The Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, established by my former University of Wisconsin colleague Richard Davidson, is trying to export the results of its basic research into practical forms - workplace programs, school programs, and now an App for tablets or cell phones.
I've put the App on my iPhone, and want to report my experience of going through its sequence of mini-lectures and exercises, organized under five categories: Foundations, awareness, connection, insight, and purpose. The basic science presented and the exercises were familiar to me, and I was struck by how effectively the essence of each was presented in its most simple and accessible form. (I would have liked to have been able to see the brief voice lectures also offered in text form.) For example, the instruction most often seen for the exercise of paying attention to breathing suggest counting each breath, from one to nine or ten, then repeating, and returning to this practice when one notices having been distracted by other thoughts. Why not just count to three, as instructed by the App. It is more simple, and equally effective. For each of the exercises, one can choose a sitting or active version (active meaning doing routine, but not novel, activities), a male or female narrator, and varying duration from 5 to 30 min. It was not until I had finished the available series of lectures and exercises and tried to go back to earlier stages and examine them in more detail that I encountered a requirement that a subscription be purchased (~$5/month, but see below). If the ideas and exercises presented were less familiar to me, and I was not already fairly settled in my various practices, I'm sure I would purchase a subscription to the App.
(added note: Please see the comment below. A subscription is not required to repeat the Foundations section I was describing. It is offered for further engagement of the Awareness, Connection, Insight, and Purpose modules.)