Millennials have turned yoga into a $27 billion industry, according to the Huffington Post, which can be partly attributed to the popularity of meditation apps for smartphones. The benefits of meditation are endless. From reducing stress to helping with insomnia to slowing the aging process, having access to this practice by simply opening an application on a smartphone is pretty extraordinary. Check out our picks for the best meditation apps, recommended by users and professionals.
Dr. David E. Drake, a psychiatrist at Iowa Methodist Hospital, offers meditation as a form of training as a part of his practice, and he also hosts a weekly meditation group. Drake recommends the “Peace in Our Time” feature of the Insight Timer app. “I just use it as a timer, but it also has a gong feature,” Drake says. “It also has guided meditations. Some folks find those very helpful.” The app also features ambient music to be played while you meditate, as well as yoga and breathing techniques.
Holistic Wellness Guide Lynn Marie Nelson, based in Des Moines, recommends the Buddhify app, which includes over 80 guided meditation tracks ranging from five to 30 minutes long. The app is fun and easy to function, featuring a colorful wheel where you can select what you’re doing, whether you’re eating, taking a work break, or walking around, and it will guide you accordingly.
Calm is a great app for people looking to get into a meditation routine. Calm features daily programs, ranging from one to three weeks, where you can choose the amount of time you spend meditating every day, anywhere from five to 30 minutes. You pick a focus for the sessions, such as seven days of sleep or 21 days of self-esteem, and your goal at the end of each session is to have improved in that focus area. This app also features relaxing images to focus on while meditating.
Headspace is a simple app that encourages users to meditate for 10 to 15 minutes a day. It features a tracker that allows you to track your stats, and you can join up with your friends and encourage them to track their meditation daily. This app also reminds you to meditate, so it’s ideal for those who want to get into the practice of meditating regularly.
Recommended by New York Times, Simply Being is the most basic of meditation apps. It offers five- to 30-minute sessions, but doesn’t require you to pick a focus. This is a good introductory app for those who just want to explore general meditation. This app allows you to pick between calming music or a variety of nature sounds.
Once you’ve downloaded an app, Chicago-based yoga instructor Traci Truesdale has some tips for getting the most out of your meditation experience. “You need a comfortable place to sit, and yourself,” she says. “It is a matter of turning your focus inward, which can be achieved through focusing on your breathing and/or a mantra.” So when you’re using a meditation app, make sure to silence all other functions on your phone, so it’s easier to focus solely on meditation.