Tech City: Calming app in hectic digital age

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe - Credit: Archant

Tech City meditation masters Headspace have been so successful in spreading calm in the digital age they’ve opened up a new office in Los Angeles.


Headspace - Credit: Archant

The stateside adventure follows the rip-roaring triumph of their acclaimed app – a course of 10-minute meditation sessions designed to ease hectic lifestyles delivered straight to your mobile phone or tablet.

Now the creative Bonhill Street start-up has released version 2 - an update which allows users to choose the length of sessions and change categories for people struggling with health, anxiety and eating addictions.

Co-founder Andy Puddicombe revealed other improvements.

He said: “There is also Headspace On-the-Go, where we teach the application of mindfulness to everyday activities like cooking, exercise and even sleep, Headspace SOS for times of increased stress, the Headspace buddy system where you can team up and encourage each other to meditate, and Headspace Classic, a set of one-off guided meditations from 10 to 60 minutes in length.”

There is also an SOS section for people who need immediate help with a bad day, crisis or meltdown.

Mr Puddicombe, an ex-monk, juggler and meditation expert, had the initial idea with partner Rich Pierson, a former advertising executive.

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He said: “I set up my meditation practice in 2006, working at an integrative GP practice and I met Rich Pierson soon after, in 2008 in fact.

“He was keen to learn meditation, because he was feeling a bit burnt out by his work in advertising, and wanted to find a way to relax. I was keen to find a way to make meditation accessible. So we did a skill swap.

“The idea comes from a meeting of east and west. My desire to make meditation more accessible and Rich’s ability, learnt through his years in advertising, to spread ideas.

“We want to provide people with a gym membership for the mind.”

As well as having 1.5 million worldwide users, the app has been endorsed by high-profile figures including Team GB psychologist Katie Warriner, Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott and Arianna Huffington, who started the Huffington Post website, all of whom were present at the launch of the new version.

Andy lauded the experience of being a start-up in Tech City where the Headspace voyage began.

He said: “There is an incredible atmosphere there, with so many young tech companies, it really feels like you are in the hub of ideas.

“We are now based between Shoreditch and LA, but I feel very fortunate that we were able to launch Headspace there.

“Meditation has existed for 3,000 years or more and has always been relevant. However, with the current pace of life and increasing demands - not least of which is the increasing digital chatter - there is no question that the mind is experiencing a new and potentially harmful degree of pressure.

“Most people assume that this stress is simply part of life, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. Meditation shows us how to live more skillfully.”

n Find out more and download the app at