Instagram and meditationare two words you would probably never expect to see in the same sentence, let alone paired together in a ‘wellness’ boosting capacity. Sure, meditation teachers are no strangers to social media, often sharing their advice, services and brand offerings via the platform, but until now Instagram as a meditation-only platform has never been a thing. But that’s exactly what Sydney-based meditation teacher Luke McLeod is offering with his new Soul Alive live-streamed meditation platform.
An offering that allows you to be guided through live meditations with facilitators all while kicking back on the couch/floor/in bed and being kept accountable via the ‘joined the chat’ function, Soul Alive, is a whole new ball game, set to bring meditation to the wider millennial market. While it may be considered controversial or unexpected perhaps, with the meditation lifestyle often said to be anti-technology (or at least encouraging of regular social media and digital detox breaks), according to Luke McLeod (a meditator of ten years), it’s likely the way of the future and essentially just cuts down the amount of apps you need!
“The inspiration behind Soul Alive was wanting to introduce meditation to as many people as possible that was easy, accessible and affordable – because no one wants to download another app,” says McLeod.
“Plus there are some big hitters with huge budgets behind them in the meditation app space, so it made sense to me to go where people already spend a lot of their time – Instagram – and leverage that.” With this in mind, Amodrn spoke more with McLeod to get the scope on how it works exactly, the benefits of a regular practise and why it’s the way forward in meditation.
Firstly, why choose to launch an Instagram only guided meditation service?
“While there is a lot of controversy surrounding social media and the effects it can have on mental health, I chose Instagram because I believe we can use the platform to champion for change,” explains McLeod. “Plus, it’s where we already spend a lot of our time anyway, so, by having it on private it has enabled the opportunity to set up a wonderful community of like-minded people who can feel safe in that space and avoid some of the nasty effects of social media.”
Talk us through how an Instagram live guided meditation session works?
“Unlike online meditation services that are pre-recorded, every meditation session is live (there’s always a teacher there), yet you still have the perks of not having to go anywhere (like a studio) to participate as it’s delivered via Instagram.”
How do you get access to the Instagram live meditations if its subscription based?
“The subscriptions are hosted through the website Soul Alive which allow someone access to a private Instagram account (@soulalive_au which is then unlocked for them). So the subscription component isn’t part of Instagram, rather through the website,” explains McLeod. “To register you simply head to the normal website and then I set up an API to a private Instagram account that will add you once you’ve registered.” “The first week is just $1 and from then on it’s just $7 per week for live-streamed guided meditations with an experienced teacher, all from the comfort of your own home,” says McLeod.
What are the benefits or perks of opting for a Instagram live meditation over an app?
It keeps you accountable: “It increases your level of accountability as you know you’re going to have a teacher there (just like showing up and doing a fitness session with a PT) as it will show you up as either being live or having watched the session.”
It’s not time boxed to a set hour: “One of the great features of Instagram is that if you can’t make the specific class time it’s still saved on the account for 24hrs after so you can still do the session after the original class time for the next 24hrs.”
It’s versatile: “No matter what your current lifestyle is or the time zone, you can participate in the session from anywhere—at home, in the park, whilst traveling etc —all you need is your phone,” says McLeod.
It’s interactive:“There’s also a great community element to doing it live as people can comment, sharing their thoughts/feedback in live time about their meditation journey so you feel quite supported too.”
Lastly, for those not yet converted to meditation, what are the main benefits of starting a regular meditation practise?
It boosts productivity: “The original reason I tried it actually had nothing to do with spirituality or ‘finding myself’ and was actually was based on reading an article that found those that meditated were more successful in their working life including Steve Jobs (who was someone I looked up to),” says McLeod. “I gave it a go and found it did help me out with my focus and productivity and even had colleagues comment on how calm I was.”
It supports your overall wellbeing: “I’d say the biggest thing is that it’s helped me be a better person – I genuinely feel more happy, content, grateful and driven,” says McLeod. “It’s not to say that bad things don’t happen but it just doesn’t affect me as much as it did before, it truly is one of life’s magical tricks for living a fulfilling life.”
It improves focus and promotes flow state: “Once I started meditating, I began to notice the difference in how long I was able to focus on one particular task/project. I didn’t feel that unconscious urge to look at my phone or move onto another task as quickly as on days when I didn’t meditate,” says McLeod. “This also often referred to as being ‘in flow’.”
It decreases procrastination:“From my experience, I began to question myself less about whether I was doing was the right thing and then as my certainty strengthened and I developed more internal confidence, I started to get more done.”
It keeps you cool, calm and collected: “Through regular meditation practise, you begin to not worry as much. While I would have never classified myself as a worrier, I found I became less concerned about things that a lot of people do worry about – like making enough money,” says McLeod. “I also began to notice I wasn’t getting as frustrated in moments of pressure. For example, in work meetings where there might of a tense situation or problem I was able to deal with the matter in a more calm manner.”