Thursday, January 19, 2012

Moodstreams sounds on your Iphone, Ipad, and Ipod Touch

I'm proud to announce the release of the new Stillpoint relaxation and meditation app from Inius, Inc., now available for Iphone, Ipad, and Ipod Touch. Stillpoint is a unique and revolutionary listening experience that incorporates nature sounds, brainwave entrainment, focusing aids, and a built-in session timer into a package that goes with you anywhere you carry your phone or tablet. Search for "Stillpoint" in the Apple App Store, or go to www.stillpointapp.com for more information. The basic version is FREE, so give it a shot!
Moodstreams and Inius teamed up to include our favorite Moodstreams nature sounds in the app. The basic free version comes bundled with "River Rapids", "Evening by the Pond", and "Alaska Salmon Migration: The Waterfall". Additional sounds can be downloaded onto the app for just 99 cents, and include some of the most popular sounds from the Moodstreams catalog, including "Murmuring Creek", "Pacific Tidepool", "Water Flows Beneath Us", and many others.
The "Brain Beat" feature allows you to overlay an optional brainwave entrainment track onto your selected nature sound, which guides you to your desired mental state with subtle, rhythmic sound pulses to create an even more powerful, purposeful relaxation experience. Presets are included for common goals like "Sleep", or "Tension Melter."
The "Focus" feature allows you to choose a tone, such as a bell or water splash, that recurs as often as you like to remind you to stay focused on the meditation (because we're all prone to distracting thoughts at times!).
The built-in session timer lets you customize the length of your session to your needs, and your selected nature sound and Brain Beat tracks automatically scale to fit!
We've invested years of effort and research into making Stillpoint a truly unique app, and we're sure you will find it the most powerful and easy-to-use relaxation aid out there. Give it an honest shot, and don't forget to let us know what you think of it!
Cheers,
Paul Nguyen
Owner of Moodstreams

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Molokai, Hawaii, and the Rolling Boulder Beach

For those who have any of the conventional preconceptions of what Hawaii is, allow Molokai to completely eradicate them. Hoping for a luau, a hula performance, nice tourist resorts, a beach full of thousands of scantily clad bodies? Don't come to Molokai.

This is not your "typical" Hawaii, and in that sense, it is the most Hawaiian of all the islands. Some might say Molokai is backwards, it's decrepit, it's too quiet, it has nothing to do. I'll take all of those as true, if you accept this: Molokai is beautiful. The setting, the culture, the pace of life, all of it. It's a rustic paradise of sorts - The coastline is rugged and deserted, the interior is part agricultural, part mountainous. There are no stoplights, and only two gas stations. There is no rush hour, and very little manmade noise overall. Compared to the other Hawaiian Islands, there is little tourism, and that's just how they like it.

And from the standpoint of a nature sound recordist and photographer, it's perfection. I could write more, and you could read more, but maybe you'd rather see and hear.

Look at the Molokai album on the Moodstreams Facebook page. Prints of these photographs are available on my photography site.

A new nature sound is available at Moodstreams.com, called Molokai Rolling Boulder Beach. A sample of it is available on the product page. Here is the description:

An island preserved in time, the rural and peaceful Molokai is not the "typical" Hawaii, and this is not your typical beach sound recording. This particular stretch of boulder beach is made of rocks that are just the right size, such that when a large wave hits the shore, the rocks can be heard clicking against each other as they roll back into the ocean. A backdrop of white noise punctuated by crashing waves makes this recording great for relaxation, meditation, or sleep.







Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Third and Final New Zealand Sound Recording

I'm proud to announce the release of the last of the New Zealand soundtracks on Moodstreams.com. You might say it's the end of an era, because this officially closes the New Zealand chapter for Moodstreams; all the photos have been published and now all the sounds have been as well. I guess the only way to get more material is to plan another trip! Well worth looking into, in my opinion. One could spend a lifetime there and not see and hear all of its glory.

The newest sound recording, Morning on the West Coast, was actually the first one I recorded on my trip. Have I emphasized before how easy it is to record nature sounds in New Zealand? There are no planes flying overhead, no traffic noise once you leave the city, very few people, and the people that are there, mostly tourists actually, aren't up and about at the time that I make recordings, which was usually between 4:30 and 6 AM on this trip. A recordist's dream! Morning on the West Coast was recorded at a camp in a very small coastal community called Charleston. The camp has a small farm attached with some sheep and chickens. The West Coast in this case refers to the region of New Zealand's South Island that is actually quite popular with tourists and is known for its amazing beaches. But wake up at dawn, and all there is to experience in this particular camp is the cacophany of singing birds, and the crowing of roosters as they usher in the morning. As I may have mentioned before, the remarkable thing about the summer dawn sounds in New Zealand is how "structured" they seem to be. Certain species of birds start and end at certain times, like clockwork, and then by 6:15 or so, all activity seems to abruptly cease for the rest of the day. This recording captures a "slice" of that magical time period.

The complete 25-minute downloadable MP3 is available on the Moodstreams site for just $5.99.

Listen to a sample.

And here's the complete product description:
Morning on the West Coast (New Zealand)
Wake up to the busy chirping of birds on a coastal farm in New Zealand's West Coast region. This recording offers the realistic experience of being immersed in the summer dawn, as sparrows sing to claim their territories, insects buzz across the soundscape, and roosters proclaim the arrival of the first rays of the sun, as distant surf provides a backdrop of white noise. The recording goes from busy in the beginning and middle to sparse at the end, just as it happens in real life as dawn becomes early morning.

Perhaps at some point I will compile all three New Zealand sounds into a collection like I did with the Sounds of Spring, or Alaska Rivers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Southland Dawn Chorus (New Zealand)

I'm really excited about introuducing the latest nature sound from my New Zealand trip. This one captures a sound that is unique in all the world: The melodious and haunting song of the belllbird at dawn. Check out the product site for a sample. If you don't find that sound utterly mesmerizing, then you must have grown up with a a bellbird in your backyard! But even my friend Richie, a native of New Zealand, enjoys this one.


The complete 25-minute soundtrack is available as an MP3 download at Moodstreams.com for just $5.99. Here's the product description:

Southland Dawn Chorus (New Zealand)
Waking up in the woods before dawn to the birds of Southland, the southernmost region of New Zealand, is a symphonic experience. It begins in darkness with the mesmerizing, haunting solo melody of the bellbird echoing from the treetops. As light breaks, tui and sparrows fill out the ensemble until the chorus reaches its peak. This 25-minute recording is a "slice" of dawn captured in real time, offering you the opportunity to be immersed in a soundscape that is unique in all of the world.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Help out with the Japan relief effort... and win audio products from Moodstreams in the process.

Hello Moodsies, Moodstreams is proud to be teaming up with The Earth Diet to help out with the relief effort for the victims of the natural disasters in Japan. By donating $10 or more via credit card or Amazon Payments, you will be entered into a drawing to win some great prizes from sponsors, including 3 gift coupons for audio products from Moodstreams, valued at $15 each, and 1 customized hypnosis recording from Moodstreams, valued at $109 each. Check out The Earth Diet Blog to see the donation details and what else you could win. So don't delay. Dig deep into those pockets and help out a worthy cause, and you just might be helping yourself out in the process with some great prizes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The First of the New Zealand Sounds is Here

The first of the soundtracks from the New Zealand recording adventures has been released on moodstreams.com. It's called Shores of Lake Te Anau, and is a simple recording captured down by the water line of New Zealand's famous lake. For folks who like the rhythmic sound of waves, but don't want something as grand as the ocean, this could be the ticket.
The MP3 is available for $5.99 USD, and is downloadable directly from the Moodstreams site.

Listen to a sample

Here's the product description from the web page:
On a windy day, waves lap up onto the shore of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island of New Zealand. This recording, made right at the water level, contains only the rhythmic sounds of the waves in the foreground and the gentle wind in the background. If you enjoy listening to waves but find the ocean a bit too "big", this could be for you. Use this recording for sleep, relaxation, or meditation.

The MP3 version of the soundtrack is about half an hour long, but you may special order a CD-R version of the soundtrack that would be one hour long.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Zealand sounds and photos are coming!

Why does New Zealand rule for nature recordists? Because it's QUIET. The quietude is profound that you can hear it, if you know what I mean. And by quiet, I don't mean devoid of sounds, but devoid of distracting artificial background sounds made by artificial sources. Read on.

Over the years, I've become attuned to every little noise in my environment, making quick little judgments about whether or not I could make a recording in the space where I find myself at any particular moment. Any place that someone might say is "quiet", I'd say listen again, and see if you can hear traffic, airplanes, an occasional motorcycle, etc. And surely enough, they'd come back and say that it isn't so quiet after all!

I listened closely while I was traveling about the South Island of New Zealand, and I can honestly say that the whole time I was in the countryside and wilderness, I never heard any planes flying overhead. A place with no flight paths? A nature recordist's dream. Even Alaska had float planes flying over every half hour.

And with so few major highways, there was rarely any traffic noise, either. And there must be some ordinance against Harleys, because they were thankfully absent.

And with no traffic, there is no rush hour! "Sweet As!", as the Kiwis would say. They're so laid back they don't even hit the roads until 9 AM.

And so with every daily 5 AM waking, I would notice, in addition to how profoundly peaceful it was, the consistency of the morning birds' routines. 5 o'clock was virtually silent. 5:15, the bellbirds started their song: Bing, bong, bing, bong, bing, reverberating through the canopy, unaccompanied by any other species. 5:30, the chattering of tui (a native songbird) and various sparrows entered the soundscape, gradually growing stronger through the 6 o'clock sunrise, and then waning, so that by 6:15 there was very little going on at all. A spectacularly short-lived dawn chorus!

Expect that I will be releasing 3 new soundtracks from my New Zealand expedition. Two will be of dawn birds; one from the West Coast, and one from Southland. And the third will be the sound of gently lapping waves on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake on the South Island.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let's Prelax

Today, I'd like to introduce a concept that may seem foreign to all members of our increasingly Americanized world: The idea of proactive relaxation.

How many times have you heard (or worse, said), "I'm so stressed out, I need to relax", or "I'm totally overwhelmed, I need to relax", with the idea being that the person in question has allowed him/herself to go over the edge of sanity before deciding that finally, now it is time to find some peace. That, my friends, is what I'd call reactive relaxation; identifying that you are already overwhelmed and then responding to that by trying to relax after the fact. If you've found yourself doing this, you might have noted that it is, in fact, quite difficult to then relax.

So I propose this much more appealing alternative: Relaxing before you ever get overstressed or overwhelmed! (Light dawning on Marblehead). We'll thus refer to it as proactive relaxation, or pre-relaxing. In fact, let's go ahead and make a catchy new verb out of this: Prelax. This is, of course, not meant to be confused with the Prelax brand of preventive laxatives that I will work on developing after this post. Seriously, though, I just thought of the name earlier today as I was conceiving of today's entry.

The idea of prelaxing is that if you begin the day relaxed, you never get stressed out to begin with, and then you never need to relax afterward. And what could be better than going through your day knowing that you are not going to be perturbed by anything? It's like having a protective shield of "I don't give a crap" surrounding you at all times.

So, how to achieve this wonderful stress-free sheen? Emotional preparation is everything. Start your day with a few quite moments of looking inwardly, eyes closed, breathing gently, and preparing yourself for the various scenarios that might take place that day. Imagine yourself calmly and confidently handling every possible situation that could arise. Use of all your available senses in your imagination to create the situations vividly and live them out in your mind, reacting the way you want to react, and seeing how the outcome is just so much better if you are in control of your emotions. After all, for most of us, we can basically predict what's going to happen in our day with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Let's face it: We're not that interesting. And also be aware that the people who you envision having very interesting lives probably have very routine lives as well. Tom Brady wakes up in the morning and says, "I'm going to throw a football today. Just like yesterday".

So the point is, if you know it's coming, why bother being stressed out about it? If you know your boss is going to throw a bungload of work at you and have unreasonable expectations about how soon he wants it all done, why get upset about that? You've accepted the fact that you're working for this miserable fleck, so you may as well handle it in a way that doesn't further punish you in the process, which is to say, calmly and coolly. So, prepare yourself for the way you want to act in the situations that you will know will arise, and expect to act that way. We all know that expectation is the mother of outcome. And if you begin your day relaxed, you know that you're much more likely to stay relaxed, rather than starting the day already worried about what might be coming down the cowsh*t funnel.
And then once you've gotten the hang of forecasting how your day will go, start to think further into the future. Emotionally prepare yourself for the week, and then the month, and then the year, and so forth, creating positive outcomes for how you will handle every possible situation that could arise. Forecast all kinds of scenarios, from best to worst, and know that you and you alone determine how the situation affects you. Prelaxing, and preparing yourself to respond in a calm and confident manner assures the best possible outcome for even a bad situation. Learn this, and you are on your way to being a master of your own mind.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Preparation for Meditation, or Just for Life

Prepare for Meditation by Releasing Bodily Tension -

This podcast, while not part of the Meditation Getaways series of guided meditations, can be seen as a companion to that, or to any exercise in calming the mind.

Many people that I've worked with in my hypnosis practice have complained that they can't seem to meditate or do self-hypnosis effectively on certain days, because they're carrying so much tension in their bodies that it distracts them or prevents them from settling their minds. In this podcast, I teach you a technique called progressive neuromuscular relaxation that is designed to relieve that tightness in the body through a series of tension-relaxation movements performed on all the major muscle groups.

Since, it does involve tensing of the muscles, I advise you to consult your physician to make sure that this exercise is safe for you.

I will guide you from toe to head, as we tense each muscle group tightly and then relax it completely, being mindful of the sensation of relaxation. Each combination of tension and relaxation teaches you what relaxation should feel like in each muscle group, because complete relaxation can best be felt when it is contrasted with complete tension. By tensing a muscle as tightly as you can, you effectively get the tension out of it, so that afterwards, all you can feel is relaxation.

As you pay attention to what relaxation really feels like in each movement, you could even "meditate" on this feeling. People notice sensations such as tingling, buzzing, warmth, heaviness, etc. After the entire exercise is complete, your body should be loose, limp, and restful, and you should be able to transition to meditation or self-hypnosis easily, having been completely relieved of your distracting tension. That being said, this exercise can also stand alone as a daily routine to remove the tightness that builds up in your body throughout the day. As you continue to do this exercise daily, your body effectively learns how to be relaxed all the time, so you'll find yourself being much more at ease in everything that you do.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Meditation Getaways" retail products are now available

I know I'd said months ago (maybe even half a year ago) that I'd soon be releasing the popular Meditation Getaways guided meditation series as a line of retail downloads. Well, I'm proud to say that they are here! Take a look at the latest version of the Moodstreams product catalog.

For those who are hearing about Meditation Getaways for the first time, here's the scoop: In early 2009, I launched a free podcast series of guided meditations that were all about exercising the imagination and developing creativity. They featured Moodstreams nature sounds as background ambience, while my voice guided listeners on these "adventures of the mind" to various remote locations in the imagination, and it gave us all a chance to practice thinking abstractly in order to bring balance to our lives in a society where analysis and critical thinking are becoming increasingly dominant. The Meditation Getaways became very popular thanks to iTunes and other podcasting services, and there was a demand for me to keep making more of them. I released 8 meditations throughout the course of the year, after which I felt it necessary to take a break from them for a while, and decide where I might go with them next or whether I had already accomplished everything that I could accomplish with the series and that was it.

During this break, the podcast series continued to gain in popularity, and I decided that I should just incorporate them into the retail part of my business. As proud as I was of the podcast, they were still very "podcasty" in nature, in the sense that every single episode had a long introduction where I would say who I was, what I did, the name of my business, the website people should go to, the purpose of the meditation series, etc. etc. In other words, it was full of ads and promotion for myself, because that's how you keep things free while running a business. So faithful listeners who used the meditations frequently had to wade through this long introduction to get to the "meat" of the meditation. Some listeners expressed their annoyance over this!

So, for starters, I simply decided to re-release the entire series of 8 meditations as a collection of high-quality retail MP3 products. The new Meditation Getaways, which are available now on Moodstreams.com, are recorded and issued in the same outstanding audio quality as the Moodstreams nature sounds (instead of inferior podcast-quality audio), and have no ads or promotion. When you press "play", you hear me say the name of the meditation, and then I start guiding you into the meditation right away. They're available for the low price of $5.99 per individual meditation, or $19.99 for the complete collection of 8. Each meditation is between 14 and 20 minutes long. If you get all 8, you get well over 2 hours of meditations. Not bad for 20 bucks!

From now on, when I record a new episode of Meditation Getaways, it will simply be added to the retail line. The podcast continues to exist, but I won't be adding any new episodes to it for now, although I may occasionally add audio recordings of simple breathing exercises and relaxation exercises.

So if you are intrigued by the concept of Meditation Getaways, or are already a listener of the podcast who is sick of fast-forwarding through my shameless self promotion, you might want to give the retail series a look!