Encyclopedia Britannica defines meditation as a private exercise that encompasses concentration, abstraction, or contemplation. The goal of meditation is to foster spiritual calmness. Relaxation is a crucial part of meditation as it helps to relieve muscle tension and stress. Traditionally, people had to visit places like yoga studios and meditation classes to get this experience. However, to cater for people with busy schedules and those without the finances, meditation apps were invented. In this post, we will be reviewing some of the best apps on the market suited for meditation and relaxation. If you would like to learn more about why mediation, mindfulness and relaxation is important, take a look at How to Take Time to Meditate during a Busy Day.
What Should You Look for in a Meditation and Relaxation App?
Indeed, meditation is vital for maintaining your wellbeing. For this reason, if you prefer to use an application (app), you should choose an excellent app that can help you achieve your goal. Below are some factors that you should consider when choosing the best app for you, paid or free:
Ease of Use
The ease of use of a meditation and relaxation app depends on the level of guidance that the app provides. For instance, a good meditation and relaxation app should guide you through the exercises. The app should work in such a way that you will be okay to use it, whether or not you have an instructor or are taking the exercises alone. Also, you want an app that is not annoying in such a way that there are too many instructions in between that may interrupt your process. The best app is one that guides you at the start, allows you time to get into the exercises, and maybe offers more instructions when switching from one routine to another. Also, you should check if you can get one with the skip option for the instructions.
Perhaps one of the best features of a meditation and relaxation app is that it allows you to customise your experience. However, it would be wise to go for an app that gives you just enough customisation capability that you to change certain features but still offers a level of guidance that allows you to gain the most benefit. Some features that you should be able to customise include the sounds or music, as well as the duration of the exercises.
For some of the best apps for meditation and relaxation, you may be forced to invest some money. However, some apps are free yet reliable too. Still, these free apps will often get to a point where you will no longer be able to use them without paying a fee. Such apps only offer you free services for a specific amount of time. This factor does not take away from the fact that some of these apps are quite impressive. When choosing between paid and free meditation and relaxation apps, consider your budgetary needs. The cheapest apps cost about $5 per month on average.
On the other hand, some are as costly as $300. However, such costly apps are paid for only once in a lifetime. Make sure to look at different apps and compare their prices and features before you decide on which one to use.
Is it a Visual or Audio App?
Meditation and relaxation apps can either be visual or audio, and some offer both elements. When choosing which of the two will suit you best, consider whether you are more of a visual or an audio learner. An audio app will require you to listen to instructions about the exercises and figure out how to bring them to reality on your own. Is this something that you are sure to accomplish without failure? On the other hand, visual apps will only provide you with visual instructions that you have to follow. It is worth noting that most meditation and relaxation apps offer both visual and audio elements that allow you to listen and watch the instructions for a better experience.
Audio-based mediation apps are suited for relaxation exercises that you can do while in the comfort of your bed or while travelling, perhaps to work? On the other hand, visual ones are suited for the home practice where there is more privacy to watch and follow the instructions.
Reviews of the Best Mediation Apps in the Market
Below are some of the best meditation and relaxation apps in the market:
1. The Mindfulness App
This app works well both on Android and iPhones. It is an ideal meditation app for both newbies and beginners. The app comes with a five-day guided practice and instruction that is set to help you get started. It also features three to thirty-minute silent meditation elements that are suitable for people with busy and not so busy schedules. Other impressive features of the app include personalised meditation solutions, reminders, and statistics that help to track your progress.
2. Stop, Breathe and Think
This is also a highly rated relaxation and meditation app that is based on users’ emotions. People can use the app to identify how they are feeling, take care of issues like anxiety, and reduce stress. It offers yoga videos and acupressure videos that help with relaxation. Users can also track their moods and wellbeing using the app.
The Cost: It is free to use for the foundation meditations. There is also an option of two premium memberships to unlock premium content within the app. The cost is around £8/month or £48/year for the premium auto-renewing subscription. There is also an option for kids. Download from App Store or Google Play
Headspace is one of the most well known meditation and relaxation apps suitable for both beginners and professionals. The app is designed with calmness, wellness, and balance in mind. It offers guided meditation and mindfulness techniques that you can use during the day. For a nighttime routine, Headspace offers up to 10 new sleep music tracks and 16 sounds from nature. The app is also suitable for creating personalised meditation plans with ultimate guidance. This app is suitable for both Android and iPhones.
The Cost: It has a 2 week free trial if you opt for the annual membership which costs £49.99 per year (thats £4.17/month) or a 1 week free trial for monthly memberships costing £9.99/month. Download from App store or Google Play
4. Insight Timer
Insight Timer is one of the top-rated free meditation apps in the app store. The application provides guided meditations sourced from more than a thousand different meditation instructors from across the globe. Currently, it has more than five million downloads globally. Some of the most impressive features of Insight Tome include customisable bells and soothing ambient sounds. The sounds help to keep your meditation routine on track. The app also allows all its users to interact through its insight groups. In the groups, the app community gets to discuss topics like spirituality and wellness, among others. The app also keeps track of your stats and milestones.
5. Ten Percent Happier
This meditation app is designed with busy people in mind. Unlike the majority of the other apps in the market, Ten Percent Happier allows its users access to online courses, video tutorials, and guided meditations from different teachers and scientists across the globe. For a better-customised experience, Ten Percent Happier requires all its users to take a short quiz before downloading the application. The information collected during the quiz is used to create a customised experience. Since it is designed for people with a busy schedule, the company also offers a Ten Percent Happier podcast through which users can catch up on missed sessions.
This is another well known and popular app option for meditation and relaxation. Similarly to Headspace, you are taught how to meditate through a guide of sessions. It also offers guidance on breathing techniques and stories to help you sleep better at night. You can choose different lengths of these mediations or stories to suit your time needs. It also has the likes of the very calmed voice Stephen Fry, singer Leona Lewis, former tennis champion John McEnroe and famous actor Matthew McConaughey.
This popular meditation and mindfulness app was designed for people with limited time and busy lives. It has a good experience too. With sessions lasting from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, and over 80 sessions to listen to, there is no excuse not to take a moment for your self amongst the chaos that may surround you. It also offers several different scenarios to fit in with what you are doing at the time. From trying to sleep, having a break from work or a stroll in a busy city.
The Final Word
The apps discussed in this post were selected because of their high ratings both on Apple Store and Google Play Store. Each of these apps has a perfect rating on one or both of these platforms. The reviews from clients were also taken into account when making this list.