I have those same aspirations that every anxious mess does; peace, serenity, the ability to just sit still and truly clear my mind.
Yet, the idea of meditation has always eluded me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried it. A lot. I’ll sit down in a quiet dark room, cross my legs, even “Ommm.” Yet, without fail, my mind wanders. I often feel like I am too scatterbrained to discipline myself and ground into the present moment. I’ve gotten so frustrated with myself that I’ve actually begun to dismiss meditation; “It’s just not for me. I just can’t do it!”.
This was until one Christmas when I received the Core Meditation Trainer. The device is a round ball with an angled flat top and a wooden bottom half. It fits within your two cupped hands, and there are two spaces to put each thumb on top of it.
The big draw of this device for me was that it was different from anything I’d tried before- this idea of grounding something as elusive as meditation in a physical object.
What surprised me about the Core was its use of heart sensors. Those silver dots? Electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors. These sensors actually record the pathway of electrical impulses through the heart muscle. To put it simply, the Core can monitor your heartbeat. Through heart rate variability (HRV), Core is able to measure your level of focus and calm based on the speed and pace of your heartbeat.
The most game-changing feature of the Core is its vibration. Core comes with a companion app through which you can find meditations, soundscapes, and breathing exercises. Each one comes with synced vibrations that help ignite your sense of touch and give you something to focus on. For me, this was a really cool discovery. I quickly found that the vibrating sensations in my hand really helped ground my thoughts. Depending on the type of session, the vibrations will serve as a reminder to keep your attention focused or guide you in breath technique training.
Being that the biggest key to meditation is the breath, learning to control it is important yet surprisingly difficult.
I myself have had trouble maintaining it, and it really does take practice. The Core immediately helped me practice, using the vibrations to match the timing and flow of various breathing techniques. The Core can be really helpful to guide and support anyone trying to develop a consistent meditation habit. After each meditation, Core even displays feedback through the app, so you can see how you compared to your personalized baseline and view your progress over time.
Now, I will warn you upfront that the price is a bit steep. The Core comes at a starting price of $149, although you can finance it at $13 a month for 12 months. There is an option for a premium subscription (about $70/year) that offers access to more meditations within the app as well. You can find it here.
The Core did help me. I think it’s a really cool device (and no, this isn’t sponsored), but by no means does meditation have to cost a dime! There are many ways you can improve your meditation experience with little to no money. There are many free meditation apps out there, though most apps do offer in-app purchases for subscriptions.
Here are a few that I’ve tried along with The Core, though none of them have the same hands-on benefits.
Impressive meditation catalog, guided stretching, sleep stories
Houses more than 45k free meditations
Breathing exercises, sleep meditations, and wind-down practices
- BONUS – Down Dog
Convenient yoga app that has 60,000 configurations, great for beginners too
All in all, adding meditation to your routine trains your brain, builds resistance against daily stressors that impact your mental and physical health, and provides a slew of other benefits. So try it, and try and try again if you have to!