On a scale of zero to woo-woo there was a time when meditation would have scored off the charts. However scientific research that has emerged in recent years has launched meditation into the mainstream spotlight and for good reason – it has been shown to reduce stress, increase creativity and strengthen relationships. If you’re not yet convinced of the benefits of meditation here are 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today.
If you are convinced of the benefits you may be stuck on how to get started. Or maybe you’re like me and you’ve tried to out a few times and have felt the benefits, but feel challenged by keeping up a regular practice. Luckily f you’ve got a SmartPhone meditation is just a double tap away. Here are a few of my favourite apps (and a podcast!) that I’ve been using to work towards a regular meditation practice.
Introduced to me by fellow nutritionist Sara Best, Headspace is the gold standard for beginners. They offer a free 10 day challenge that guides you through the basics while building a daily practice, free of any woo-woo. Paid membership unlocks hundreds of guided and unguided meditations. Choose from simple timed meditations or by subjects such as anxiety, fear of flying or deepening relationships. I loved their pregnancy meditations when I was expecting!
This was my intro to meditation. Like Headspace the app offers a beginners program and a variety of meditations that focus on specific subjects. What I like about Calm is their “calm breaks.” Pick a soothing scene such as a beach or peaceful meadow, set a timer and enjoy a little insta-zen. The app always seems to send me a notification asking “are you ready for some calm?” exactly when I feel like I’m about to melt down.
3. Insight Timer
Insight Timer is still new to me but I’m pretty excited about it. If I had one complaint about Headspace it would be the monotony. On Insight Timer you can choose from a variety of guides and styles. You can also set up a custom timer that allows you to select your duration and any sounds you’d like to listen to before, during and at the end of your session. I’ve only dipped my toe into this app but I have a feeling it’s going to make its way into regular rotation.
4. Meditation Oasis Podcast
While Meditation Oasis does offer a few different apps, I’ve been listening to the free podcast. The Relax Into Sleep Guided Meditation is amazing… Or at least the three or four minutes I’ve managed to actually listen to before drifting off to sleep is amazing! I often feel pressure to get to sleep as fast as possible to maximize my sleep time before my baby wakes up for a night feed, which is probably the worst thing you can do to try to fall asleep. I like that this meditation releases the pressure to get to sleep and teaches you how to simply luxuriate in rest.
I would love to hear if you’ve developed a meditation practice and what tools, if any, you put to use to help you out! And if you try any of these apps be sure to let me know on Twitter @amandalaird or on Facebook!