only focuses on breathing alone.
It’s common for the mind to wander as one meditate. If you’re attempting to meditate alone, you may find your mind wanders more than watching your breath. Aware’s narrator would occasionally nudge your focus back to breathing in a calm manner. This is can help beginners to focus more in the early stages.
The meditation session ends with shifting awareness to various parts of our body through body scan mindfulness. As I open my eyes, I feel the familiar calmness usually felt after a mindfulness meditation session. The difference being it was achieved faster with the Aware’s guided instruction.
Needless to say, I did have a good night sleep with a calmer mind.
Here are my thoughts after trying out Aware.
Personally, I believe the best way to learn meditation is through face to face session from an experienced meditation teacher. However, that is not possible for some of us. If you’re a seasoned meditation practitioner then this app may not be for you. However, I would strongly suggest to try out Aware if
Mindfulness has been a part of my life at an early age. Back then, there were no apps or internet. I’m lucky that I have access to a local mindfulness meditation teacher. I believe Aware is a great starting point for mindfulness for beginners today. Here’s the link again to get started with the FREE version of Aware.
Either way, I hope you’ll find calmness with mindfulness practice.
Have you tried Aware mindfulness meditation app? How do you get started with mindfulness practice? Do share your thoughts in the comment below.
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