…Plus a closer look at three meditation apps, especially for beginners.
“Meditation must be experienced to be understood. We can talk, read and think about it, but none of that comes close to the real experience.”
– Andy Puddicombe, Headspace
What are the benefits of Meditation?
- Research from Sara Lazar Ph.D. of Harvard University suggests that meditation can slow down the ageing process and prevent atrophy of certain areas in the brain.
- Meditation, stress reduction and relaxation go hand in hand, and together provide a whole host of health benefits, including improved immunity, cardiovascular health and reduction in blood pressure.
- Meditation helps develop mindfulness and self awareness, which in turn can increase compassion and reduce aggression towards others. Frequent meditators are more likely to stay cool, and step back from an argument.
- Meditation is akin to mental fitness. Meditators are more resilient, better able to focus and can stay on task despite distractions around them.
- Meditation makes you happier 🙂
How do you meditate?
Overall, As Andy from Headspace puts it, “Meditation is surprisingly straightforward. It’s our conditioning, expectations and preconceptions that make it seem more complicated.”
“Meditation is surprisingly straightforward. It’s our conditioning, expectations and preconceptions that make it seem more complicated.”
– Andy Puddicombe, Headspace
- Clear, practical guidance but with just enough silence for you to practice the techniques taught.
- You can change the length of each session, from 3 minutes to 10 minutes (and beyond for more advanced packs).
- Tracks your meditation stats, which you can share and compare with other Headspace users. I personally didn’t make use of this, but you might find it motivating to have a meditation buddy.
- You need to pay for the full version to get the full experience.
- Can be a lot of talking, which makes sessions often run longer than the selected time.
- Meditation in silence, no option for adding music or background sounds.
- Very simple and easy to use interface. There aren’t a heap of fancy topics or packs to sift through.
- Offers some cool features like videos, a reminder to keep you motivated and a meditation diary. The diary in particular encourages you to reflect and learn from your experience that day.
- Completely free!
- Less variety of sessions to choose from; all you get are the 12 steps and the 30 day challenge.
- The app is quite video-heavy which can be time consuming if all you want to do is meditate.
- You have to complete the 12 steps to unlock the 30 day challenge. No skipping ahead!
- Massive range of features including calming music, bedtime stories and loads of meditation packs on themes such as focus, gratitude and self-esteem.
- Regular emails to guide you through the various options of the pack, however this does get a bit Spammy as they start to push the Premium version.
- Handy features including a ‘mindfulness reminder’ and tracking your stats which you can share with anyone.
- Very few features are available for free.
- Cannot change the duration of the meditation session, or the background sounds.
- Meditations are heavily guided which can be frustrating, not allowing for space to develop your practice.
What has been your experience with Meditation? Have you tried any other meditation apps that you’d like to recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below!