Are you stressed out or feel that there is not enough time in the day to get all of your must do’s completed? If you can relate to this, you’ll be happy to know that you are not alone. The complexity of our lives and the roles that we play can be demanding to say the least. There is a company that provides a solution to helping both children (8+) and adults achieve better emotional balance and relaxation, improved self-control, as well as increased focus and mental sharpness. The company is called Wild Divine. Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to test out several of their software products; The Journey to Wild Divine: The Passage, Deepak Chopra’s Secrets of Meditation, and their latest offering, Mindfulness Academy. All of these programs work in conjunction with Wild Divine’s proprietary iom Active Feedback Hardware. The iom consists of three individual finger sensors that are worn on the index, middle, and ring fingers of the hand not controlling the mouse. The sensor on the middle finger measures heart rate while the other two sensors measure skin conductance. The iom connects directly via usb cable to your PC or Mac. When I used the iom, I found that the sensor pads fit comfortably and were easy to slip on and off my fingers. The feedback from the iom is used to control each of the programs by translating your physical and mental responses into visual feedback that you can alter and control while using each of the programs. Each of the programs that I tried were very different in their look and feel, however, the core of each was similar in that their main focus allowed me to use meditation along with breathing and guided relaxation to achieve a greater sense of peace, balance as well as better self-control. In addition, each program combined technology and a gaming experience with beautiful graphics and relaxing music and soothing sounds. Here is a breakdown of each of the programs that I tried.
The Journey to Wild Divine: The Passage has a very Eastern philosophical feel to it. As you begin the program, you move through enchanting and mystical landscapes with beautiful graphics while wise mentors guide you through a variety of breathing and meditation skills. As you explore the different three-dimensional environments, there are over 40 different events to keep your experience ever changing. Many of the events are divided between energy events and heart events. The energy events allow you to practice raising and lowering your energy levels by increasing your excitement or becoming calm and meditative. The heart events allow you to engage in controlled breathing practice. You can choose between two different modes: Guided Activity Mode, where you can individually select various biofeedback events or you can participate in The Passage, which is the full journey mode. Throughout my interactive travels I was able to open doors with meditation, use my laughter to juggle balls, and build stairways using only my breath. It was possible to continually check my whereabouts on the map by pressing the ‘m’ key, except during events. I was able to progress through the program based solely on my thoughts, feelings and breathing. While you are interacting with the software you are also concurrently improving your mind body connection. The program is adjustable and will grow with you as you can change the difficulty of the biofeedback activities on the systems page of the program. There you can choose between beginner, apprentice or master biofeedback levels. The pace of The Passage was very slow and relaxing. For some, this pace will be very comfortable, for others the flow of the program may move too slowly. On a technical front, my installation went smoothly; however, please note that while this software is compatible with your PC using XP, Vista or 7, it is also compatible with Mac OSX Leopard (not Lion).
Deepak Chopra’s Secrets of Meditation offers the unique opportunity to be coached and guided through a series of meditation experiences offered with soothing sounds in the beautifully stunning Wild Divine virtual environment led by Deepak, himself. In this immersive program, you will discover how to meditate and improve your overall ability to get into deeper meditative states more quickly due to the instant feedback received from the iom device. Throughout the program, there is a built in graphic of a blue butterfly that has an adjustable speed that aids as a breathing cue to assist you in timing your inhalation and exhalation that I found to be extremely useful. There have been times over this past when while not using the software I had the image of the blue butterfly’s wings expanding and collapsing and found that it was a great reminder to be aware of by breath.
The program is divided into Guided Practice and Self Exploration sections. Both sections feature exercises that teach you how to relax and more fully enjoy the benefits of improved meditation. In the Guided Practice, you follow 10 different steps that include:
1. The Meditative Mind
2. Re-patterning The Brain
3. Focus On The Present
5. Clearing Obstacles
6. Awareness of True Self
7. Setting Intentions
8. Self Transformation
9. Connect With Others
10. Commitment To Daily Practice
Perhaps you are interested in practicing a particular skill, the Self-Exploration mode allows you to select a category and then choose a particular lesson to focus on. The 4 topics to choose from are:
The overall program contains 10 active feedback practice events, 20 guided practices featuring Deepak Chopra, and 10 inspirations also led by Deepak. The software also has a built in journal to allow you to track your progress, thoughts or goals. The interface of the program was user friendly and easy to operate. I also really liked the fact that you could choose to spend a great deal of time or mere minutes within an activity or lesson and receive instant noticeable benefits. This software is compatible with Mac OSX Lion as well as your PC using XP, Vista or 7.
The latest offering from Wild Divine is Mindfulness Academy. Given my busy schedule and hectic life this was by far my favorite program as it drilled down to the basics quickly and had a clean looking design that was simple to use. It is designed to look like a day planner, something that I use every day, so perhaps that is why I felt so comfortable with it. The areas of this program are divided into the 6 steps for balanced living. These steps are:
1. Lifestyle Goals: Define Success
2. Affirmation Balloons: A Positive Mindset
3. Balance: Balance Your Life
4. Wellness Meter: Recover & Recharge
5. Everyday Mindfulness: Cultivate Mindfulness
6. Reaching Success: Achieve Success
I also really liked the ability to customize each session’s difficulty level. The session settings tab also allows the user to set the breathing cue, background music, and voiceover controls. In addition, you can visually verify that the iom device is working properly with regards to receiving energy and heat sensor input. You can also create your own customized affirmations that will enable you to pinpoint exactly what you want out of life and what you give to others. In addition, you can also adjust your own personal breathing cycle so that you get the best results possible. If you are new to meditation, this software is ideal. It truly allows the user to gain better awareness and control over your emotions, breathing, and overall concentration. This software is compatible with Mac OSX Lion as well as your PC using XP, Vista or 7.
If you are curious about meditation or are looking for a way to improve stress control or increase your overall life balance toolbox, Wild Divine has a program tailor made for you. You can learn more about Wild Divine here. (Review written by Meredith Fire-Hess)