Let’s take a deep breath and get rid of the first apparent paradox: connecting to your smartphone to… meditate, isn’t that a contradiction? Even if the debate remains open, many great practitioners have converted. Beyond appearances, technology can be used for better or worse.
Of course, you have to find enough strength within yourself to turn on your smartphone, try not to see the three message notifications on WhatsApp and two “breaking news” alerts to tell yourself, “I can’t, I’ve got meditation.”
Another downside: if you’re on level 3 of your digital detox, decked out in a reinforced aluminum jacket, this may not be the best option. With time, you can do without it and improvise, alone, your meditation sessions, including while walking. Moreover, initiating oneself through group sessions remains very effective. Finally, silence is priceless. The best apps leave silent pauses during the session or at the end to encourage concentration.
By the way, why meditate? Jon Kabat-Zin, who “invented” contemporary meditation, likes to quote this sentence from Pascal (Pensées 1): “All the misfortune of men comes from one thing only, which is not knowing how to remain at rest in a room.” In the meditation application designed by another master thinker, Christophe André, the practice is defined as follows: “To stop for a moment from being agitated, anticipating, ruminating, and to fully inhabit the present moment, that is what mindfulness meditation is all about.”
Neither a miracle cure nor isolation from the world’s tumult and one’s own emotions: meditation is about suspending time and focusing on our body and mind, here and now. The benefits of this trendy brain gym? Calming stress, tension, regulating our emotions, and strengthening our concentration. If you stick to it for a while, with sessions of 20 minutes a day, the first benefits can appear very quickly. For me, mediation is like a breath of fresh air or a helping hand. Like for a student who is overloaded with assignments, an unexpected college paper help from a friend. For six months now, meditation has helped me remain calm and clear-headed and better understand and listen to myself.
Accessible to all and even from your smartphone, meditation requires little time and allows you to achieve many goals: live in the present moment, listen to your body, relax, develop self-confidence, find meaning in your life.
A small overview of the main meditation applications.
Headspace, the star app of Silicon Valley. It’s hard not to mention Headspace, the app made in the USA that invented the genre. A word of warning: at $14,78 per month, it is one of the most expensive on the market. Founded by a former sports science student who gave up everything to become a Buddhist monk in Asia (before returning to California), Headspace claims 20 million users in 190 countries. Among them: the entire Silicon Valley establishment, starting with Sheryl Sandberg, number 2 at Facebook, not to mention stars like Jessica Alba and Jared Leto. Google and Linkedin offer it to their employees. The 550 hours of programs available are designed to meet absolutely every need. You can meditate while cooking, gardening, and before a job interview, and of course when you try to blow off steam during your rehab – this is the United States.
Via a beautiful interface, the app offers you to follow all the data on your progress. You can also see how many people are meditating at the same time as you to encourage each other (24,000 simultaneously as I write these lines – still).
Plus: after each meditation, you are offered to activate several notifications, like reminders to meditate or delivered “mindful moments.” Practical, but a bit intrusive. Headspace works with athletes during the Olympic Games and partners with music streaming apps like Spotify. Clever.
2. Insight Timer
Insight Timer is the only truly free solution with quality content. This app allows you to access any online meditation session whenever you want. Insight Timer has a very active international community that regularly shares new audio recordings. You can choose between free meditation sessions (only with ambient sound) or guided (with a trainer).
You are bound to find what you are looking for, with sessions dedicated to morning rituals, relaxation, meditation to fall asleep, self-discovery.
The application also allows you to access your personal space to follow the regularity of your practice and send you notifications to stay on track in the long term.
Plus: This application is entirely free without subscription and the possibility to interact with a community
3. Mindful Attitude
Developed by a corporate coaching firm specialized in mindfulness, Mindful Attitude adapts to your schedule.
In addition to the introductory program (10 10-minute sessions), it offers 40 guided meditation modules corresponding to various concrete professional and personal situations: before a public speaking engagement, before an evaluation, during a coffee break, in front of your computer in a shared office, in transportation, while walking, to fall asleep… A nice touch: the evolution of your practice and your inner weather is carefully reported.
Plus: 100% free and is intended for working people, especially executives under a lot of pressure.
Mind is a French app with hundreds of meditation sessions and podcasts from 10 to 30 minutes.
The great meditator and teacher Martin Aylward and his “British” accent animate the beginner’s program in three steps: “Are you sitting comfortably? So let’s go! He also offers a live meditation every morning from Monday to Friday at 8 am.
11 thematic programs are available on Mind, hosted by Christophe André and Fabrice Midal, among others. Among the themes, we find creativity, anchoring, the relationship with the body, happiness, freedom, compassion… One of the other advantages of the application: 4 programs dedicated to children in the Kids section: guided meditations, yoga, stories, and games.
Mind offers a free 7-day trial with 7 guided sessions. You can then unlock all the programs for $8 per month or $79,56 per year. It is even possible to subscribe to a lifetime subscription for $204,62.
Plus: perfect design and beautiful graphics live session and program for children!
Namatata has been elected the best app of the year 2020. On this program: more than 400 meditations proposed, of 10 or 20 minutes. In addition to having a refined design, Namatata is an educational and very easy-to-use application.
The gentle voice of founder Antoine Gerlier will immerse you in the practice of meditation. You will then be able to improve your sleep, gain relaxation and regain self-confidence. Some sessions are adapted to your daily activities and will give you techniques to wake up, walk, eat… in full consciousness.
The discovery program is free for 7 days with 7 meditation sessions of 10 minutes, giving you the keys to learning the basics of the practice. To access the whole Namatata catalog, the price is $44,32 6 months.
Plus: Every subscription gives a free subscription to a person who needs it in the world.
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