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As an avid yoga practitioner and teacher, I am, of course, familiar with the legendary Deepak Chopra. I have listened to his Chakra Balancing: Body, Mind and SoulChakra Balancing: Body, Mind and Soul album many times, and have read Radical BeautyRadical Beauty, a book he co-authored with plant-based nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. I wouldn’t call myself a Chopra-devotee, but I’m interested in what he has to say. So when Fitbit gave me the chance to attend a Zoom meditation led by Chopra, I jumped at the chance.
The event was meant to hype up Chopra’s new Mindful Method content series launching Tuesday as part of Fitbit Premium.
During the roughly 17-minute session, Chopra took us through various types of meditation, including breath awareness, reflective inquiry, and transcendence to give us a taste of the different methods. To start, Chopra had us observe our breath, a technique he called “the original mindfulness method.” Thanks to his calming voice, I almost immediately felt more relaxed.
“Just observing the breath, it begins to slow down,” he said. “Your breath mirrors the movement of mind, of thought, of emotions. But when you observe it, then it spontaneously begins to settle down—both the breath and the activity of the mind.”
Using Fitbit Premium to Meditate With Chopra
If you’re a Fitbit Premium member, you can now zen out with Chopra, too. His new Mindful Method collection has 10 exclusive audio and video sessions, including guided meditations to help you wind down before bed and relieve stress at any time. Head over to the Discover tab in the Fitbit app to check them out. Each session is less than 20 minutes.
Over the coming months, Fitbit plans to expand the Mindful Method collection to include more than 30 Chopra-led sessions covering topics such as how to start the morning on a positive note, how to deal with a stressful workday, and how to reset a bad mood.
Fitbit Premium costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year after a 90-day free trial. The service also offers personalized wellness reports, guided workout programs, and more.
It Really Works (and You Can Measure It)
Technology is enabling a new era of mindfulness, according to Chopra. The meditation icon said he’s excited about new stress-tracking wearables that can show zen-seekers how interventions such as breathwork and mindfulness impact their body.
“The great advantage now is, everything is measurable,” Chopra said.
Case in point: After the first two minutes of guided meditation with Chopra, my heart rate decreased from 63 to 57 beats per minute, according to a measurement taken with Fitbit’s Sense smartwatch.
You don’t necessarily need a smartwatch to know you feel calmer after a guided meditation. But to Chopra’s point, wearables such as the Sense, which features an EDA Scan app that measures small electrical changes in your skin’s sweat level to track your body’s response to stress, can help you quantify the benefits of meditation sessions. This data might motivate you to make meditation a regular practice.
The Sense isn’t the only device that can help you track and manage your stress. These days, even basic, affordable fitness trackers offer guided breathing exercises. A growing number of wearables, including the Oura Ring and the Garmin Lily, go a step further, using a metric called heart rate variability, or the natural variation in time that occurs between each heartbeat, to measure your stress level. Meanwhile, the Core, a handheld meditation aid, uses vibrations to help guide your breathing as sensors measure your mindfulness and its companion app tracks your progress.
But for the sake of your health, it’s important to ditch all your devices every now and then, according to Chopra, who has studied the mind-body connection for more than 40 years. He recommends completely disconnecting from the internet for at least a few minutes a day. That means removing your smartwatch (or enabling its Do Not Disturb feature), putting down your phone, and stepping away from email and Slack. For a more energetic, joyful body and mind, Chopra recommends scheduling time for things like using technology, working on your relationships, eating, and sleeping.
“Multitasking is the one thing that gets worse with practice,” he said.
For more ways to use technology to improve your body and mind, check out our ultimate guide to health and fitness tech. Just remember to disconnect every once in a while.
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