Meditation and mindfulness practices are at the heart of the process of healing your mind and body. They are powerful tools to help you find space within yourself, especially when difficult emotions arise. Nurturing presence also helps connect you with your true (perfect, whole, connected) inner self and release the identification we all tend to have with our thoughts and life circumstances. Through practice and a willingness to learn, we can all release negative patterns and become more peaceful, happy, accepting, and compassionate towards ourselves and others. When we face problems of any kind - and especially when we are in crisis or burn-out - strong emotions like anxiety, depression, confusion, insecurity, disconnection, pain, frustration, and resentment can make it seem impossible to live a normal life. The weight of these emotions can be crushing and may cause us to enter into a downward spiral. But we have experienced first hand on many occasions that life’s challenges often create the groundwork for our most profound transformations. We can consciously choose to take responsibility for ourselves, learn our lessons, and grow as people. We can make a clear choice to commit to positivity and thereby refresh our outlook on life. The current global crisis due to the spread of the Corona Virus and the resulting home quarantine most of us are facing can be an opportunity to start self-work on a deeper level. Usually, our busy lifestyles leave little time for making new habits, but now, we can take advantage of the excellent resources available to us online to make some remarkable progress. So we researched the best meditation and mindfulness Apps and want to share with you some of our favorites. We at by Dariia Day want to support your growth and happiness and hope that this list will inspire you to make space in your life for practices that heal, uplift, and nurture.
Price: Free 7 or 14-day trial then €15,99 per month, €35,99 per year (around €3 per month)
Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Calm’s beautiful design and delightful mix of guided meditations, nature soundscapes, music, sleep stories, and breathing exercises make it easy to see why it is the number one meditation App in the Health and Fitness ranking of the Apple App Store. It’s our favorite all-around choice because it contains 100 + targeted meditations as well as multi-day series to explore themes like confidence, mindful eating, gratitude, focus, and stress reduction. Masterclasses, long format talks by world-renowned experts, the mood check-in feature to record feelings over time, as well as the many ways you can personalize the soothing graphics and sounds on the App, are all excellent features. We are huge fans of Calm’s deeply relaxing Sleep Stories for adults, that evoke childhood nostalgia. Settling into bed while listening to celebrity narrators, including Stephen Fry and Matthew McConaughey, is a beautiful way to unwind and fall asleep quickly.
Price: Free with optional in-app purchase of €62,99 per year for added audio quality and features, offline downloading, and some of the courses.
Level: Intermediate - Advanced
Insight Timer offers a mind-boggling selection of 40,000 meditations by some of the world’s best-loved meditation and mindfulness experts (think Thich Nhat Hanh and Eckhart Tolle), neuroscientists, psychologists, and teachers from Stanford, Harvard, the University of Oxford and more. Because it’s the world’s most extensive meditation library, more people practice meditation on Insight Timer than anywhere else. The name stems from a unique timer feature that allows you to choose from a variety of resonant bell sounds made by traditional gongs and metal bowls that enable you to keep time in un-guided meditation sessions. So if you like to relate directly to a teacher or meditate on your own, this is an incredible resource. While the App does have several great Beginner Kits to teach meditation, its strength lies in its advanced content. There are a variety of filters to navigate the App such as Benefits (recovery&healing, relationships, sleep, etc.), Type of Practice (movement, sound, visualization, self-observation, etc.), Traditions (Buddhism, Kabbalah, Vedic, Christianity, etc.) Science & Secular (yoga, psychology, secular mindfulness, nature, etc.) and Concepts (alternative medicine, metaphysics, nondualism, etc.). Once you have found what works for you and which teachers you like, you can mark your favorites, build a simple daily habit, and interact with the community of users. We are also happy to report that Insight Timer supports quality sleep by offering a delightful range of ambient music and soundscapes.
Price: €5,49 per year.
Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Buddhify introduced us to a new way to conceive of meditation and mindfulness. Instead of carving out time for a dedicated formal practice, Buddhify inspires you to insert meditation into any situation in your life (alongside your daily activities) so that you can appreciate the present moment and increase well-being. Sometimes referred to as on-the-go, mobile, or urban meditation, this App provides an exciting way to do some deep-breathing while taking the bus or find a quick way to work through a sudden onset of anger or stress at work. Who knew we could practice Buddhist Meta (loving-kindness) while scrolling through Instagram? We adore the App’s innovative, non-linear, user-friendly design. It offers nine different visually stimulating wheels of colorful choices that unfurl like a peacock’s tail as you explore the content. As you start to feel the benefits of mobile mindfulness, the makers of Buddhify hope to spark your interest in traditional seated meditation, meditation in groups, or independent study.
Price: Some free content, access the full version for a one-time fee of €4,49.
Level: Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced
While Portal does not offer guided meditation, it is one of our favorite Apps to cultivate focus and relaxation during the day and sweet dreams at night. We are obsessed with this magical App that instantly transports you to 18 of the most sublime natural places in the world. Stunning audio and visuals immerse you in the sensorial bliss of the California Redwood forest, an Amazon thunderstorm, Rain in the Slovenian Alps, or a Cloud Forest in Costa Rica. When was the last time you listened to the breeze move through a barley field in spring, with its layered chorus of birdsong, or knew the sounds of dusk in the Tyrol region of Austria? We are instantly able to drop down into the space of the heart, surrender our busy thoughts, and take time to breathe when we hear the immense power of the pacific waves in Hawaii. In addition to these soundscapes, Portal has some elegant functions that make it worth paying for the full version. In Focus mode, you can write your own “focused task” and set a timer to remind you to stay on track until you complete it. In Escape mode, try some guided deep breathing and in Sleep mode, set an off-timer or use Portal as your soothing new alarm clock.
5. Work Mindful
Don’t let the name of this App fool you, this excellent series of 40 lessons/meditations is one of the highest quality courses we have found for beginners - and it’s totally free! Created by two of the best-loved mindfulness teachers in America, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, this App is a progressive series of short talks and guided meditations that combine theory, practice, as well as a simple homework exercise - all in 15 minutes per day. Using the challenges we face at work as the focus, Tara and Jack explore a complete range of important topics that will help you immensely on your path to growth, success, and happiness at work and also in your entire life. The sections of the App unfold as following: Mindful Basics like working with the body and breath, Emotional Intelligence to recognize emotions and thoughts, Resilience, Healing & Inner Freedom to get to the root cause of difficulty, and finally Mindful Living to learn how to communicate and contribute to the world. Tara and Jack designed this course for a group, so we suggest trying it with friends, family, or coworkers during quarantine or even after we return to public life. We may find we need extra support to deal with returning work stress.
Level: Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced
This App is by far the simplest and most straightforward way to calm your mind and return to your heart center. It was designed by bestselling author and consciousness teacher Deepak Chopra and yogi Eddie Stern to focus on one thing: Resonant Breathing. When Buddhist monks and yogis meditate, they slow their breathing to six breaths a minute, which is a sort of sweet spot, where we start to accrue all the positive benefits of meditation such as lower blood pressure, increased mental focus, decreased anxiety, pain reduction, increase in happiness, improved immunity and overall health, as well as the ability to sleep better. The App offers six different breathing ratios you can practice, from a 2-second inhalation with a 3-second exhalation to a 5-second inhalation with a 7-second exhalation. All these are significant improvements compared to our normal rate of 15-18 breaths per minute. Aside from the ratio choice, the App has a timer and graphic cues like a pulsing sphere to guide you. The best feature is the deeply soothing Breathing Sound, created by musician Moby, that allows you to follow the inhale/exhale cues with your eyes closed. This special sound can “entrain” your brain waves or synch them with the rhythm of the sounds so that the mind enters a frequency usually associated with deep sleep.
Price: Free 7-day trial, then €57,99 per year.
Level: Beginner - Intermediate
We highly recommend this beautifully designed meditation App that also helps you take extra care of your emotional health and personal growth. Aura has a wide selection of short, theme-based Life Coaching sessions given by expert therapists to help you deal with life’s challenges in an educated way. An easy-to-complete daily gratitude journal and emotional check-ins are other excellent features that will help you connect with yourself and track progress over time. And as you know, we at by Dariia Day take sleep very seriously, so we are happy to report that Aura offers a highly developed sleep section. In addition to natural soundscapes, sleep meditations, and sleep music, Aura has a classic repertoire of traditional Bedtime Stories, Sleep Tales to transport you to faraway lands, and non-fiction Inspirational Stories that can be motivational, thought-provoking, and transformative.
Written by Kassandra Frua De Angeli