Indy Yogi

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Introducing Awaken, a Totally New Kind of Meditation App

Brooklyn, NY: Guided by a who’s who of meditation teachers on the forefront of Buddhism and social change – Greg Snyder (co-founder and head teacher of the Brooklyn Zen Center), Rev. angel Kyodo williams, and Lama Rod Owens (co-authors of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation), the book that has taken the Buddhist world and Black Lives Matter movement by storm) – Awaken Meditation has launched a prototype of an iPhone app, available for download on the iOS store. The company, started by entrepreneur Ravi Mishra and artist Susan Stainman (both meditation teachers as well), is in the midst of a very successful Kickstarter campaign, offering discounted memberships to raise funds for a fully featured app for both iOS and Android.

In a time when politics is at a fevered pitch and anger is rampant, Awaken offers a surprising form of resistance: Meditation, explains Ravi Mishra. Not meditation in the way pop culture has appropriated it – as a form of escapism and stress relief – but actual mindfulness practice that brings us more completely into the moments of our lives: the fire and chaos, the peace and tranquility, and everything in between.

Awaken teaches meditation through a series of audio-guided practices, which draw from classic mindfulness philosophy and focus on contemplating real life: Work, relationships, habits, and especially culture and politics – with a focus on unearthing our inner wisdom and applying it to our lives. The app features a social media approach to mindfulness practice, ending each session with a journal prompt and a newsfeed of responses. Recent meditations have examined the following, just to name a few:

  • Gender roles and unconscious bias
  • Relationships in the context of impermanence
  • Habit formation

There are a lot of meditation apps out there – and none of them are talking about culture and politics, about undoing racism and sexism, and about the impact that all these systems have on our minds and hearts. “Awaken offers a method of meditation that examines our whole lives in the context of our society and encourages courageous vulnerability and openness,” says co-founder, Mishra.

The Kickstarter offers discounted monthly membership to the app, pledging to transition to a pay-what-you-can system when possible. There are also opportunities to engage Awaken teachers in coaching and private conversations about meditation practice. Awaken is unique in its organizational structure and approach: instead of raising venture capital and therefore needing to prioritize growth and profit, the company is incorporating as a worker owned cooperative dedicated to using mindfulness to transform our lives, culture, and world, with all profits to be invested in this mission.

About the company: Awaken is a new kind of meditation app that combines mindfulness practice, contemplation, and journaling. The approach applies Buddhist philosophy to our entire lives and employs a social networking approach to encourage community and conversation. You can learn more about all of them on their website.

About the Founders:
Ravi Mishra is launching his second company after his first was acquired in 2012. With a deep background in tech and software and decade-long passion for meditation and Buddhism, he’s excited to bring his various fields of expertise together with Awaken. While lamenting the recent US election and current state of politics, he remains hopeful that our collective future is bright and dreams about bridging the gap between social systems and mindfulness practice.

Susan Stainman is a Brooklyn based visual artist. A meditation practitioner since 2007, she teaches practices at the intersection between creativity and mindfulness. Having met Ravi at a year-long meditation teacher training at the Interdependence Project in New York City, Awaken is the extension of their friendship and interest in extending meditation and wisdom teachings to a wider audience. She is excited to help people access their inner wisdom to live more authentically and affect change in our communities and world.

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