Journeying to meet the master at the top of a mountain is no longer necessary. These days, you can keep your guru right there in your pocket with meditation and mindfulness apps.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Even though our smartphones are our greatest source of distraction, mobile mindfulness and meditation apps can be highly effective in helping us achieve the relaxation and calm we seek. While over the last few years, more and more have flooded the market, only a handful are truly worth your while. We took a number of the top apps out for a spin and found the best mindfulness and meditation apps out there.
1 - HEADSPACE
Headspace welcomes users with it’s ‘Take 10’ program, 10 days of guided meditations hosted by Andy Puddicombe, a former Tibetan monk, and present-day mindfulness advocate and meditation teacher. Andy’s meditations provide easy, 10-minute sessions each day that can help anyone get into the regular habit of slowing down, via thought-provoking metaphors and simple, relatable instructions.
Your first 10 days fly by, and then you’re invited to subscribe - for $12.99 per month, or $94.99 per year. The cool part is, though, you’re not in it alone. There’s a fun buddy system feature that lets you and a friend sync up within the app and encourage one another other along down the path to nirvana.
2 - Udaya Yoga & Fitness
With a staff of teachers that includes prestigious retreat directors and meditation specialists, Udaya Yoga & Fitness offers the highest quality of classes at a fraction of the price.With Udaya, you can enjoy new meditation classes every week that will help you enhance your personal and spiritual growth. There's also a huge emphasis on yoga with acclaimed UDAYA programs, as well as cooking and nutrition classes, music videos and kirtan. Meditations at Udaya cater for all levels and are perfect if you're at home looking for a way to relax, stay calm or grow spiritually.
Similar to Headspace, Calm provides a free, seven-day course for guided-meditation exercises, followed by a monthly subscription at $12.99, or a yearly one for $59.99. Once you hop on as a paid user, you unlock access to a 21-day program for wellbeing, and a week-long series focused entirely on getting a better sleep each night, as well as more than 50 other guided meditation programs tackling anxiety, stress, focus, better breathing, and more.
Individual sessions range between 2 to 20 minutes, and there are countless “unguided” sessions that envelop the listener in pattering rain, birds cawing in a rainforest, the crackle of a campfire, and other sounds that make this app live up to its name.
4 - BUDDHIFY/BUDDHIFY 2
Buddhify caters to those who have always wanted to begin a meditation practice, but didn’t know where to begin. The app’s rainbow-colored spinning dial asks what you’re doing at the moment, then provides you with a variety of situation-focused meditations to jump into on-the-spot. Trying to fall asleep? Spending unproductive time online? Or dealing with some difficult emotions? They’ve got something for each of those scenarios, and with more than 80 different meditation tracks, ranging from 5 to 30 minutes each, there’s likely something for everyone.
Buddhify also offers a timer, stats page to track your progress, and social sharing to connect your meditation practice to a wider community. Unlike other apps on this list, however, Buddhify has a model where you pay for access entirely upfront - $4.99 on iOS and $2.99 on Android - without any intro period, or additional in-app purchases later.
Omvana’s biggest differentiator is how the app allows you to fully customize your meditation experiences. The app essentially provides you with your own mixing board, letting you merge your favorite guided meditations, narrated lessons, and inspirational speeches with thousands of high-quality audio tracks and ambient sounds in the background. You can even upload your own voice, mixing it in with any of the tracks they have on file, to create your very own meditations to share with others. How cool is that?
The app also comes loaded with a small number free starter meditations to enjoy, and provides you access to the Omvana Store, where you can purchase thousands of different meditation tracks, ranging from three minutes up to an hour, on hundreds of different topics, for $1-8.
6- STOP, BREATHE & THINK