Meditation is something I’ve been REALLY leaning into over the past few months. I’ll be honest with you, before the pandemic I had a pretty irregular meditation practice. It’s not always easy to remember when things get busy. Sometimes when I’m in the thick of life, the thought of sitting down quietly for a few minutes sounds like the very last thing on earth I want to do.
But recently I’ve been trying to meditate more often. My anxiety over the past few months has been much higher than usual. If I’m being real with you, my disconnect from my everyday studio yoga practice has taken its toll on me mentally. Some days I’m great, and others I have a hard time even getting out of bed.
I used to think meditation was some “woo-woo” thing people did, but after creating a regular practice, I’ve realized it’s so much more than that. Meditation has helped me learn tools to deal with anxiety and waves of depression in my everyday life. It has helped me overcome self-limiting beliefs, helps me sleep better, concentrate, be present, and slow down when I find myself doing too much as fast as I possibly can. Even just a few minutes a day can make a HUGE difference in my mood and mental wellbeing.
I’ve been experimenting with several different apps, and today I’m sharing my most used guided meditation smartphone apps. Some of my finds may surprise you!
Here are 7 of my favorite guided meditation apps:
YouTube is one of my favorite places to find amazing guided meditations that are 100% FREE. YouTube has a huge variety of classes from chakra alignment to sleep, gratitude, affirmations, anxiety help, and much more. Meditations can range anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on what you’re looking for. Here are the channels for my favorite healers and meditation instructors:
Headspace is a meditation app I downloaded just after the stay at home order was initiated, and I have used it almost every single day since then. I am obsessed with this app. They have tons of options for guided meditations that do more than just guide you through and pass you to the next video. Each video is set up into sections of 10 or more classes that build onto one another. For example, I have been listening to a daily anxiety management meditation course that has 3 levels (learn, practice, master) of 10 meditations each, which range from 10 – 30 minutes. The classes focus on breathing techniques, as well as other tools you can use to help manage your anxiety in everyday life.
They have guided meditations for sleep, depression, focus, impatience, worry, doubt, motivation and so much more. The only downside is that they are on the pricier side. There are a handful of free, introductory classes available. However, to access the mediation sessions beyond that the app costs $12.99 per month or $95 for an annual subscription (about $8 per month).
*I also want to give a big shout out to Headspace for offering a free 6-month subscription to those who were laid off during the pandemic. Kudos to them and using their influence for something that can truly help those who need meditation the most right now!
Calm is another meditation app I love with some added unique features. For one, they offer a “Meditation of the day” which changes from day to day. Each day focuses on a different topic and offers tools you can use to help with anxiety, reducing stress, increasing happiness, building self-esteem, etc. They also offer other features on the app besides guided meditations such as music, nature sounds, and other calming soundtracks to help you focus or sleep. I also love that Calm provides daily reminders that it’s time to meditate. It’s so easy to forget to meditate when life gets busy, and I love having the reminder at the same time every day.
They have a YouTube channel if you want to get a taste of what the app has to offer. You can try a free 7-day trial of the app, and then its $70 per year.
Aura is a meditation app with large range of topics to participate in guided meditations with. Topics include: Reducing stress, sleeping better, improving focus, parenting, love and relationships, personal growth and more. When you open the app, Aura asks you how you’re feeling and will tailor the meditations to your mood. I really like that you can change the background sounds during the meditation including ocean, rain, campfire, river, birds, etc.
One of my favorite features of the app is their storytelling and life coaching feature. If you enjoy listening to short stories about little life lessons that will uplift you, or even to act as background noise while you fall asleep – definitely check this app out!
You can try a free 7-day trial, and then its $60 per year for unlimited meditations, life coaching, stories, and music.
5. Chill Anywhere
Chill Meditation is both an app and a physical brick-and-mortar meditation studio located here in Chicago. They offer virtual guided meditations, but they are very unique in the fact that their studio offers in-person guided meditations as well. They have a huge range of instructors that teach a variety of styles, including meditations for productivity, leadership, focus, creativity, rest, and stress/anxiety. I love that you can set reminders on the app to notify you when you want to meditate each day, and you can track your overall progress. They also have a large library of short & free IGTV mediations on their Instagram account that range from 2 minutes – 15 minutes.
You can try a free 14-day trial of the app, and then it’s $129 per year for unlimited meditations, or $19.99 per month. They also offer several different membership packages for their physical studio if you’re interested in going in person. You can see those price packages HERE.
6. Insight Timer
Insight timer is basically a hub for hundreds of meditations teachers to upload their content and create channels. I love that they offer guided meditations, but also non-guided meditation timers where you can choose what kind of sound bath you want to hear while meditating on your own. If you are looking for an app with a TON of free meditations, this one is for you.
The subscription is available annually for US$59.99/year, or monthly for US$9.99/month
Yup – Spotify has guided meditations! Along with music and podcasts, Spotify also has some pretty great meditation instructors. There are a number of cool features I really enjoy about Spotify. The first is that you can find pre-made playlists when you search for “Guided Meditations” and you can choose between just music, music and talking, meditation for anxiety, meditation for self-improvement, chakra healing, breathwork, relaxation, etc.
Spotify Premium costs $9.99 per month for ad-free service and access to its music library.
I would love to hear if you’ve found any apps that I didn’t include on the list! Let me know your favorites in the comments below!
*Please note: This post is not sponsored. All apps and classes listed are ones that I recommend from my own personal use & experience