Not just a meditation app, Calm promotes just what its names promises. The 3-25 minute guided meditations don’t delve deep into your mind, hoping to put you at one with the Universe, they simply promote a state of relaxation and calmness to improve your sleep. It comes with “sleep stories”, breathing exercises and soothing music. It’s free or $60/year for extra services.
9. Stop, Breathe & Think
This one’s more for the youth (or at least the under-25s). It offers “mindful” meditation sessions that help teens and young adults work through tough emotions common for the age group - depression, worry and anxiety. But most importantly, it caters for the often frantic lives of young people. To use Stop, Breathe & Think, you don’t always need a lot of time for meditation - you can check in for quick exercises that allow you to catch up with your emotions and find out where your state of mind is at. It’s free but for $10/month you can get access to a lot more meditations and exercises.
Another good app for busy lives. Devised and implemented by highly regarded meditation teachers, Aura gives users three-minute micro-meditations, helping relieve stress. Probably the best app if you can’t commit to proper daily meditation sessions. It’s very simple to use and even incorporates AI (artificial intelligence) to cater for your specific needs. The free version is good, but with a $12.99 monthly subscription users get unlimited access to mediation videos.
7. The Mindfulness App
If you have zero experience with meditation and mindfulness, this free app (with in-app purchasing options) offers a good course to get you up to speed. There’s a five-day guided practice and introduction, then you get into some guided meditations that range in length from three to 30 minutes. You also get to keep a meditation journal and there are reminders that keep you forever mindful. (Mindfulness, by the way, is a therapeutic mental state achieved by focusing on the moment, and acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, and sensations.)
Warning: not for beginners. Buddhify expects that you are already immersed in the world of meditation and mindfulness and offers you an easy way to regularly meditate. It categorises its guided meditations by activities such as walking, taking a break or sleeping; or emotions, like stress and anxiety. Further, it assumes that you are such a meditation pro, that you have a posse of meditation buddies to whom you can send “targeted meditations”. For example, you can send a calming meditation to someone who you know is suffering anxiety. It costs $4.99 to download, and there’s also a $30 premium subscription option.
Also not one for newbies, but a great free app for those who have some experience with meditation. Sattva features chants and mantras from Sanskrit scholars who know their stuff. The meditations begin at six minutes and go up to lengthy sessions for true states of calm and mindfulness. It allows you to keep a journal and suggests playlists to help with your sessions.
4. Insight Timer
If you’re new to meditation, get into this free app. More than 1,000 teachers provide 15,000 guided meditations that work for beginners and pros and alike. There are also courses at $5 a pop. The app also comes with more than 700 soothing meditation tracks.
As its name implies Breethe is about helping you focus on the essentials of meditation and mindfulness. From the moment you wake, the app guides your day of meditation and mindfulness. There are five-minute meditations, plus tips on how to deal with your emotions and stressful situations throughout the day. And it caters for individual preferences and styles. It’s free and definitely worth a try.
2. Simply Being
If you’re already a student of meditation you might already be aware of the Meditation Oasis podcast from married couple Richard and Mary Maddux. The Madduxes have also created the Simply Being app ($1.99), which not only comes with guided meditation, but notifies you to meditate regularly at various times of the day. It's user friendly, allowing you to customise the length of the sessions and choose your style of meditation. For example, you can choose to meditate to music or the soothing sounds of nature (or no sound at all).
It’s one of the most well-known meditation apps and for good reason. Headspace provides hundreds of guided meditations (long and short), sleep sounds, “SOS” meditations for emotional emergencies, plus meditations for kids. The app, which was founded by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, and Richard Pierson, offers the first ten sessions for free and then it’s a monthly cost of $12.99 per month. It’s real point of difference is Puddicombe, who guides you through the meditations himself in a reasuring, gentle voice. He's encouraging and instills confidence in the greenest of users. It might not be the cheapest option, but think of it as the same cost of a streaming service but with much more benefits to your life.