Most of us feel the pressures of modern life. Sometimes it is difficult to find calm and focus in the daily hustle and bustle. Fortunately, there are innovative people working on making our work days better. One noteworthy company is the Icelandic based FLOWVR whose CEO is Tristan Elizabeth Gribbin. FLOWVR is a virtual reality app which features enables you to meditate in Icelandic nature in VR environment augmented with music from Sigur Rós.
Recognized for innovation
FLOWVR is the 2019 winner of the prestigious startup award Gulleggið (The Golden Egg) which is run by Icelandic Startups for entrepreneurs. FLOWVR meditation works in a simple way. It has six different modes (Breath, Focus, Movement, Letting go, Calm and Restore). Each meditation program takes only four minutes but of course you can go through as many programs in each session as you wish. The app is set in beautiful Icelandic landscapes. These include Snæfellsnes peninsula, Grímsstaðir, Öxarárfoss waterfall at Thingvellir, Glymur trail, Hítardalur and Thorsmörk. FLOWVR is available for Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.
Meditate in Icelandic Nature With FLOWVR
I recently tested FLOWVR with my coworkers at the leading Fintech company Meniga and I can attest for its effectiveness. To meditate in Icelandic nature with FLOWVR is an effective way to relax, get more energy and focus. I have been using Samsung phones for past years but never felt the need to get a Samsung VR kit. That might well change now.
Thank you Tristan for taking the time to do this interview. Can you please tell me about your background?
Thank you Jón Heiðar it’s an honor to be speaking with you for your blog and also to be working with the geniuses at Meniga – you guys have a stellar company that is making waves internationally. You are an awesome group of people to test the effectiveness of FLOWVR meditation because you are consumed with work and can surely benefit from learning meditation to calm your very active minds, right?
Making Meditation more accessible
I find that working with companies is a great way to make meditation more accessible, more mainstream. Since 2012 I have been a meditation teacher and have taught hundreds of classes, and now dozens of FLOWVR meditation workshops for corporations.
Having an adventurous life
I grew up in Palo Alto in the days before the dot.com. These were amazing times when life was much more laid back. I loved growing up in a University town and my parents were both Stanford graduates and we even lived for two years in South East Asia when I was a teen but when I was a young adult I left Cali and moved to Europe to work in Theatre Arts and devoted myself to that for over ten years, in Ireland and then Iceland. I’ve had an adventurous life.
Falling in love with Iceland
I fell in love with Iceland on my first visit in February 1995. I was blown away by the vast nature, the culture and the history. Standing at Þingvellir, thinking of the parliament, the first in the world, I closed my eyes and heard a voice that said “Center yourself. Breathe.” It was a distinct message from the universe. I felt re-connected to the spiritual part of myself in that moment.
I was exposed to meditation at a young age – my Dad took me to San Francisco Golden Gate Park to mediate barefoot with the peace loving hippies when I was just five years old. He even gave me the book Siddhartha to read at age nine.
Enlightenment at Skálholt
I have had interest in spirituality from a very young age but it was not until January 2000 in Iceland when I first experienced the trans formative power of meditation, at a nine day Intensive in Skálholt. I was in long hours of a deep inner journey practicing a modern form of meditation called Gourasana Meditation Practice when a world of wonder opened up for me and I thought: Everyone wants this!
Now almost twenty years later I am passionately working with the FLOWVR team to help create immediate access to meditation’s benefits for the people of the world. We focus on Corporate Wellness because stress at work has become a huge concern and meditation is an impactful solution, especially through virtual reality that makes it more real, easier to experience and have that first “Aha!” moment.
You could have featured many beautiful places in the world for meditation. Why did you choose Iceland?
Iceland is where my serious spiritual search began. It is also where I discovered the startup scene at Startup Iceland. That is where I first had the vision to do something big and scalable with meditation. Icelandic nature is the perfect backdrop for meditation – Being in pure untouched Icelandic nature is like a meditation or religious experience in itself. There is a healing power in nature that cannot be denied, and this can even be measured scientifically.
You feature six places here in Iceland in your app. How did you select and film them for the app?
These scenes are carefully selected by our Art Directors, Arni & Kinski – this includes my husband Stefan Árni and Siggi Kinski. They have directed commercials for huge international brands and many stunning music videos for Sigur Ros and others. They create all of the visuals for FLOWVR and the music and scenes are carefully chosen to reflect the spirit of each meditation. You can check out their body of work at www.arniandkinski.com We are lucky to have these two – the work they produce has the ability to touch the heart every time.
Have you had the chance to travel around Iceland, and if so, what are you favorite places or experiences?
I absolutely love Iceland and have been blessed to travel all around the country. Our family has a summerhouse in Borgarfjörður and I have a soft spot for that area. I also have had a love affair with Snæfellsnes as I feel the glacier holds a mystical power that is both enchanting and sustaining. I also was privileged to live in Mosfellsdalur for three years and this always feels like home to me. The Westfjords are magical and I can’t wait to do some more exploring there! I love sea swimming and I want to soak in a geothermal seaweed pool!
What advice would you give people who are visiting Iceland for the first time?
Go swim in pools every day. You can try a new pool each day. Get outdoors that is where most of the magic is! I love the Settlement Museum. I have a whole list I published on Facebook called Stefan and Tristan’s Iceland Travel tips. It’s all in there!