Nothing can compete with having your own meditation guru on hand, but a little technology can go a long way. These meditation apps make it easy to unwind, whether you’re on-the-go or sitting down for some peace and quiet at home. A few of the apps on this list simply provide a reminder to be mindful (since we know all too well that dedicating time every day can sometimes feel impossible). And if you’re looking for something more advanced, several of the apps offer longer guided meditations to keep you on track to zen. These meditation apps will also help bring your attention to everyday activities, including concentrating on your breath. Whatever level you’re at, your smartphone can boost your meditation practice. Just remember to turn off the ringer!
Kick off each day with a new mindfulness meditation targeted at making you happier (and it’s just 10 minutes). You can also choose your area of focus for five-day streaks, including creativity, anxiety and relationships. Or simply follow the Just Breathe program to take a moment for yourself during the day to just be. (The best part? The lifetime subscription is 80% off.)
Calm’s free web and mobile app offers guided meditations ranging from three minutes, up to 25 minutes with relaxing nature scenes to help you calm down, as well as breathing exercises and the option for an unguided timer. The app also featured adult bedtime stories to help lull you to sleep.
Start with the five-day introductory series to relieve stress right from the get go. The app also offers daily recommendations for a get-calm session to start the day, a five-minute breathing exercise to do in the p.m. or a pre-bedtime, sound-focused meditation for winding down. Trust us, the music is super soothing, plus it’s meant to help you reach deep sleep.
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 a must-do.
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. Feel particularly stressed on the subway or in your office? Then it’s time to set a reminder to just stay calm.
This app brings mindfulness into the modern age with fun graphics and meditations that you can do during everyday activities. Users can customize sessions based on location or select tailored guides to follow on walks, at the gym, on the train or right from your pillow.
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, which makes finding some peace of mind super easy.
Dubbed the mediation app for busy people, Simple Habit aims to get you to meditate regularly by sending a reminder at the same time every day. Plus, it offers more than 1,000 guided sessions that last just a mere five minutes — which you can do on your commute or at your desk. If you want to go longer, it offers extended times, too.
Aura brings personalized meditations right to your smartphone. Based on your mood, age, location and lifestyle, it’ll curate guided sessions that help you find calm. The meditations last three, seven or 10 minutes and you can opt for breathing reminders throughout the day. And it’s 84% off the original price.
Originally published October 2013. Updated August 2017.
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