By Montana Jade Hall

When you think of mediation, what image comes to your mind? Maybe you’re wondering if you could call your 30-minute run last Sunday a modern meditation. Perhaps you’re daunted by the picture of a slow scene that would take far too long to attempt, with candles, incense, and a calm mind.

You know it would be helpful, especially in the middle of this disjointed day to ease your stress and shortness of breath, yet with those prerequisites, you’re likely to add it to your “I’ll-get-to-it-later” list.

Based on studies that suggest meditation takes centre stage in the health and wellness realm, you imagine life would be a hell of a lot more together with a concentration that could rival Mr. Miagi’s chopstick skills. 

You remember a night, gathered around with your girlfriends, all sharing what was inspiring you at that moment when one of them brought up the reason for her soothed look and calm energy. Before the words were out of her mouth, you knew: meditation. And how does she do it? With her phone. You’d thought the whole idea was to unplug and set aside technology to connect and go deep, and yet, your answer had been within reach all along. 

Now that you’re aware 5-minute transcendence is possible with a few screen taps and a set of headphones, you’ll want to find the mindful-motivator best suited to you.

Here’s a list of five of the top free meditation apps that’ll guide you to enlightenment: 

1. Insight Timer 

The Insight Timer team has high hopes for the metaphysical space, and focus more on how many downloads convert to authentic meditators on the planet than the statistics. The app boasts a 63 percent use-rate in the US. From the 20,000 free guided meditations, both beginner and intermediate meditators will find themselves fulfilled. Their selection includes gong sounds, a free “learn how to meditate in 7 days” course, and a thousand sleep options that support your dreamland entry.

It’s an interactive app with mindful groups–a setting that allows you to see how many other people are meditating simultaneously–and a milestone chart that helps you track your personal progress.

Premium: $5 USD per month
iOs and Android 

2. Calm

Their small-scale team is a powerful force, and they’re on a mission to make the world happier and healthier. With over 700,000 five-star reviews, they’re attaining their vision through a broad selection of meditations, some of which are centred around mindful eating, anxiety release, and mindfulness at work.

You can find a host of 7- and 21-day mindfulness courses as well as a Calm Body feature that guides you through 10-minute movement classes. They’ve also brought back bedtime stories for adults; a section that alleviates your mind and helps you drift off into slumber while listening to narrations by famous voices such a Matthew McConaughey and Leona Lewis.  

Free Premium: $59.99 USD annually
iOS and Android 

3. The Breathing App 

This creation was a collaborative effort brought into existence by yoga teacher, author, and lecturer, Eddie Stern, and the world-renowned author, Deepak Chopra. The app discourages the idea that there is a “right” way to breathe; instead, it motivates you to find and settle into your own groove within the basic guidelines of Resonance Breathing.

To find your sense of serenity, you can customise your experience, whether it is audible with music cues or one of the visual options that shift in size or position to signal your breathing. The app aims to help you stunt your stress and find balance in your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

iOS and Android 

4. Stop, Breathe, Think 

This app encourages you to pause as you choose from a selection of emotions and become aware of how you’re feeling in the present moment. You’ll then receive personalised meditative options that guide you through your thoughts, emotions, and reactions.

Their meditative practices enable you and the other 4.5 million app holders to work on your mindfulness muscle, succumb to better sleep, and “slay your stress.” Adults, teens, and children alike can tap into the collective consciousness with the knowledge of how many people are meditating at the same time around the world. The app’s reach extends to Alexa and Slack for work and home use and is also a proud supporter of a non-profit organisation, Tools for Peace, to whom they give 10 percent of their net revenue. 

Free Premium: $9.99 USD per month
iOS and Android 

5. 10% Happier 

Originally started by Dan Harris, the app is designed specifically for the sceptic minded who are still interested in meditating and extending their self-care routine. The app’s intent is to cut through all the ethereal, crystal blessing, and smudge-stick waving ideals that surround this practice of peace. Instead, they soothe the mind with meditations that promote better sleep, stress relief, and inspire refreshing life perspectives.

All their meditative practices are led by professionals who guide users into this genuine habit with an added dose of humour. The brand has expanded to the podcast planes and blog sphere as well as the literary world with the book, 10% Happier, which regales Dan’s story about his discovery of meditation.

Free  Premium: $14 USD per month  iOS and Android 

Now that you’re equipped with a portable pocket meditation practice, you’ve got a bright future of balanced emotions, lower blood pressure, and improved PMS symptoms to look forward to.

There is no wrong way to meditate, whether you focus on your inhale and exhale, your ‘om’ chants, or drift off to sleep with Matthew McConaughey’s voice in your ear, this is just the beginning of your journey with this substantial and soulful practice.

As best-selling author and Buddhist meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg says, “mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” Nirvana is within reach!