Headspace is a web and mobile meditation platform that allows you to cram 10 to 60 minutes of calm and clarity into each day of your over-connected and fast-paced life. The company is releasing a new version today, after reaching over 1 million users in 150 countries. I have been a daily user of Headspace for six months now, and it’s interesting to see how technology can help when it comes to meditation.
Now, meditation is still an unfamiliar skill for most people. Do you think meditation means cross-legged sitting and chakras opening?
I am Parisian, which means that I’m completely blasé, cynical and skeptical. When one of my friends introduced me to Headspace, I couldn’t help but snigger: “another I-drink-carrot-and-ginseng-juice-every-morning Californian hipster thing.” He answered: “Well, first, the startup is based in London. Second, I think you kind of need it.”
So I forgot about my assumptions, put my cynicism away and looked into it. The on-boarding experience convinced me right away. From the first second, you’re walked through very short videos that explain how meditation works and what you should expect from it — this one sold it to me.
There’s a thousand reasons why you might want to look into meditation — maybe you need to be able to go to sleep at night, to be less stressed out in your day-to-day activities, to free yourself from an addiction and more. For me it boils down to living a happier and more mindful life.
With Headspace, you learn to do just that, by taking 10 to 60 minutes out of each day. During this time, Andy Puddicombe will guide you by simply telling you what to do, what to focus on, and what are the mechanisms in play.
Puddicombe is one of the founders of Headspace. I like to think of him as Buddha 2.0. On the one hand, he’s bald and lived 10 years as a monk in the Himalayas, Burma, India and Nepal. On the other hand, he and his co-founder Richard Pierson built a beautiful web and mobile platform to demystify meditation and make it accessible to anyone around the globe.
Puddicombe’s teaching goes beyond the 10-minute meditation sessions: all the principles you learn from him are applicable in everyday situations, and therein lies the true power of meditation.
After a week of meditation, I was already able to step back and cope with unpleasant or complex situations in a far better way, ranging from not getting upset when the suburban train is late (which happens all the time in Paris) to staying rather sane when in just one week I quit my job, gave up my Parisian apartment and flew to New York without a return flight.