I started meditating almost a couple of years back. I confess I am not a regular but I try to practice meditation at least once or twice a week. The great thing about meditation is that it really helped me regain focus and become calmer.
Now that we are locked down in our homes, I thought this is another useful thing you could do with the extra few minutes you have at hand. Believe me, it’ll literally take 10 minutes of your time! And, I believe that is the time we must spare if we want some mental peace.
I know you might imagine meditation to be this arduous process that involves sitting down in isolation and practicing some kind of breathing exercise or trying to focus your mind on a particular spot. I honestly used to think that about meditation too. But I was up for a surprise. The concept of meditation is not as complex as we imagine it to be. It just needs you to start off, and I am sure that things will soon fall into place – the way they did for me!
Did you know that there are mobile apps that can teach you meditation in very simple steps? Once I started using a guided meditation app, I could meditate even on my Uber ride to the office!
On World Health Day, here are my top three meditation apps.
Headspace has been my guide to meditation since I started a few years ago. While the app’s user interface with cute illustrations and animated explainer videos is extremely engaging and interesting, the voice of Andy Puddicombe–the founder of Headspace–is equally calming and immersive.
You can download the app for free and start with a basic course that will teach you about the basics of meditations in as little as 3 minutes per day. My recommendation is to start with at least 5 minutes or, if you can, go for the 10 minute exercise. It won’t be easy initially but by the time you are done with the 10 sessions of the basic course, you will get a good hang of how it works.
You can subscribe to a monthly package of $12.99 per month or $95 per year to get full access to all the other courses like advanced meditation course, happiness, dealing with anxiety, falling asleep, and quitting addiction among many others.
The profound quote that you get at the end of your meditation routine is just the icing on the cake!
Download the app from here.
Calm is a close competitor of Headspace and has several million subscribers around the world just like Headspace does! While Headspace is full of animated characters and soft pastel colours in the app, Calm features serene natural scenery like forest, rivers, and lakes as the app’s general theme. You are also surrounded by ambient sounds of nature like river flow, birds, and wind that give you a sense of calm and serenity while meditating.
The thing that stands out about the Calm app is its ease of use. It’s easier to find meditation sessions for different themes. Also, you don’t need to commit to a course if you just need to do one session of any specific meditation theme.
You can sign-up for a 7-day all-access free trial and then continue using the app for $69.99 per year. There is a one-time payment option of $399.99 that gives you lifetime access to Calm. If you can commit to Calm for a lifetime, go for the last option because you get the most value out of it in the longer period of time.
Checkout the Calm app and website from here.
3. Insight Timer
The best thing about Insight Timer is that it’s free! Before you start judging the app based on its price, let me tell you that, although free, Insight Timer has the largest library of free meditation sessions – more than a whopping 30,000 sessions! You can find something for every mood and goal, right from sessions with the Indian yogi Sadhguru to the psychotherapist Anthony De Melo.
Most of Insight Timer’s users love its simple UI/UX and also the fact that they can customise the app to their specific needs. Need guided sessions or just quiet timers? You got it all!
You can also join groups of other meditators and practice meditation on a specific theme with people around the world. It helps you maintain a routine and helps you build the habit of meditating regularly. It’s claimed that you are more likely to pursue a habit when you are part of a tribe or community where everyone else is doing what you wish to do.
You can sign-up for Insight Timer and download its app from here.
In case you are still not convinced or wondering whether meditation is for you or not, here’s a short TED talk by Andy from Headspace.
Do let me know which of these apps you enjoyed using and how your meditation journey progresses.
It’s never too late to focus on your mental health, start today!1