Every day, new reports come out about how meditating can help improve physical health by helping manage our mental health. The benefits of meditation for coping with stress and illness are so well-documented that many companies are encouraging employees to meditate during work hours. This has even had visible effects on insurance and medical expenditures.
Many types of spiritual practices have emerged online, especially during the COVID pandemic. However, meditation has been available online in different forms, from meditation classes to apps on mobile devices, to one-shot meditation sessions.
Although there are many types of meditation, the most common ones sought out are guided sessions, where a host leads the practice by providing cues. However, there are a lot of practices that we often don’t think of as meditation. We often imagine a cross-legged monk in serene contemplation on a tall Himalayan mountain after years of study.
We don’t imagine that we can learn meditation on our own, or that it is as simple as just being in the present moment while taking a walk or engaging in an absorbing task. Some practices let the mind wander, some meditations demand focus and concentration, and some types ask that practitioners simply self-observe.
Some common types of meditation include:
With the internet has become easier than ever to locate apps and videos that guide you through meditation and other practices. It is important to find a program you are comfortable with such as those that offer meditation for beginners along with those that help you expand your practice with the next steps. Online meditation is one of the many ways the Internet has brought healthy practices into our homes.
YouTube has numerous guided videos available from a variety of sources, from Sharon Salzberg, the psychologist who first studied loving-kindness meditation, to your local tai chi studio’s Thursday afternoon session. You can meditate for free using any practice you want by seeking it out on a video platform. In fact, many practices are conducted live using social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
Some studios even transmit directly on their websites, as do many spiritual and religious organizations that promote the practice. Many of them hold classes, one-on-one or in small groups, over videos apps that are similar to telemedicine visits.
Since many meditations require closed eyes, the important thing about guided meditation is the soundtrack and the relaxing background music. Guided meditation audios can be found online as well, both for free and by subscription. Some are in podcasts, such as those narrated by Dan Harris, while others are in the same places videos can be found. Spotify and other audio apps have audios included in their free libraries.
Many meditation apps have been developed for use both at home and on the go. Some unlikely apps that don’t specialize in meditation also have some great practices, videos and audios that can be useful in both beginner and advanced practice. Often, these apps offer free trials with basic lessons that allow the practice to be established before getting into deeper methods.
This app covers many topics for daily meditation with nature sounds while acknowledging that the mind wanders during meditation. It offers its users programs to learn the basics, to address issues such as grieving and depression, and to practice techniques that enhance focus and creativity. It is created and narrated by Buddhist monk Andy Petticombe.
The top competitor to Headspace, Calm has the same kind of scholarship behind it in the form of contributions from numerous mindfulness experts. Smooth-voiced celebrities guide the sessions, which are divided into categories based on the intent of the meditation.
Technically a mental health app intended to assist with anxiety and depression, Sanvello has guided sessions that are focused on calming the mind in times of stress. Sessions involve walking, mindfulness, and self-soothing techniques. Although its focus is on mental health, its meditation library can be used by anyone, and its free trial is packed with Zen gems.
Yes, the app we all love for music also has numerous meditation podcasts in both its paid and free libraries. Some of the other apps, such as Headspace and Calm, also have channels on Spotify where they share select and popular meditations for Spotify subscribers. Spotify also has a lot of music channels specifically focused on sounds and melodies that facilitate the practice.
The most important part of establishing a meditation practice is making sure it is practiced routinely. Many people think they don’t have time to incorporate meditation into their lives, and Simple Habit’s 5-minute sessions offer a solution for busy people to enjoy the benefits of the practice.
Since it divides its sessions by age, workplace or classroom, and other practical parameters, this app has found its way into schools and workplaces.
One of the biggest strengths of Insight Timer is that it relies on psychology experts in mindfulness rather than spiritual experts. It combines many of the types of practice in one useful app and even monitors your progress.
Even adults need a bedtime story to help them fall asleep. Sleep stories are a common form of sleep meditation and Bedtime Stories is one of the most popular sleep story apps available.
Since meditation deals with individuality and spirit, finding the right practice means exploring different types of practices. For some people, loving-kindness reminds them to be grateful for their presence in their lives, while for others it may be preferable to use tai chi as a practice to connect the mind more closely with the body. Each person’s priorities when approaching practice are what should determine which practice they use.
It’s also possible to use different types to complement one another, such as using one’s spiritual practices to enhance a mindfulness practice. While choosing the right meditation practice is an individual choice, practitioners shouldn’t feel like they can only choose one.
Another important thing about practicing is that interruptions are undesirable. When those interruptions are a result of Internet lag, it can be frustrating to your practice. Especially if you are using videos to guide you through moving meditations, you should ensure that your Internet is fast, reliable, and the best you have available to you. There’s no need to meditate on who the most reliable Internet company in your area is: simply put your zip code here or call 1-833-933-2468 to compare your Internet and find the best deals.