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How to Choose a Mindfulness App

With mindfulness and meditation becoming so much more popular, there are a tons of apps to choose from (not to mention hundreds of channels on YouTube). How do we decide which ones we should use? Are some better than others? Being new to meditation might make this decision even harder. And aside from meditation, yoga is a part of mindfulness as well, so then what do we look for in those apps?

To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The first app that was ever recommended to me was Headspace, and it was a suggested from my naturopathic doctor. I was later also given a free 1 year membership for it when I was volunteering at Kids Help Phone. While the free version of Headspace was okay (the version I was given later was better), it didn't hit home with me (and yet it is one of the best rated meditation apps out there!). Does this mean I don't think the app is good? No. Actually it's a really good app that a lot of people enjoy. It just might not have been the right one for me. And so, I used free trials/versions of a few different apps to find the right fit - which is ultimately what I consider you do as well.

There are a few things you might want to take into consideration:

  • Price - while most apps offer a free version, many also have a paid version with more content. Depending on where you are in your meditation practice this may or may not be worth it, and finding something within your budget is important.

  • Variety - there are some apps out there that make it onto these "best meditation app" lists that only offer 5 minute meditations, or a certain style of meditation, or just one or two meditation teachers. This can be great to start, and yet looking forward to where your practice might go can be useful. Having different lengths and styles of meditations, and a variety of meditation teachers can help you progress your practice.

  • Ease of use - some apps are better for 'on-the-go,' some apps are less complicated than others. Depending on your familiarity and techno-savvy skills you may find some apps just easier to use overall.

All that said, the three best meditation apps that I've found are Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer.

When it comes to Yoga apps, I would look at the same categories - price, variety, and ease - especially because using an app is very different than going to an in-person class.

I have a 30-day 5-minute meditation challenge on YouTube you can check out for free, by following this link. Even if you do the challenge, it's always good to try some meditations by different teachers as well!


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