Breath is life. It’s what keeps us energized throughout our day and stabilizes us when we’re under pressure. Breath and oxygen are the mechanisms that power our muscles to do another rep in the gym and gives our bodies the strength to spend hours in VR. It’s also the system that can set us back with low energy, anxiety, and weakened muscles if we’re not getting enough of it.
WiseMind by Realiteer is a Vive, Oculus, Android, and iOS compatible meditation app that will nourish the heart and mind. The app has breathing exercises and has some really fun, cathartic, and music-driven Tai-Chi and rock stacking activities. Its YouTube feature allows users to search and add music videos like Marconi Union’s Weightless (the #1 most relaxing song of all time, according to science) or any other songs for specific exercises.
We know that meditation is so good for our minds and bodies that it can help reduce stress and anxiety, builds up immunity, helps us cope with depression, and will even protect our muscles. Muscle Hack studied research on the effects of meditation and reported that it lowered cortisol levels and boosted growth hormones that help with muscle gain. Great news for bodybuilders and people who are working on their fitness.
Before sitting down to go into WiseMind I thought that I’d jump into an active game like Beat Saber to get my exercise in for the day, but also to heighten my energy state. I really wanted to know if it would calm me down, as I’m super hyped up after a workout. I spent 30 minutes playing Beat Saber and then immediately went into the meditation app.
To access WiseMind, I had to make an account with a username and password. I thought I’d be able to just jump in and start using it, which was a minor hiccup for the app because I really wanted to get into it without having to remember another password. If you’re like me you’ve probably got dozens. Aside from that, the setup is straightforward.
Once you’ve made it to the menu screen there’ll be 5 different options to jump into. There’s an Intro to Mindfulness that’s 2 minutes long (sitting or standing), there’s a Tai-Chi Challenge that’s 5 to 10 minutes (standing), a Balancing Freestyle (endless) to stack rocks peacefully, a Balancing Challenge with stages that go for 5 minutes (standing), and a Breathing exercise that lasts 5 to 30 minutes (sitting and standing).
An interesting thing to note about WiseMind is that there’s a point system and a level system. Initially, I thought to myself: Why would I need to keep score for meditation or Tai-Chi? It’s not a race, in fact, it’s the opposite of competition. Then I tried the exercises and went: Ohhh that’s why. Like other score systems for VR, it keeps us coming back for more, which I totally did.
I give WiseMind a relaxation score of 10 out of 10 for doing an amazing job at lowering my body’s energy after a workout. My mind wasn’t racing, thinking about work or life, and I actually teared up a bit during the rock Balancing Freestyle activity. Must have been that music video I put on in the background by IZ called “Over the Rainbow”. IZ was a guy could hit a powerfully emotional chord with just his voice and a ukelele (R.I.P.). Try the music video customization out, it’s so cathartic with the right music.
When I went into the Breathing exercise there were options for me to pick casual breathing like how I’d do naturally or longer breathing patterns. I picked the longer breathing pattern, which helps with sending the body into a relaxation state and then began the exercise. You can see the simulated breath it has which is cool and there are options like being on a mountain, at a lake, in the Arctic, or in Hawaii. I picked to be on top of a mountaintop overlooking a canyon.
The experience walked me step-by-step on how to breathe mindfully and talked me through a body relaxation technique. It lasted for 2 minutes but I felt like it could have been longer and more drawn out focusing on each part of the body instead of kind of rushing through it. When you exit any exercise, even if you exit before it’s over, you still get points.
Time Perception 8/10
The Tai-Chi Challenge did the next best job at distracting me even with a timer because I put on an upbeat music video in the background and had a fun time swaying through the black and white orb trails with my hands/controllers. I got some long connection streaks in and played it a few times with different music videos. I totally see how my body got carried away by Tai-Chi and made for a great cool down post-VR workout.
All the other exercises, for me, were effective for soothing my body and mind, but the timers kind of drew me a little out of it. The Intro to Mindfulness and the Breathing exercises distracted me the most, which was unexpected.
WiseMind is a meditation and mindfulness, Tai-Chi, and rock stacking app that is worth revisiting any time you need to decompress or cool down after a long day or workout. The level up system is inspiring in itself. How can a level up system be inspiring? With every level you move up, a screen with earned inspirational quotes or sayings will appear.
My favorite: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. — Lao Tzu”.
Fitness Scalability 10/10
Tense muscles and a negative or chatty headspace can really impact our bodies for the worse. Bad days can throw us off our game and can sometimes prevent us from exercising and interacting with family, friends, and society in a positive way. WiseMind is a VR app that will set every one of us on a better mental path than we came in with and will loosen tightened muscles with the flow of Tai-Chi movement. That, to me, is where true mental and physical fitness begins.
Social Aspect 10/10
WiseMind is a single player experience, but has already had a major effect in treating “hundreds of patients with chronic pain and is developing more treatments for autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, eating disorders, general anxiety, and depression” with Embodiment Therapy, according to a statement by Fangwei Lee, founder, and CEO of Realiteer, in a 2017 article from Forbes.
VRFI Fit Mind Score 9.4/10
- The YouTube integration allows music, meditation, white noise, or whatever you want to be played in the background of select exercises.
- Stacking rocks is more fun and mentally challenging than I thought it’d be.
- If you’re looking to release body tension, anxiety, sadness, or even express joy and excitement in life, WiseMind is the app to do just that.
- Having to create a username and password for an app I got on Steam was a minor annoyance.
- The guided talking during mindfulness training was distracting and could have lasted longer if the guide focused on progressively relaxing the left and right side equally instead of rushing through it.
- To advance on to the next rock stacking level, am I to reach the height of the beam that’s there? More information about this is needed.