June 18, 2019

Can an App Make You More Mindful?

“Ten miles south of San Francisco, tucked behind the moody blue Bay, lies a small slice of heaven for Silicon Valley workers: Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa. Located across the street from sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay in the heart of Sausalito, its Wellness rooms allow customers to “nourish,” in the establishment’s words, their minds and bodies in a very technological way. Each room is stocked with a meditation headband that tracks your brain waves while meditating, a virtual trainer to lead you on a run, among other technological, and holistic amenities, such as essential oils to promote relaxation.

I first read about Casa Madrona in a travel magazine where it was touted as a place to disconnect, escape the grind of San Francisco, but with technology’s assistance. It seemed like a very counterproductive way to market a wellness experience. It also seemed like more proof that technology, wellness — including the mindfulness movement — were becoming more intertwined. Apps that focus on self-care, which range from fitness apps to meditation apps to sleep tracking, are both booming in popularity with both consumers and investors, but they seem to contradict what we seek to obtain from taking better care of ourselves, which is mostly less stress, healthier bodies and calmer minds .

I arrived at Casa Madrona on a Friday afternoon skeptical, but with an open mind. Monica Cruz Hernandez, the property’s Social Media Manager, showed me around the hotel which had different levels of open-air communal areas and patios. I asked if Silicon Valley workers were frequent customers. She said yes, and that company-sponsored working wellness retreats are very popular. She added that executives seeking increased productivity enjoy taking meditation or fitness breaks before or after meetings.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"At 12:42 a.m. on the quiet, moonlit night of March 8, 2014, a Boeing 777-200ER operated by Malaysia Airlines took off from Kuala Lumpur and turned toward Beijing, climbing to its assigned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. The designator for..."

"“I hereby sentence you to death.” The words of Judge Clifford B. Shepard filled the courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct. 27, 1976. Shepard was sentencing Clifford Williams Jr., whom a jury had just found guilty of entering a woman’s house..."

"The video footage of Jewish Israelis dancing with Palestinians at a wedding should be something to celebrate. It should be an expression of joy and joint faith in the future. Instead, it has brought danger and disgrace to Radi Nasser, the mayor..."

"In 2013, I was executive editor of the NY Daily News, and we, like every other publication in the country, were covering the series finale of Breaking Bad. As one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows in history, the finale was..."

"Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tells us that wealth inequality is at grotesque and immoral levels. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has a plan to tax everyone lots and lots to solve this. The slight problem is that the Federal Reserve tells us that..."

"For much of World War I, Sir Phillip Gibbs was one of the few journalists the British War Office permitted to correspond from the Western Front. Gibbs’s mission was to describe, in terms that would be acceptable to government censors, the..."

"In the 1940s, sexologist Alfred Kinsey, who was on the verge of publishing his first major report on male sexuality in the US, enlisted a photographer named Thomas Painter to investigate gay subcultures. Painter, a white, openly gay man, had..."

"What was Postmodernism? In the 35 years since Fredric Jameson’s New Left Review essay “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” — and the 40 years since the publication of Jean-François Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition..."

"My husband and I are proud fathers of a 5-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy. I was grocery shopping with them last week when I saw a sign that made me cringe. Attached to a basket of free fruit, the sign reminded kids to “Ask Mom” before taking a..."

"Family farms are central to our nation’s identity. Most Americans, even those who have never been on a farm, have strong feelings about the idea of family farms — so much that they’re the one thing that all U.S. politicians agree on. Each..."

"The Big Bang is the defining narrative of modern cosmology: a bold declaration that our universe had a beginning and has a finite age, just like the humans who live within it. That finite age, in turn, is defined by the evidence that universe is..."

"After a protracted siege by the Roman tenth legion, the situation of the Sacarii, the Jewish rebels holed up on the mountain fortress of Masada, became hopeless. The Jewish rebels led by Elazar Ben Yair decided to kill themselves rather than be..."