In this increasingly busy and distracted world, meditation seems to be a luxury only a few people can afford. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to commit at least an hour in our lives, even minutes, to pause and meditate. Stress usually takes over at work and in our everyday life that we end up falling into the trap of a toxic lifestyle.
Gadgets, for the most part, such as mobile phones even add up to this easily distracted populace.
In fact, this dependency on cell phones has developed "nomophobia" among netizens -- or the anxiety-arousing from phone separation. If you're the type that panics when you realize you've left your phone at home or in the car, you are most likely nomophobic.
Cell phones aren’t necessarily evil though. It is intended for faster communication and enhanced productivity. For instance, the development of meditation apps has ironically transformed phones to a meditation buddy. Its popularity is said to have helped app users disconnect with stress with just a few taps on their phones.
Meditation is an ancient practice, and it can always be done without the use of meditation apps which have surfaced fairly recently. In theory, all you ever need is a quiet space, with eyes closed and a relaxed state of mind.
However, it's easier than done. The mind tends to drift off to a far place and wander wherever it wants to be. And it takes patience, time, and discipline to keep it focused on the present moment.
If you are one of the many who struggles on keeping their mind still, meditation apps can assist you in your journey towards better meditation.
If you are planning to enroll in a meditation class in the US, be ready to spend at least $25 per hour, or even up to $176 on an hourly basis. But if you’re someone uncomfortable spending that much amount, you can opt to subscribe for a meditation app that costs between $2 to $13 a month.
While personal meditation classes are more recommended because it is well-guided, this does not mean, however, that meditation apps give you crappy meditation guides.
In fact, one of the leading meditation apps today, Headspace, has Andy Puddicombe as the app’s co-founder and audio instructor. Puddicombe was a former Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India who travelled to the Himalayas in his early 20s to embark on a 10-year journey to study meditation and mindfulness.
When meditating on your own, it is difficult to keep track of your progress. This is especially true for most beginners. With a meditation app to assist you, you can always monitor your activities. Plus, using its advanced features, it will automatically track usage patterns, such as the longest streak and the total time spent meditating. Having an automated tracker of your meditation activities would help you quantify your progress, and strategize better ways on how to approach meditation.
According to American historian and philosopher Will Durant, we are what we repeatedly do — and that excellence is not an act, but a habit. Similarly, when developing your meditation routine, it takes daily effort, of doing the simple, basic activity, over and over again until they become part of you.
Having a meditation app that reminds you to meditate daily can help build the momentum of habit formation. As long as you stay committed to meditation, it is not hard to make it a good personal habit that essentially benefits all other aspects of your life.
Like any other skill, meditation takes time to master. With a portable guide at hand that is just a few taps away, you can meditate whenever, wherever. Constantly exposing yourself to online meditation materials let you get ahead of the game by giving you the opportunity to practice on your own consistently.
Practice makes perfect, they say, so don't be surprised when you find yourself becoming a better meditator someday.
There are different types of meditation out there, and one of the most convenient and practical ways to find them out is through meditation apps. In fact, an app like Buddhify has meditation guides for sleeping, travelling, waking up, and work break among others. Depending on your current state, a meditation app can give you options on what to focus on.
There are a handful of meditation apps available for download in app stores. They are differentiated based on meditation approaches, types and lessons available as well as the subscription fees.
Overall, these apps goal is to enhance the users’ daily life through everyday meditation.
Based on quality, user reviews, and overall reliability, here are the top five meditation apps today:
This app takes on fun animations to teach its users the fundamentals of mindfulness and meditation. For starters, Headspace offers a free version which contains ten guided meditations that can be played for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes, depending on your choice. The pro version of this app provides 550 hours of extra content.
Headspace also features a personalized progress page, as well as a reward system to encourage continued practice. Its buddy system is also great for those who want to connect with other app users.
Price: Free Trial/$12.95 monthly subscription/$95.88 per year.
Offering a wide array of guided meditations, Calm follows a seven-day beginners' program or a 21-day meditation that focus on topics such as happiness, gratitude, and anxiety among others. Another great feature of the app is the habit-forming 10-minute Daily Calm which one can practice upon waking up or before sleeping.
Calm also has a built-in library of calming music and a selection of “sleep stories” for grown-ups, not to mention Stephen Fry's lulling performance that will surely help you fall asleep faster. Its premium plan unlocks more advanced features including a detailed audio program on relationships, anxiety, and sleep called the "Masterclass" delivered by the experts.
Price: 7 days of free access/ $12.99 per month/$59.99 per year.
When you become so lazy to meditate, Aura gives you no excuse. The app is perfect for busy people who can spend only three minutes long, or even less, for meditation. If you think three minutes is too long for mindfulness, try its 30-second anxiety-bursting exercises!
Another great feature of Aura is its capacity to let you log your emotions on the app. The system then graphs this to so you can check your mood from day to day. If you want to access more features, the pro version gives you 1,000 meditation and mindfulness exercises to choose from.
Price: Free download/ optional subscription of $11.99 per month/ $94.99 annually
When subscriptions are not your thing, you can opt for Buddhify. This app charges you a one-time upfront fee upon download. From there, you can use all of its features and maximise the 11-hour custom meditation programs for whenever you want. The app makes use of a colour wheel that is divided into segments that represent a meditation exercise, such as "walking" that encourages you to be mindful of every step or "work break" that helps you relax at the office.
Price: $1.99 for Android and $4.99 for iPhone
If you're the type looking for free and quality apps, download Insight Timer. The app is a library of 3,500 guided meditations that vary in length, even some sessions reaching to an hour. It also offers you access to over 700 meditation music. What makes it more attractive is that it is totally free to use! Insight Timer is also hugely popular within the meditation community, said used by more than 1.7 million meditators worldwide.
Although mobile phone use typically reinforces our stress levels with its constant ringing and vibrating alerts, it cannot be denied that it also a helpful tool. When used rightly and moderately, phones can be our best buddies or our “mini computers” that essentially make our lives easier.
Some meditation experts banked on our dependence on phones to bring in a healthy dose of mindfulness in between our hectic schedules. Bringing in innovation in this ancient practice, meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm, Aura, Buddhify, and Insight Timer aim to remind us to breathe and live in the present moment, no matter how chaotic and restless the world seems to become.
Founder of this website; currently living vicariously through himself.
Yoga is a fun, sweat-inducing practice that anyone can do. For those that can't make it to a studio, here are 10 YouTube channels you should try.