Mind, Body, Soul

Using The Apple Watch Breath App For A Mindful Meditation

Apple offers an oasis of calm that can help us slow down this frenetic pace and do some quick meditations. The Apple Watch Breathe app draws on the ancient wisdom of Buddhist monks and yogis who practice a technique called “resonant breathing.”

With clever visuals and smart features, it will guide you through this time-honored method for relaxing your body and clearing your mind; which is great for a Feng Shui lifestyle. It’s a surprisingly subtle and relaxing experience that you might really enjoy.

What Are The Benefits Of Deep Breathing?

Apple VP of Health and Fitness Jay Blahnik introduced the Breathe app by reading a quote from alternative health advocate Deepak Chopra, who claims that “taking a moment every day to do some deep breathing can reduce stress levels, calm the body-mind as well as having long-term health benefits.”

Heart Rate Variability: Measuring The Benefits Of Resonant Breathing

When you use the Breathe app, your Apple Watch monitors your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and logs it in the Health app on your iPhone.

When you feel stressed, your heart rate tends to become more regular. So, generally speaking, higher HRV indicates a lower level of stress and visa versa.

By tracking the changes in this metric over time, you can see if the Breathe app is helping you. There is some scientific evidence to suggest that it might.

Setting The Duration

When you launch the app, you’re presented with large text that says 1 MIN by default. This is the duration of your breathing session, and you can change it by scrolling the Digital Crown. One minute is not very long. If you like using the app, you may want to increase the default duration.

To do so, in the Watch app on your iPhone, go to My Watch > Breathe and turn on Use Previous Duration.

The Breathe app allows a maximum duration of five minutes, but you might want to consider longer sessions than this.

You can do multiple sessions per day with Apple’s Breathe app.

During Your Breathing Session

Apple presents a beautiful green kaleidoscope effect as a visual indicator to show you when to breathe. It looks a bit like the petals of a lotus flower opening and closing.

When you tap the Start button, the kaleidoscope image shrinks to a single green dot as the device waits for you to settle down. You can sit or lie in any position you like, as long as you can stay still in that position for the entire session.

The accelerometer in your wrist will detect any excessive movement, and immediately end your session without logging it. So it’s a good idea to rest your wrist in your lap, where you can keep it still while seeing it easily.

Once you get settled, the kaleidoscope begins to animate, expanding and contracting. You breathe in when it expands and breathe out when it contracts.

I like to close my eyes during a breathing session, which means I can’t see the kaleidoscope. Fortunately, Apple Watch also gives you a series of gentle haptic taps on the wrist to let you know when to breathe in.

You can adjust these haptic taps in the Watch app on your iPhone to make them more prominent if you can’t feel them. Or you can turn them off altogether if you find them distracting.

Remember, resonant breathing is a form of meditation, so avoid any distractions. It’s a good idea to find a quiet space for your session. Apple helps you concentrate by muting your notifications while you use the Breathe app. If you do answer a phone call, the Breathe app will cancel your session automatically.

If you notice that your mind is wandering during a session, bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing on your breath.

Finishing Your Breathing Session

To let you know when you’ve finished, your Watch gives you a double tap on the wrist and the screen says “Well done.” Then you get a summary screen showing the number of minutes you’ve used the Breathe app today, and your average heart rate during the last session.

For a more detailed view, check the Health App on your iPhone. Go to Health Data > Mindfulness > Mindful Minutes to get a chart of how much breathing you have been doing in the past day, week, month or year.

To see the heart rate and HRV readings taken while you use the Breathe app, go to Health Data > Heart. You might notice that Apple Watch logs your HRV when you use the Workout app as well as the Breathe app.

When To Breathe

To get the full benefit of resonant breathing, its recommended that you do it daily.

Apple’s Breathe app lets you schedule reminders between one and 10 times a day. The timing of these notifications is pretty smart — your Apple Watch waits until you have a quiet moment (when your wrist is not moving) before suggesting you begin a session.

It’s not just for regular daily sessions, either. If, like me, you suffer from the occasional anxiety attack, you might find it helps to use the Breathe app to calm down when you are feeling particularly stressed.

If you find yourself under a lot of pressure, and feel your stress levels constantly rising, why not give the Breathe app a try? It only takes a couple of minutes, and it could turn out to be the most important thing you do all day.

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Categories: Mind, Body, Soul

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