The Best Meditation Apps to Help You Stay Centered

Meditation on the go
Meditate anywhere with an app: Photo credit: laflor/E+ collection/Getty Images

In an age of constant connectivity and digital attachment, it can be difficult to unplug, unwind and de-stress. Even when a rare moment of peace and quiet presents itself, busy professionals often find themselves distracted by thoughts of to-do lists, schedules and endless obligations. That’s why mindfulness experts (not to mention a growing number of medical professionals) say it’s more important than ever to make time for meditation. The practice can increase focus, sleep quality, listening comprehension and even happiness, while reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.

To get started, there’s no need to climb a mountain or go on a silent retreat — beginning a daily meditation practice can be as simple as downloading an application on your phone and using it anywhere, any time. Here are four easy ways to enjoy some “om” even when you’re away from home:

Headspace

For iOS and Android – Free with option to upgrade

This app is available both online and off, and offers a fully customizable range of meditative experiences. Guided by the soothing British voice of mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe, users begin with a series of 10 free 10-minute sessions and are then given the option to subscribe and unlock a host of content to help them grow more accustomed to daily meditation. Does it work? Its 5 million subscribers would seem to suggest so.

Calm

For iOS and Android – Free with option to upgrade

Focusing as much on serene visual scenes and tranquil sonic cues as it does on guided meditative sessions, this app encourages users to build and maintain “streaks” — practicing meditation daily for as many days as possible. Tracking the length and frequency of each session, the app incentivizes regular use with its goal-setting reminders.

Compatible with Chromecast and Apple TV, the app can be screened on a TV monitor, allowing you to transform a hotel suite or living room into a meditative space with calming images. For users who want to channel their meditation toward a singular issue, special guides are available for goals, like “Deep Sleep” and “Emergency Calm.”

Omvana

For iOS and Android – Free with option to upgrade

Realizing that different people unwind and reconnect with themselves in different ways, this app offers an array of options through its subscription service, including guided meditations, speeches, music and poetry from noted authors, spiritual celebrities and artists.

A free download comes with 25 beginner tracks, while upgrades include more than 500 specialized tracks geared toward topics such as relationships, concentration, sleep and even hypnosis to address smoking, snacking, anger, anxiety and other personal challenges.

Buddhify

For iOS and Android – $4.99 on App Store and $2.99 on Google Play

Calling itself “the mindfulness app for modern life,” this app unlocks more than 80 guided meditation tracks for one up-front price; this sets it apart from similar apps, most of which offer a few sessions for free and then prompt users to make in-app purchases to continue with new content.

For users who want to track their progress, Buddhify has feedback graphs and stats available 24/7, while those who wish to meditate without guidance from time to time can use a solo timer.

About the Author

Amy Lynch is a writer/editor whose work has appeared on Refinery29, The Hairpin and The Collective Quarterly, telling the stories of places that ignite conversation, projects that stimulate progress, and people who move the world forward. She lives in Austin, Texas.