If you still feel you need a little help, guidence, or motivation to start meditating, try one of these great apps. They're literally available at the press of a button, and there's one to suit every taste.
Meditation has many scientifically proven benefits. READ SOME OF THEM HERE.
If you only have a few minutes to spare each day, then Oak may be the app for you. The app offers a number of quick and simple breathing exercises, so you can get started without committing to 10 or 20 minutes of sitting.
Oak is somewhat of a labor of love for its creator, Kevin Rose, who launched the app after discovering how meditation could help him deal with the stress of running multiple businesses.
Rose told TechCrunch “Some people just don’t have time some days to do the meditations, but I always find the time, maybe in the back of an Uber, to crank out a breathing exercise”.
I like that its premise is not to get you hooked on the app itself, but rather to teach you techniques that you can then use on your own. Oak is also free (!!) and Rose is adamant he wants to keep it that way as long as possible, making meditation accessible for anyone. Go Kevin!
Andy Puddicombe became a Buddhist monk at the tender age of 22, and has now made it his mission to demystify meditation for the masses. And demystify he has, with his app, Headspace.
Headspace is free to use for ten days, and each day Andy guides you with his pleasant British accent, through some simple meditations. These first sessions are aimed at absolute beginners, so if it’s a deeper understanding of the practice, this may be a little basic for you.
That said, the ten day trial is just a taste of what Headspace has to offer, and is designed to help you begin consolidating meditation as a habit. Headspace has surpassed 1 million paying subscribers! You can sign up for a monthly subscription starting at $7.99 per month, and this unlocks 550 hours of extra content. These sessions are well structured, and focused to provide specific results, ranging from productivity to pain management.
It’s not so much the Muse app that’s special, as it is the amazing brain sensing headset. Yes, it will set you back a couple of hundred dollars, but if you find it hard to stay motivated like me, you might find it’s well worth the investment.
What makes Muse unique, is that it allows you to experience real time feedback as you meditate. Simply put the headset on, choose from a number of weather soundscapes (rainforest is my favourite), and set your the duration. As you meditate, the sounds will reflect your brain activity, and guide you gently back to your breath when your mind starts to wander.
At the end of each session you’ll also be a able to see how much brain activity you had during the meditation, as well as how many times you recovered! Tracking your progress makes this app a lot of fun to use, and keeps you motivated.
New on the meditation app scene, Waking Up, by neuroscientist, philosopher, and bestselling author, Sam Harris.
Before we even talk about the app or the meditation, I want to acknowledge Sam Harris’ made-for-meditation voice. It’s captivating, relaxing, and somewhat entrancing, all at once. Unlike some of the other apps, Harris intentionally leaves long pauses between his thoughts, which can be useful for self reflection.
Waking up is a great tool for deepening your practice, and is filling a gap in the market for more advanced practitioners. There are some concepts that Harris introduces early on, which, without any prior knowledge could be hard to grasp, but are certainly worth considering.
The Waking Up app is free to download and offers a series of guided meditations. To access the full, expanding course, you will need to purchase an in-app subscription for either $7.99 US/month or $59.99 US/year.
Calm, named the 2017 iPhone app of the year by Apple itself, is another meditation and relaxation aid with a huge following. CNBC reported that the company is now worth roughly $US250 million!
Many users comment on the pleasant and user friendly interface that Calm offers, along with sounds of the sea that greet you as soon as you open it up.
It’s a little less structured than apps such as Headspace, but maybe that’s just what you’re looking for. Calm does however, let you choose your goals, to help tailor your meditations to what you want to achieve.
While it’s free to download, it costs $US60/year after your 7-day free trial is up. Not a bad price for a year’s worth of mindfulness. Unlocking the paid content will let you access a library of calming music and a selection of “sleep stories”, as well as some more advanced options, such as the Calm “Masterclass” which includes detailed meditations on topics as sleep, relationships and anxiety.
You can even choose to be lulled to sleep by Stephen Fry if you wish (by his voice, anyway).
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