The benefits of meditation are numerous. It has the power to relieve all the intra-personal and inter-personal problems faced by us in the 21st century and hence, its popularity. However, in the age, we live in and the kind of lives that the industrial set-up has created- it has become difficult to have access to guided methods that can help us achieve what we desire.
But with the problem comes the solution! Meditation apps have made these much-desired techniques accessible. However, with numerous apps available, choosing one can be tough. Here we present you with 10 apps that we think are the best ones to help you in your journey along with a buying guide so that you can be sure about its suitability.
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Table of Contents
Here is a quick list of essentials that you need to look at before downloading a suitable meditation app.
There are various meditation techniques, and each has its own goal. While each is beneficial in its own way, you need to analyse yourself to understand your inner state of mind and what you want to take away from practising meditation through the app.
After reading the numerous benefits above, it is but natural to feel the need to inculcate everything. However, like any other practice- meditation needs to be learned. And for that, you need a starting point to begin your journey, that is, you need to know your purpose so that you can choose the right programme from a suitable app.
Start by asking questions to yourself like- ‘Am I stressed?’, ‘Am I losing focus?’, ‘Do I have a troubled sleep?’, ‘Do overthink?’, or it may be as simple as- ‘Do I need more time to relax and be by myself?’. By asking these questions, you’ll be able to narrow down your understand what aspects you need to focus on and choose an app that gives you a suitable starting point.
For example- Tide app can help you increase focus, and Calm app can help you improve your sleeping habits and help you have a relaxed sleeping time. Even though most apps will provide similar features, different apps have a speciality that makes them stand out. Thus, if you know what you want- choosing an app will be much easier.
If you have meditated in the past and know your way around- you can choose apps that offer a variety of techniques that have a wider scope. You might want an app that lets you meditate in hour-long sessions, or maybe a week-long retreat like insight timer. Some intermediate level meditators also want to inculcate these practices into their relationships, work-outs, career and more.
Overall, the best app for you will make you a regular practitioner and gradually guide you through the steps required to become a pro-meditator. Some techniques include body scans, zen meditation, loving-kindness meditation and so on.
The app should have enough range in terms of variety of techniques and, depth in terms of a variety of useful sessions to always stay relevant and beneficial to you. This will aid in sticking to meditation and achieve growth for longer periods of time.
Mediation is becoming a popular practice and with that, many people have started to create apps that are essentially just used to grab attention and mint money. So, when choosing an app, you must pay attention to who is providing the lessons. If the people are experienced, that is, if they are known experts in their field (e.g. psychologists, philosophers etc.)- it will ensure credibility and its efficiency.
Checking the business model also becomes important here, if the app is free- the goal of the app should be to provide quality content that benefits you. For e.g. the Waking Up app, that offers its paid versions for free to users who cannot afford it. If all you can see are repeated promotions with less quality- it is not worth to waste time over such a piece of technology.
Meditation is a relaxing practice. It is not shocking then that app developers spend a lot of time curating the colours and other features of the app. You should check if the colours are soothing to the eye and the user interface is easy to understand. If you are a beginner, it is a good idea to choose an app that sends notification reminders to get your habit developed.
Some apps have a ‘social section’ that lets you know how many people are using the same app to as you to meditate. This has offered encouragement to a lot of users. Users have noted that this encourages them to meditate when they see their friends meditating too.
Some apps let you customise the time of meditation too. This is a handy feature for advanced meditators and for those who don’t have a fixed routine as they can tailor the length of the session as per requirement. This will help you in creating sessions that suite your personal routine. Lastly, the voice of your guide should be soothing so that the motive of relaxation and focus is easily achieved.
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One of the top-rated and among the most popular meditation apps in India, Headspace focuses on increasing mindfulness. The app will guide you through your meditation journey through guided meditations suited for beginners using a 10 days’ programme. It offers a variety of guided meditations on different subjects like focus, exercise, and sleep.
As you advance in your journey, the app will equip you with techniques that will help you ‘checking-in’ with yourself during any time of the day, that is, it will make you self-sufficient in its practices. The app allows you to customise the length of sessions. It sends notification reminders that can help you in developing a habit of being mindful.
The user interface of the app is interactive and the animation used in explainer videos is engaging and loved by most users. Andy Puddicombe noted for his experience in this field and also the co-founder of the app has recorded the sessions and the users praise his conversational style and find his soothing voice.
This app focuses on the nature of consciousness. While other apps focus on helping you deal with real-life problems, Sam Harris goes a step ahead and dives into the consciousness of a person to make them understand how the mind works. The introductory programme involves some 10-minute-long sessions. The app also has longer sessions for intermediate meditators.
You can set reminders and check the number of people meditating side by side, which will motivate you to create a habit. The user interface is easy to understand, and the colour scheme is soothing. The app guides you through your journey, making it easier for a beginner to navigate. Users note life-changing learnings and impact after using the app.
Reviewers praise how the app stands out by going farther than the usual. The app questions the ‘sense of self’ and explains it as the reason for all suffering. By hitting the root cause of the problem, Harris has pioneered a vision that'll outlive its counterparts. The paid version can be made available for free for those who can’t afford it via email- that’s how strong his vision is.
One of the most popular mindfulness and relaxation apps available, Calm has been recognised on numerous platforms and loved by most meditators. The app specialises in sleep stories and a variety of meditation techniques organised by themes. The user interface of the app is easy to navigate. The app also offers custom meditation sessions for user convenience.
There are guided sessions available for beginners and programmes for intermediate and advance level meditators. The app also offers 7- and 21-days’ mindfulness programmes for all levels which have been appreciated by users. It contains an assortment of nature sounds and exclusive music that is engineered to enhance relaxation, focus and sleep.
With a wide variety of sleep stories and sessions, the app brings you a diverse set of soothing voices. Some notable ones include- Stephen Fry, Matthew McConaughey, and many more. Users have noted a positive change using a variety of techniques and improved sleep and sleeping patterns after using this app.
Aura is another immensely popular app personalised using AI. The app is designed to learn your mood patterns, giving you the best possible mindfulness experience. It offers 3-minute meditations to relieve stress and anxiety and claims on providing many short and scientific exercises throughout the day to keep you happier.
The users of the app note their satisfaction- how the app has helped them from the beginner level through short sessions to advanced levels with lengthier sessions which can be as long as an hour. The user interface of the app is easy to use, and the colours used are calming.
It asks a couple of questions when you download the app to understand your mood and then customize sessions accordingly. If you are troubled with insomnia- this app is what you need. It comes with sessions, which can make you fall asleep in 3 minutes. With a range of serene sounds and music, the app is sure to calm your aura.
As the name indicates, the app Insight Timer has a sophisticated timer that opens multiple avenues for you. The app’s timer can be customised from as short as 1 minute to as long as 24 hours and even infinity. The timer comes with interval bells and ambient sound, both of which contain a range of options to choose from.
Further, you can create pre-set sessions that will be saved in the custom section, with all the settings intact, which means you can access them anytime. Another unique feature of the app is- it empowers anyone to upload meditation tracks. This means the range of techniques and methods offered is huge. The variety of experiences help in providing an enriching experience.
With teachers from around the world uploading tracks- the app offers a language filter which sorts sessions according to native languages. However, the app doesn’t give repeated pop-ups so you will have to inculcate the habit of meditating yourself.
Named as an app for ‘fidgety skeptics’, the app was made by an ABC news anchor Dan Harris who suffered a panic attack on air and found his peace in meditation. The app preaches scientific and secular meditation.
A great feature of this app is that it provides an option of personal coaching. The user can simply connect to and talk to a coach on the app. This ensures greater accountability and a more personalised experience.
The app is not very compartmentalised in terms of its content so that the user must take some time to obtain what they really want and track progress by themselves. This can be a time taking process, but you will be learning new things from different teachers in the process.
Famously known as Stop, Breathe and Think, this app enables you to ‘check-in’ at any time during the day. What this essentially means is that the app asks certain questions from you whenever you open it, to understand your mood.
It will first ask you questions to track your mental and physical state and then ask you to select 5 emotions from over 114 sets of emotions. Although tailored according to an individual’s need, it provides little explanation of the basics for beginners.
Further, the introductions are mostly text fed and could have been more engaging with the video medium. Other than this, this app has obtained only positive reviews and the users seem to be more than satisfied by its performance, how it helps them understand self better, and its impact.
An app that will appeal to the religious majority, it offers guidance for meditation as well as yoga. It is available in 8 native Indian languages- Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Telegu, Kannada, Gujarati, and even English.
It has special guided meditation courses designed by Sadhguru like- Isha Kriya and Chit Shakti meditation techniques. These courses focus on achieving inner peace, success, health, and love. In addition to this, it has videos, podcasts, and articles on a wide range of interesting topics by Sadhguru. Further, it also sends notifications in the form of a daily mystic quote that gives motivation.
However, some users note that the app tends to crash every now and then or takes a lot of time to load. Nonetheless, majority reviewers note a life-changing experience after using the app and find the guided meditation techniques extremely useful and enriching.
This app is for everyone as it adjusts according to the needs of the users by asking them a variety of questions. The user interface is easy, and the green background looks aesthetic to the eyes. It offers guided meditation and unguided too, making it compatible for all levels.
The app will also help you track your emotions through a series of questions, you can check your progress in the dashboard and even save your favourite sessions. The sessions can be as short as 5 minutes to longer sessions of 45 minutes. There are sessions tailored for kids and adults that help you to sleep. The downside is that the sound of the background music gets too loud at times.
If you don’t want to practise meditation the conventional way but increase focus and remain calm, Tide is the app for you. With a wide variety of different types of sounds like rain, ocean, forest, fire-crackle, and many more— this app will enable you to feel calmer and distanced from the daily chaos. Reviewers note an increase in mindfulness, awareness, and improvement in sleeping habits.
The basic meditation technique is included, but it enables the users to meditate anytime, anywhere, by creating an immersive, meditative space. The app has an ‘immersive mode’ that keeps you away from distractions on your phone, thus, increasing focus.
The app also allows you to set a timer for yourself along with peaceful sounds at the same time. In case you don’t want to use the normal timer, you can use the more efficient Pomodoro timer that will alert you to work and take breaks too! Rich is daily inspiring quotes, it ensures that your mind doesn’t wander off easily and you remain focused for longer periods of time.
Now that you have the meditation app that suits you- choose the right accessories to help you further your journey.
The range of apps to choose from is fairly wide. However, if you know what you want out of this intriguing practise of meditation- you are sure to find it with ease given the technological developments. Thanks to these apps, now anyone from any part of the country can easily learn how to meditate without having to go to any specific centre or hire a teacher to learn this art.
We have tried to incorporate apps that suit the varied needs of the Indian population- choose the one that helps you meet your goals and fits into your lifestyle with ease. Be sure to be regular with your practice to have an immersive experience and realise the results!
Author: Shivangi Sharma
No. 1: Headspace Inc. | Headspace
No. 2: Waking Up Course, LLC | Waking Up: Daily Meditation
No. 3: Calm.com, Inc. | Calm
No. 4: Aura Health Inc. | Aura
No. 5: Insight Network Inc | Insight Timer
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