Meditation is a popular way to relieve stress, and now, you can do it with virtual reality.
As someone who deals with anxiety, I find meditation eases my mind and relaxes me.
I had to check out VR Group Meditation Nights as soon as I heard about them. I never thought of combining the two together, and I wanted to experience it for myself.
When arriving at VRcadia, there were still people playing games until it was time to prepare for the meditation session. The games were action packed and required a ton of movement and while that’s different than the meditation session, it demonstrates the variety VRcadia has in their library.
As the virtual reality arcade was getting ready for the meditation, slow synth-pop instrumental music began to play. The soothing music continued throughout the meditation session and enhanced the experience.
Before stepping into a VR booth, I sipped on some chai tea and talked to the friendly staff. The tea was soothing and made me feel relaxed even before I began the meditation.
After finishing my tea, I sat on a round purple pillow set up there and was offered a blanket. It was time to get cozy and be mindful.
Collectively Calming and Meditating
There are two parts to the meditation session.
First, there’s guided meditation where you need to sit down to fully relax your body.
EvolVR, a company that blends technology and spirituality, created the group meditation event and runs them three times a week.
The meditation event takes place in a forest with several people joining you by standing on yoga mats scattered on pillars in the forest.
Daniel Kharlas, the general manager and co-owner of VRcadia, guided the meditation, which was joined by people outside of London, including New York and Wisconsin. The session started off with the participants introducing themselves by name, where they are from, and what’s on their mind.
After introductions, the meditation began with a video of a hexagon expanding and de-expanding. Seeing the animation helped me focus on my breathing, especially the length of breath.
After the video stopped and it went back to the sunset screensaver, I closed my eyes and listened to instructions of paying attention to how your body feels while navigating through it from your toes to your head.
The mediation session mellowed me out so much, I nearly fell asleep. My leg fell asleep and that would normally bother me, but it felt good to leave it alone and just let it be. Despite dealing with a sore back for a week and a half before doing VR meditation, I didn’t feel sore at all when sitting.
Trees in Space? Navigating through Nature Treks
After the guided meditation, there’s the Nature Treks component. There are several courses to choose from and explore what the universe has to offer. You can also grab orbs to change the setting by either throwing them or touching them.
All of the screenshots of the stunningly inviting environments made it difficult for me to pick one.
I picked the Turquoise Oasis first, because I feel the most relaxed nearby any body of water.
It took a while for me to find the oasis, as I climbed mountain cliffs and walked through the sandy desert, but the journey was worth seeing the lush blue waters and hippopotamuses.
Then, I selected the Black Beginning, which is basically the closest to space as I will ever get.
Orbiting around the Earth and watching shooting stars fall from the violet galaxy was therapeutic. Bringing bursting stars and tree constellations into the universe was magical. Even looking at the black holes underneath my feet felt like I could stay in space for a while.
I used to compare my anxiety to feeling lost in space, and have in my article about what I learned from therapy. However, actually being lost in space via VR was the most relaxed I’ve felt in a long time. I would’ve stayed in that world forever if I could.
Knowing there are so many worlds in Nature Treks, I’m looking forward to visiting more places.
Returning to Reality
Removing my helmet and seeing the real world felt uncanny.
Heading home to a nearby bus stop, watching cars driving, and replying to a friend’s text was surreal. It was as if the city I grew up in and its downtown area that I frequent was a whole new world.
I was floating in space a few minutes ago, after all.
I had an easier time falling asleep that night. When I woke up the next morning, I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the day. I know it’s because I tried VR Meditation.
Virtual Reality Group Meditation runs on Monday nights starting at 8:30 pm until August 26. It’s $10 cash to participate.
Make this unique and relaxing experience part of your summer plans!