Best Zen Apps

Bob Roberts
• Tuesday, 19 January, 2021
• 8 min read

Many found meditation to be a huge help in quarantine, and even when we get to go back outside, the ancient practice will remain as the best way to find some inner peace. The method is based on “transcending,” which allows you to escape your level of awareness into deep bliss.

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Many have found the method to produce the highest level of tranquility and peace of mind. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi crafted this platform for the greater good and to help others reach new heights in health and wellness.

Wood knows life is filled with twists and turns, but meditation has been her leading light to get back on track. Her focus on alignment, breath and peace makes for the ultimate meditation flow.

The Affirmation Pod bring the daily motivation you need to hear, free of charge. The voice behind the platform, Josie ONG, gives talks ranging from “What Do You Say When You Look in the Mirror?” to “Releasing Judgements on Yourself.” Whether you are brushing your teeth in the morning, on a walk or getting ready for dinner, these podcasts are the perfect dose of gratitude and inspiration.

Elmore likes the Calm app when she's feeling choosy about her meditation practice. After all, the app provides guided sessions ranging in time from 3 to 25 minutes.

“There are new meditations every day, progress trackers, and seven-day and 21-day programs for beginners,” Elmore says. Experts across the board agree that Insight Timer is prime when it comes to choosing a meditation app.

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“This app has many of the most experienced mindfulness teachers on it, and allows you the freedom to pick and choose depending on how long you have to practice, what style you'd like (e.g. body scan, loving kindness, anxiety/stress reducing, etc. Fans of Aura like it for its daily meditations, life coaching, nature sounds, stories, and music, which are all personalized based on the mood you select when you open the app.

There's also an option to track your moods and review patterns in how you feel, and set reminders to breathe and take breaks for mindfulness throughout the day. Sativa is a mindfulness app that draws its medications from ancient Vedic principles.

In addition to 6-minute-plus guided meditations, the app features “sacred sounds, chants, mantras and music by Sanskrit scholars.” Sativa is perfect for anyone looking to get more in touch with the history and origin of meditation in addition to starting their own practice.

Plus, you can customize your workout by choosing the length, teacher, and/or level you want, as well as a variety of topics and focal points that can help you zero in on specific meditation goals, Cruikshank says, adding that the app is a great option for new or experienced meditators. The main focus of the app is to help you reduce stress and anxiety and get better ZZZ.

It's a tailored experience, and even the names of the playlists feel hyper personalized (think Tinder Troubles, Study Chill, Overcoming Your Fears). Buddhify offers over 200 meditations to help with issues like anxiety, stress, sleep, pain and tough emotions, and you can pick from multiple teachers so the voice and style resonates with you.

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The big perk of Buddhist is that is has mindfulness exercises that you can do anywhere, and that ares super specific (for traveling, at work, waking up, eating, and spending time online). Smiling Mind was developed by psychologist to encourage mindfulness practice as a pillar of wellness, much like daily exercise, good sleep, and healthy eating The app has simple 10-minute daily meditations, which are broken into categories by age (7 – 9, 10 – 12, 13 – 15, 16 – 18, and adults).

Simple Habit features five-minute meditations from top mindfulness experts at Google to former monks, so there's a little of something for everyone. Based on the book by the same name (by ABC news correspondent Dan Harris) the 10% Happier app is perfect “for the skeptic who is not sure that they want to meditate,” according to Elmore.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Once you open the app, which has been downloaded more than 50 million times, you're invited to complete the Daily Calm or locate a meditation more specific to soothing what you have going on: anxiety, stress, a desire to break bad habits, etc.

If Simple Habit is for busy bees, Aura is for hustlers who have barely enough free time to read this blurb. For anyone else who maybe needs a way to help quickly calm their nerves before a date, soothe their worries during an airline takeoff, or get jolted out of a moment’s panic, Aura may be a good choice.

Its collection of three-minute sessions and 30-second anxiety busters are designed to save you from such intense situations. The point of the app is this: Chaos will reign, but with a little help from its gratitude, joy, and love meditations, you can indeed become just a bit happier.

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The actual Ins cape is a meditation studio in NYC with sound and smells capes designed to instantly transport its members to tranquility. It offers the usual suspects: guided meditations, custom sleep sessions, stress reducers, and the like.

Categorized by life’s moments (Tinder Troubles, Overcoming Your Fears, Study Chill), each little melodic meditation has your back. It’s a lot harder to find a quality meditation app that is in its entirety free.

A multifaceted gateway to more than 30,000 guided sessions that tap into every emotion rattling your nerves, it also offers relaxing music tracks, a section for kids, and therapeutic pep talks from the likes of Indian yogi Sadhus and psychotherapist Anthony Demerol. Though many meditation apps require your credit card number before offering anything truly helpful, the Stop, Breathe & Think app has a fairly robust slate of meditations completely free.

Every time the app is opened, it invites you to check in with your feelings; you fill out a quick survey that leads you to a choice of meditations tailored to your needs on that particular day. Buddhist, a family-run app, isn’t saying you should quit your job and move to Tibet.

Meditations, chants, mantras from Sanskrit scholars: This app is for serious Zen seekers only. In addition to guided meditations led by the top experts in the industry and mental wellness high-fives like trophies and progress trackers, Sativa taps into your physical health too.

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It’s equipped with a heart rate monitor and a mood tracker, meaning you can see in the palm of your hand the effects of your practice on your health. “When I am suggesting it to clients, the fact that it’s free is a wonderful perk for someone who’s just starting out and doesn’t want to sign on any dotted line,” explains Andrea Water, a licensed therapist and author of several books.

Meditation teacher Lord Ringer, author of The Buddha Walks into a Bar and Love Hurts: Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken, adds that “it cultivates a sense of community.” Insight Timer features “really user-friendly ways to search out recordings based on length and topics of interest,” she says.

There are 50 or so veteran instructors with different backgrounds (you'll find Zen Buddhist monks alongside child psychologists and addiction recovery specialists) so you can pick the voice that speaks to your best, or mix it up. What Ringer likes about this app is its full courses, so you can “go on a journey with a particular teacher,” if you find one you love.

Created by the bestselling positive psychology writer Dan Harris, this app has a real-world, non woo-woo vibe to it. “They also have a 'coach' function where you can ask a live human any questions that arise during your meditation path,” says Ringer.

Whether you're curious about meditation or are looking for a new app to try, Simple Habit is a wonderful choice that we seem to go back to again and again. One of our favorite features is the on-the-go meditation sessions, allowing you to get some peace while taking a break at work, during your commute, or right before bed.

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This top meditation app is accessible to beginners, teaching you how to breathe and stay in the present moment. It also has a wide selection of peaceful music and even bedtime stories, which, speaking from experience, really do lull you to sleep.

Complete a short survey of questions based on how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally before receiving several recommended exercises to try. If you're limited for time, no worries: These sessions are just a few minutes long, but will still give you a sense of peace once you're ready to go back into your routine.

Unplug Meditation started as drop-in studio classes before expanding into an app for anyone to download and enjoy. Atari, who trained at an Unplug studio to get her meditation certification, says she loves this app because of its curated library and wide selection of teachers.

Teachers at MN DFL come from varying backgrounds, such as Tibetan Buddhist and Shamble, so you can try them all and see if you want to take a deeper dive into a style that works for you. Cost: FREE, although the MN DFL Video app is $9.99/mo or $79.99 per year for unlimited access.

A soothing female voice will talk you through a relaxing meditation that encourages you to “simply be.” This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.

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Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., a psychologist and creator of the Mindful Living Collective, likens learning to meditate to riding a bike. Just as you owned your neighborhood once you got the hang of pedaling, meditation, Goldstein says, “allows you to gain more confidence around managing your stress and emotions” over time.

“The idea of us being able to magically stop our thoughts from happening isn't realistic,” says Josephine Atari, a certified meditation instructor. By focusing on your breathing, Atari says it will ground you back to the present moment, which eventually becomes second nature when you're out in the world.

While research is ongoing, various styles of meditation can help lessen pain, lower blood pressure, and dial down anxiety and depression, according to the National Institutes for Health. And right now, in the middle of a mega-stressful pandemic and an unpredictable political and economic situation, research suggests that “Meditation and mindfulness are practices that can support healthcare professionals, patients, carers and the public,” a researcher wrote in May in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine.

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