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Headspace: Guide to Meditation Review 2021 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Star: Andy Puddicombe
Opening Shot: Orange dots shoot around the screen. “Our lives are filled with distraction, filled with stimulation,” says Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe. “Imagine if there were a way to slow things down, for our mind to unwind and our body to let go of our stress.”
The Gist: Headspace Guide To Meditation is an 8-episode guide to different methods of meditation, and how to go from not meditating at all to making it a regular part of your life. Created by the popular website along with Vox Media, Puddicombe narrates each episode, spending about half of each 20-minute episode talking about meditation, why it’s good for the body and mind, and why when you begin to do it, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
He gives a bit of his own background: He left a career in sports medicine to become a Buddhist monk in the Himalayas. One of the biggest misconceptions he had about meditation was that it was supposed to be a way to eliminate all thoughts from your mind. But he learned that meditation is more like sitting on the side of the road, watching the traffic go by. The longer you do that, as opposed to wandering into the traffic or trying to control where the traffic goes, the more help the meditation will be. All of these musings are accompanied by animations, both simple and complex.
In the second half of each episode, Puddicombe leads the viewer through a meditation, with a consistent but moving animation providing the visuals to watch — if you choose. In the first episode, it’s a squiggle; in the second episode, it’s the sun and clouds. The first episode is a tutorial on how to get started. Other episodes deal with letting go, how to deal with stress, falling in love with life, being kind, dealing with pain, dealing with anger, and achieving limitless potential.
We get why a show like Headspace Guide To Meditation exists on a platform like Netflix; it’s a way for Puddicombe and his company to get their message and lessons out to a wider audience than his website, YouTube videos and TED talk could reach. But for all intents and purposes, what the series really is a podcast, with some interesting visuals to accompany Puddicombe’s audio track.
Think about it; half of each episode is dedicated to having the viewer close his or her eyes and not watch the screen, just listen to Puddicombe’s soothing voice guiding them through each meditation. We did that with the first episode, occasionally opening our eyes to see what was going on with the graphic on the screen.
We do think Puddicombe is effective at getting non-meditators like us to focus on our breathing, center ourselves, and make sure the external stimulus just goes by instead of infiltrating our thoughts. He even allows us a moment to let those thoughts in, then has us step back again. The ten-minute session was far more effective than we thought it would be going in.
But this isn’t any different than anything you can get from a mindfulness podcast, of which there are many. But, hey, if seeing this on your Netflix home page gets you to click on an episode and meditate for the first time in awhile — or ever — then the show did its job, right?
Parting Shot: Puddicombe previews episode 2, about getting rid of the baggage in our lives. We see a snail get burdened by an increasingly dinged shell and a drawing of a human head that looks something like the PBS logo.
Sleeper Star: The long list of animators on each episode deserve credit for making the show visually interesting when, as we said, it would probably work better as a podcast.
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