Though nothing can compete with having your own meditation guru on hand, a little technology can go a long way. These apps make it easy to unwind, whether you’re on-the-go or just sitting down for some peace and quiet at home. While a few of the meditation apps simply provide a reminder — since dedicating time every day for meditation can often seem impossible — others offer guided meditations to keep you on track. A number of them help bring mindfulness into everyday activities, including one that retrains your breathing habits. Whatever level you’re at, your smartphone can boost your meditation practice. Just remember to turn off the ringer!
Meditate is a meditation timer app for the iPhone. The timer lets you set multiple chimes, intervals and even a cool-down session. Sounds including bowls, tingshas and bells give your practice an authentic tone. The app also provides statistics including sessions completed, average session length and total meditation time. Plus, its online meditation timer is free to try. ($3.99; available for iOS)
Calm.com’s web app and free iPhone app can guide you in as little as two minutes and up to 20 minutes with relaxing nature scenes for your practice. Users also have the option of adding a narrator to walk you through your session. (Free; available for iOS)
3. Mindfulness Meditation
This best-selling app, designed by renowned psychotherapist and author of Meditation For Dummies, Stephan Bodian, provides guided meditations for both beginners and the more advanced. The app features an eight-week program, inspirational talks and body relaxation scans. ($1.99; available for iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry)
A free download will get you a 10-day starter program from Headspace, a straightforward, guided meditation app for beginners. Then, for a small, optional monthly fee of $5.99, founder Andy Puddicombe will guide you through a new meditation every day. Use the app to watch Puddicombe’s TED Talk if you’re still not convinced that meditation is awesome. (Free; available for iOS and Android)
5. The Mindfulness App
Like a little meditation assistant, this app alerts you when it’s time to step back and take a breather. In addition to setting a particular time and day, the app also allows you to set GPS reminders telling you to meditate when you enter a certain location. ($1.99; available for iOS)
This app brings mindfulness into the modern age with fun graphics and meditations that you can do during other everyday activities in your life. Users can customize sessions based on location or select tailored guides to follow on walks, at the gym or on the train. ($2.99; available for iOS and Android)
Combine the power of breath with technology. Pranayama guides you toward slower, deeper breathing by helping you count your inhalations and exhalations according to a fixed ratio. Different sounds identify the right times to inhale and exhale. (Free; available for iOS and Android)
8. Breathe and Relax
Get into the habit of connecting with your breath in a natural, relaxed way with this app. Many of us hold our breath when stressed and could use a moment of zen in the middle of the day. Short, guided exercises will remind you to just breathe. ($0.99; available for iOS and Android)
To learn more about the practice of mindful meditation, click here.