March Mindfulness is our new series that examines the explosive growth in mindfulness and meditation technology — culminating in Mashable’s groundbreaking meditation bracket contest. Because March shouldn’t be all madness.
Around 10 minutes before noon — the busiest part of my day — I get a notification from the same app telling me it’s time to meditate. I dismiss it, only to see another annoying reminder 5 minutes later. Finally, at noon, I usually give in and start the meditation — because it’s the only chance I’ll have to do so.
That’s because the app in question, Tap In, is entirely dedicated to one live 10-minute guided meditation every weekday. You’re either in or you’re out. Think HQ Trivia, but for midday chill-out sessions.
At a time when companies like Calm are achieving unicorn status by building out overwhelmingly vast libraries of guided meditations you can access for a monthly fee, Tap In’s one option is a refreshing, if rough, antidote. The idea is simple: tune in at 12 p.m. PT Monday through Friday for a single, 10-minute live, guided meditation session.
It’s just you, the meditation teacher, and hundreds of other anonymous calm-seekers listening silently along.
I’m very much a novice when it comes to meditation. I’ve heard a lot about how making it a regular habit can be beneficial, though it hasn’t always been especially clear to me what those benefits are. I’ve often thought that I should try an app like Headspace or Calm, but I’m put off by the steep subscription costs (there’s a reason why meditation apps have become a billion-dollar business).
So I was immediately intrigued by the idea of Tap In, the creation of Brooklyn-based digital studio Fictive Kin. Tap In began as a side project for a couple colleagues who were hoping to share the things they’d learned in their own meditation habits, says Fictive Kin partner Cameron Koczon.
With Tap In, refreshingly, there’s no need to sign up. There are no ads or in-app subscriptions — just a bunch of soothing, swirling bubbles. When you join, you can see how many others are also “tapped in,” though you can’t hear them.
You can opt to watch the bubbles, or swipe one screen over for precise breathing guidance. At the end, you can swipe up on your screen as a gesture of gratitude for your teacher.
“It’s almost like if your local meditation studio just started opening up to more people and really wanted to encourage a sense of community around it,” Koczon says. “We give this away … we think it’s a nice thing to offer the world.”
The actual sessions can be an interesting window into different meditation practices. Some are more focused on relaxation and guided breathing, while others lean more heavily into what my colleague Chris Taylor would describe as the “woo-woo” element embraced by New Age meditation enthusiasts.
One of my first sessions in Tap In was led by a self-described “Reiki Practitioner” who instructed us to “draw breath from the core of the Earth.”
At one point her commentary tipped so far into woo-woo land that I had to stop to write it all down: “With today’s full moon, we’re reminded of the need to let go when we become full. With this full moon we’re invited to release so we can create space to manifest anew.”
For the most part, however, the sessions proved a humbling reminder that I need more practice at this. As much as I tapped in, attempting to clear my head for just ten minutes in the middle of the workday was pretty challenging.
The fact that meditation sessions are live streamed made “tapping in” more challenging at times. While you mostly hear the soothing tones of your meditation teacher for the day, you also hear when they breathe too close to their mic or take a sip of water.
Sometimes there are long periods of silence that make you start to wonder if the teacher is having technical difficulties (nope, just intentional, contemplative silence). At the end of one session, I swore I heard what sounded like the chirps of a large pet bird.
Koczon says the sessions are meant to be both raw and brief. “I think a lot of apps might want your time, and they might want as much of your time as possible,” he says. “We really want ten minutes, and we’re just giving that right back to you.”
Which is a gift that may be worth tapping into.