It’s no secret to anyone that taking a little time to wind down from the chaos of our daily lives is good for you. Meditation and mindfulness training is a perfect way to take a quick break from the hustle bustle. There’s a wealth of research promoting the positive benefits to our overall health both physically and mentally from a regular meditation practice.
“Mindfulness is a form of meditation or mental training that helps us to live in a state of awareness of our life experiences without judgment. The practice of mindfulness has a diverse set of benefits such as stress reduction, improved memory, heightened concentration and even improved physical health.” -MalaForest, Jul, 2016
But how do I get started? Do I need special equipment, clothing, etc.? Will I be chanting while attempting to bind my legs into an impossible pretzel formation? In a word, no. The good news is you can meditate anywhere, anytime. But it does require some practice and dedication.
Meditation apps are a great way to get started with a daily meditation practice. They are generally easy to use, fun and many are free. Some have music, nature sounds along with silent guided and unguided meditation. I would suggest downloading a at least 3. You may need to before you find one that feels right and doesn’t give up if you don’t enjoy the first one you try. There are many different options and I guarantee you will find one that works for you.
Here are a few of our favorites.
1. The Ten Percent Happier app
Simply put, the first app I recommend when someone says “I just can’t meditate.” The backstory (started by a broadcast journalist Dan Harris, who discovered meditation after an on air panic attack) helps people feel less inadequate about their spiritual qualifications; and the design of the app (short teaching / plus meditation sessions of adjustable length) feeds both the mind and the spirit. The free version has great content; but if you subscribe, there are really amazing, topical courses available. (And the weekly podcasts, and founder Dan Harris’s books are also on my ‘recommend’ list! (Update: Nov 2020 – the “Election Sanity” special sessions were lifesavers!)
I love the daily quotes I receive from Oak. You can set notifications for any time of day. The sessions are divided into 3 categories: meditate, breathe, sleep. What I love about this app is each session has a very brief explanation of what you will be doing. That way I get some insight into what I’m diving into and if that fits my needs. They also have a log to track your progress and prompt you when you need it.
Probably one of the most well known meditation apps and for good reason. As soon as you open the app, it prompts you to take a breathe. Right at the start, your feeling relaxed. You can choose your favorite sounds, pics and length of meditation. The pis are gorgeous and the sounds are so relaxing. I use this app quite often for bedtime relaxation.
And then there’s Headspace. Founder Andy Puddicombe, is an honest to god Buddhist monk with 10 years of Tibetan monastic training across Asia and a soothing Bristol accent. He connected with 27-year-old Londoner Richard Pierson – a brilliant marketer (think Axe deodorant) who felt so much anxiety he struggled to go out in public. The duo’s creation has become a huge hit, bringing in millions of subscribers and highlighting the meditating journey in a very easy to follow way.
All of these apps are perfect for beginners as well as seasoned meditators. Start your meditation practice today, right now! Download your meditation apps and don’t forget to take your earphones with you to take advantage of your new apps anytime of day. A moment of peace and relaxation is just a click away.
Wishing you happiness and peace.