This is how I’ve come to view mindfulness and smartphones.
If we’re going to carry smartphones, why not use them to help us be more mindful sometimes rather than less so? Technology is, after all, what we make it. It’s up to us how we use it and how it impacts our lives.
So, I’m following up my post about yoga apps with a similar one about meditation, which is becoming increasingly popular- despite the fact that we’re all using smartphones. More and more people are not only practicing, we’re getting more and more skillful about using it to navigate our fast-paced, multi-tasking, information-saturated world.
Our phones can not only help us get centered when we’re alone, but it can bring us together to get centered when we’re alone. Magic.
1. Mindfulness App by Mindfulness App
This is my first choice from the “comprehensive” category of meditation app. One that tries to provide a more complete experience. This one is really thorough. What do you want? Guidance, music, a program to follow? This app has these and more.
2. Smiling Mind (a non-profit program)
I was interested in this app because it’s for kids, which meant it would probably:
- have a cute interface (check)
- be fun (check)
- and would be interesting in approach since kids are a whole other kind of meditator than adults (check– it’s quite fascinating, in fact)
I love this app. Beyond the above checklist, it won me over because it not only teaches kids meditation, it provides them a place to reflect upon and express their feelings. Literally. They begin and end by recording their mood. The interface allows them to get pretty specific, which means it gives them a chance to really look inward to connect with their real selves way beyond the usual happy/sad generalizations.
The user also chooses their age and the meditations are designed accordingly. And yes there’s an adult setting. Did I use the adult setting? Yes. Once for testing, I like the 7-11 age range. (-:
3. Insight Timer by Spot Light Six, LLC
I’ve used this one for years. Before that, I used a cooking timer with a very bad bell tone. I attended group meditation as often as possible, just so I could hear a real bell.
Think the tone of a recorded bell doesn’t matter? Try meditating and then wrapping with a crap bell tone. (((WHY?)))
If you want a timer and bell only (no guidance, music, and no whistles, just a bell) this is it. A good bell, with a good tone.
You can set your duration, begin with bell, end with bell, choose number of bell tones you want to hear. Even a little countdown before the first bell to get settled. Of this basic category of app- just timer and bell- this feels the most (for lack of a better word-sorry) pro. There’s no such thing as a pro meditator but this app feels like the real-deal creation.
4. Headspace by Headspace
What I like most about Headspace is its overall modernity and offering of the science behind the meditation. You can watch videos that explain why we worry, have addictions, and how the brain begins to change after a few sessions of meditation, for example.
I also like that it’s a service, not just an app. You sign up, start receiving bite-sized meditations to your inbox and have access to lots of supplementary materials- including an on-the-go app, a book, even events. The New York Times said this about the founder, Andy Puddicombe: “He’s done for meditation what Jamie Oliver did for food.”
5. Mindfulness App by Mindapps
Quite a few apps will remind you to meditate at a certain time you set the alarm for. This one will remind you when you get to a certain location. You know that dreaded place you have to go where all your crazy-makers are? Or that place such as a government office that everyone considers toxic- where you wait in line forever, under bad lights, no open windows and lots of very frustrated people. This app has your back in all those difficult places you have to go. Yep. I use it frequently. And yes there’s a way to have it alert you without attracting attention.
6. iMeditate with Erich by Erich Schiffmann
Erich is one of my favorite teachers of all time. There’s lots of meditations on here, as well as his very special talks. What’s cool is you can not only choose the meditation, but also the duration.
The bell he uses in his classes goes off, and there’s nothing to turn off at the end, you can keep going after the bell if you like. You can also begin anywhere within the meditation you want.
If you know Erich’s guidance, then this app is like gold. All the concepts you love from Erich are here– such as “the Art of Living,” “Moving into Stillness,” and “Guidance from Within.” If you don’t know Erich, well, let me invite you to check him out. His work has so infused today’s yoga world that lots of teachers are influenced by him without even knowing it!
Erich’s also the author of my all-time fave yoga book: “Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness” and the “founder” of my favorite type of yoga for personal practice: “freedom Style” Yoga.
7. Meditation Oasis Podcast App by Wizard Media
Podcasting is said to be on the rise. It’s great to be able to listen to audio while driving, working, cleaning the kitchen. Nothing to read or watch. I’m talking more and more about resting the eyes, so it’s no surprise I recommend this app. There are plenty of podcasts to choose from and more to come. For the times when you want to learn more ABOUT meditation, rather than just DO a meditation, there is commentary and other content.
Want to read a fun book about meditation? Check out my latest book: “The (forever) Beginner’s Meditation Companion.”