02 May '18
The Best Meditation Apps For You
Having trouble sticking with a meditation practice? There's an app for that.
Meditation: the art of sitting still, letting go, and quiet contemplation. Sounds simple enough, but anyone who's tried it knows it takes a tremendous amount of patience and perseverance to incorporate this self-care strategy into your daily life. Luckily there's an app for that. Several, in fact. These top meditation apps will remind you when it's time to take a mental health break, watch the clock for you, provide soothing sounds, and guide you verbally to a more peaceful state. Make sure to get comfy in some PJs or yoga wear, put your phone on airplane mode or "do not disturb" modes before you begin so you won't be interrupted, and, for best results, use headphones or ear buds for an immersive mind-body experience.
Here are our top meditation apps:
Calm is the #1 app for meditation and mindfulness, and for good reason. It has many layers to help you not only establish your meditation practice but remain committed and go deeper into it. In addition to traditional mediation, Calm offers a Commuting meditation, a Walking meditation, and a Body Scan meditation (in which you release tension one body part at a time). The Emotion Series will aid you in riding the up and downs of life, the Forgiveness meditation will help you let go of what isn't working, and the Emergency Calm meditation will talk you down when everything falls apart. Narrated meditation programs featuring mindfulness instructor Tamara Levitt vary from two minutes to an hour while unnarrated medications can be programed for hours. Calm Music is curated into categories for nature, focus, relaxation, and sleeping sounds. There’s enough in this app for a lifetime of tranquility.
Science-based app HEADSPACE touts lower stress, better sleep, sharper concentration, increased compassion, and happy relationships as just some of the benefits of meditation. The app's co-founder Andy Puddicombe knows his stuff: in his early 20s, he dropped out of school and headed to Asia to become an ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk. Headspace offers themed sessions on topics like self-esteem, generosity, or patience, as well as mini-meditations for your crazy busy days and "SOS" exercises for those inevitable freak-outs. Use Headspace's mindfulness training to practice being more present during your workouts, meals, and relationships. Puddicombe's voice is so soothing, even a minute's worth of guided meditation will get you closer to nirvana while the playful graphics and animation will put a smile on your face.
Also read: The Mindful Bride
Mindbody is less of a meditation app and more of a conduit to your next meditation class. Using GPS, it locates the nearest fitness, yoga, and meditation centers. Each listing is chock full of all the information you could possibly need to select your next wellness destination. Peruse ratings and reviews from fellow app users, see class schedules, and book and pay for your classes right from your phone. Save your favorite venues or find a bargain from the introductory deals and last-minute offers section.
If you prefer ambient sounds to talking, Insight Timer is your meditation app. It allows you to set a timer for your meditation and choose your own background soundtrack, from raindrops and ocean waves to Zen guitar and an angel choir. Pick from eight different polyphonic bells to indicate the beginning and the end of your meditation or to mark intervals during pranayama (controlled breath practice). The app can store presets for different kinds of meditation, so you'll have fast access to timers for your morning, midday, and evening sessions as well as chanting and walking meditation. Sift through over 1,900 meditation teachers and musicians or find a guided meditation to address a need, like detaching from overthinking or removing expectations. Set up a profile to make friends with other insight app users and to keep track of your meditation habits and stats.