When I got my Iphone, not even two years ago, I traded up from a trac phone. A simple flip phone, that most days was buried at the bottom of my purse. Most months I never made it through a quarter of my minutes.
My smart phone opened up a whole new world to me. Facebook on the go, twitter, on the go, instagram, pictures, on the go. I was go go going. It didn’t take long before I was one of those people with her face buried in her phone, holding up an index finger, saying, “Just a minute.” to whomever I was with.
When I began my mindfulness journey last year I got pretty excited because there are a lot of apps out there that will help you with meditation and mindfulness. I’ve downloaded many, deleted some, and while the Facebook app has been deleted from my phone, there are 9 mindfulness and meditations apps I keep in a folder on my phone, so they are never more than a tap away.
Mindfulness App (free)
I love this app. It offers guided meditations, silent meditations (you can choose the length of time for your meditation). You can also choose the sound that starts and ends your meditation. My favorite part of this app though is the mindfulness notices. There are short notices already programmed in, like “take a deep breath” or “Be aware of your body right now”. You can set the time/day/sound that these messages will show up on your phone. They offer a fantastic way to come back to the present moment. I found them immensely helpful when I was beginning my mindfulness journey. You can also create your own mindfulness messages and add them to the list or use yours exclusively. You can also create your own personalized meditation, which is great as your practice grows and you want to go deeper.
Relax Melodies (free)
I don’t use this app all that much, but it is really fun to play with, and if you have trouble sleeping, it would be wonderful. This app helps you create relaxing ambient sounds. Choosing from the 50 different sounds, you can create, discover and mix your own music. Hanna loves to play with this one, and you can create some wonderfully meditative music. It also has a sleep timer, alarm and clock so it can be used to fall asleep and wake up on time.
Zazen Light (free)
This is probably the simplest of the apps I have on my phone, and the one I’ve used the longest and most often. It has 2 parts. A mindfulness bell and a timer. In the beginning I never turned the mindfulness bell off. I set it to go off every 60 minutes. Every hour a bell would ding, reminding me to take a second and be mindful. It was a time to check in with my breath, and simply remember to be in the present. The timer I also love because it’s so simple. Just set the time and go. I still use this timer when I’m doing breath meditation. I especially love to use it in the car when I am a few minutes early for school pickup. I know how much time I have, set the timer, and just focus on my breath to clear out the day and start fresh before I pick the kiddo up from school and start a new part of my day. There are multiple in app purchases you can make, but I’ve never made any.
Ho’oponopono Clean and Erase ($2.99)
Sometimes when you’re in a funk, worried, frustrated or otherwise in a not so great space it helps to have something to “break the state”, or snap you out of it. This is exactly what this app does for me. I am a lover of Ho’oponopono as it is, and this app is wonderful. You type in whatever is bothering you, and then choose a way to let it go. You can choose lifting off in a hot air balloon, flushing it down the toilet, letting the ocean wash it away, erasing it off the blackboard, or let the app pick for you. There is something so incredibly liberating about simply letting go of something that’s bothering you. I am one who has trouble letting go, I think it has to be HARD and DIFFICULT and Painful. This app proves me wrong every time. I love it.
Inspiration Now (.99)
This app comes from a fellow blogger, Mel from The Dizzy Mom. She and her husband created this app to help moms handle the rough days. This app is another great way to break state and open yourself up to solutions you might not have thought of. It is geared toward moms, and in particular moms who yell. When you feel yourself losing it you can open the app and choose from the options including, “I want to yell at my kids”, “I feel overwhelmed”, “I feel like a bad mom” and a few more. When you choose your option it gives you a tip, or an article to read, or a quote. The trick is to remember to use the app. When you do it definitely helps take you out of your frustration, and find a way to calm down and be the parent you really want to be.
This is a very cool app I’ve only found recently. It is very simple. It only does one thing, but it does that one thing really really well. It teaches you to breathe. You’d think after breathing from the moment we’re born we’d just know how to do it, but most of us don’t. This app will teach you to breathe deeply. When you first open it you run through doing a deep breath, so you’re using your own breathing when you do the exercises. (You can lengthen or shorten the inhale and exhale during every exercise). Before you start your session it will ask you how stressed you are (there’s a slider), then you’ll start. You can choose the background, the sounds you want to breathe to. When you start there will be a bar showing you how far into your inhale/exhale you are. I find the visual cue very helpful in regulating my breath. I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone. Learning how to breathe well is probably the best thing you can do for yourself (and your kids!)
Stop, Breathe & Think (free)
This is also a new app I only recently found and wish (wish wish) I’d found it sooner. This is the perfect (I mean perfect) app for beginning meditators. To begin the app asks you to stop and think about how your mind and body feel, right there in the moment. There is a “dim the screen for 10 seconds” button, and a bell rings when your time is up. Then you “check in”. It asks you how you’re feeling mentally, how you’re feeling physically, and then has you add some emotions you’re currently feeling. Based on your answers it offers you a variety of guided meditations. It also offers a self meditation timer if you don’t want to do any of the guided meditations.
When you’re finished it will keep track of the time you meditated and will track your time over the life of the app. This app is perfect to for kids. As soon as they can start identifying their feelings, I would totally get them started with this app. The app says it’s for middle schoolers and above, but I will definitely be sharing it with my 8 year old. I’d say she could have used this when she was 6.
I love that it is designed around you being present, identifying how you’re feeling, in the moment, and then providing support for what’s going on in that moment. I love this app. Guess what?! It’s free! Seriously. Go download it now.
My 21 Day Meditation Library
Every so often Oprah and Deepak Chopra do a free 21 day meditation challenge. I’ve participated in most of them, some more than others. The Desire and Destiny challenge really spoke to me. When the free challenge is over you have the opportunity to purchase the entire 21 days of meditation. Because it moved me so much I felt it was important to be able to go back and listen to those meditations again, so I purchased that session. They have just recently created an app to make it easy to get to your library. I love the centering thoughts, and the sanskrit mantra provided for each of the days of meditation. In fact, it was Day 3 of this series where I found my sacred mantra I now use daily for my meditation practice. I definitely recommend joining the next challenge. You can also look on the website to see all the past challenges and while you can’t listen to them for free any longer you can purchase any that look good to you.
This is one of the first meditation apps I got. The app is beautiful and easy to use. It provides you with multiple guided meditations you can use depending on your situation. Growing your Light with Gabrielle Bernstein, a Deep Rest meditation, meditations sounds. Quite a few lovely free meditations. I loved this app in the beginning because I didn’t know exactly how to get started with meditation, and guided meditations helped. There is a whole store of meditations as well, so you can find meditations on just about any topic you want to focus on. The meditations in the store run from $3.99 to $7.99. This is not my favorite app, but I’m a little sentimental, it was the first one I actually used so I keep it around, even though I’ve found much better apps, and rarely use it anymore.
Over the last year, I’ve gone back in my phone, over and over, weeding out things I downloaded over time. Yeah, I went a little crazy when I first got my phone. I may have decided to delete the Facebook app, but these meditation and mindfulness apps have made the cut. I love knowing I have tools at the ready no matter where I am. If you’re beginning your meditation journey I highly suggest your first download be Stop, Breathe and Think, if you just want a simple bell so you can meditation on your own, then grab Zazen light.
What’s your favorite mindfulness or meditation app?