Meditation: The Heart Math Inner Balance Trainer

Meditation With the Inner Balance Trainer

Meditation just got a lot easier with the Inner Balance Trainer from Heart Math.  For most people new to meditation, concentrating on breathing is one of the more difficult aspects.  We may be successful initially but our minds tend to eventually wander and we forget to concentrate on our breathing.  This device interfaces between your iPhone or iPad and you to create a sort of biofeedback loop.  You focus on your breathing as you watch an orb on your screen contract and expand.  What you are striving for is what Heart Math calls high coherence, the rhythmic interval between heart beats.  Correspondingly, there are two other levels of coherence, medium and low.  The idea is the more relaxed you are the higher the coherence, or consistency of intervals between heart beats.  Likewise, the more stressed you are, the less consistent the intervals between heart beats, and the lower the coherence.  The graphical user interface provides you with a real-time update of your coherence levels, so you can see your progress.    In short, the Inner Balance Trainer helps the user to remember to concentrate on breathing, which really helps in zoning out the other random, sometimes stressful thoughts that enter our minds as we try to meditate..

When I first started learning how to meditate, I was one confused newbie.  Do I really just sit there, with my muscles relaxed as much as possible, and concentrate on my breathing in an effort to practice being mindful of my thoughts?  (Yes, I know.  I just gave you a definition of meditation.)  Surely, I must be doing more than this.  Perhaps I should be balance on one foot while stretching for the ceiling (I know.  I know.  I just described Yoga.)

Eventually, my mind would either drift off onto other thoughts, and I would forget about breathing completely.  Or worse, I would just fall asleep!  Inner Balance is very useful for this reason.

Getting Started With the Inner Balance

Hearth Math Inner Balance Trainer

To start, simply connect the clip end onto your ear lobe and the data connection end to your iPhone or iPad.  The clip applies very light pressure to your lobe, and you will barely notice it there.

Hearth Math Inner Balance Trainer Connected to Ear Lob

Ear lobe piece

Now, start the Inner Balance app and select your current mood.  I was in a somewhat happy mood, so I choose this face (circled).

Heart Math Inner Balance Trainer

The next screen shown is where you actual session starts.  You will notice that the colorful orb grows and contracts, so you follow with your breathing accordingly, exhaling and inhaling.  As usual, do the following:

  • Relax.  Relax.  Relax.  As you settle into your meditation routine, but before starting the Heart Math session, consciously make an effort to relax every fiber of muscle in your body.  Think about relaxing your frowning muscles in your face.  Your jaw.  Your neck.  Shoulders.  Arms.  Hands.  Upper back.  Lower back.  Glutes.  Upper thighs.  Lower legs.  Feet.  Toes.  Concentrate on relaxing those muscles.  A lot of our pain comes from misuse of our body, from subconsciously tensing muscles that should otherwise be relaxed.  While you are consciously relaxing your muscles, be sure to take deep breaths as if you are meditating, because, well, you are.
  • Now, start the session and follow the orb, exhaling and inhaling as it shrinks and grows.

Concentrating on the orb helps you to remember your breathing!  As you progress in your meditation, you will notice the bars around the orb fill in with either green (high coherence), blue (medium coherence), or red (low coherence).

Heart Match Session Screen 1

In my case, I was mostly in the green, which is a good place to be!  You can also choose from a variety of other session screens, including a picture of a waterfall.

Heart Match Session Screen 2  Heart Match Session Screen 3  Heart Match Session Screen 1  Heart Match Session Screen 5

You may spend as much time as you want meditating, or just a few minutes.  I usually set myself a limit, say 5 minutes.  If I find myself reaching high coherence (green) the majority of the time, then I stop after 5 minutes.  If I find myself within, say 75% of high coherence, then I keep meditating until I reach a greater percentage of high coherence.  I want to leave the meditation feeling relaxed!  How long you want to go is really up to you.  When you are finished, double tab the screen to end the session.  You will once again be presented with the faces screen, which represents how you are feeling now.

Heart Math Inner Balance Trainer

Inner Balance by HeartMath

Heart Math Review Screen

A summary of your latest session

The screen to the left is the session review screen.  In my case, I had one instance of low coherence, 11 instances of medium coherence, and 88 instances of high coherence.










Final Impressions

The Inner Balance Trainer is a highly recommended product, especially if you are new to meditating.  Its compact size, basically like a pair of wired ear buds, means you are more likely to carry it anywhere you go.  Feeling stressed out at school or at work ?  Find a quiet place and meditate your way to relaxation.  One down side of the Inner Balance product is that it will only work with iOS devices.  If you have an Android device, then you are out of luck.

It helps you to remember to concentrate on your breathing, instead of letting your mind wander to random thoughts that may be harmful and stressful to your mind and body, helping you reach a state of relaxation quickly.  You will also notice with use that you may be fairly liberal in following the orb as it grows and shrinks.  In other words, it has no effect on your coherence level, as the only thing it actually measures is the blood flowing through your ear lobe for an interval between heart beats.

When I got it, I had already been meditating for about a year.  Granted during that year, I would unintentionally let my mind wander or fall asleep more times than I care to admit.  It took me a long time to learn how to relax and sink into a deep meditative state.  The first barrier I crossed was when I was able to “disconnect” my mind from my body, no longer able to feel the chronic back and leg pains I was experiencing.  When I finally came onto the Inner Balance Trainer, I was reaching high coherence fairly quickly.  If you are new to meditation, I highly suggest getting this product, as it will definitely help you to learn how to meditate quickly.  When you finally figure it out, then you can fly solo.  If you have been meditating for while, then you will probably want to forego getting this product, as you will find little improvements to your already advanced level of meditation.

Note: Heart Math has not sponsored me to write a testimonial to endorse their products.  I endorse and recommend this product because I use it and enjoy it!

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