The 12 Best Meditation Apps For 2020, According To Experts

Calmer days and better sleep are comin' your way.

Kristin Canning |

For something that’s supposed to mellow you out and leave you feeling refreshed, meditation can be kind of stressful sometimes: How do I do it? When should I do it? And for how long? Before long, you’ve given up on meditating and put on yet another episode of Cheer.

Still, the practice is undoubtedly good for you. According to the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation can help reduce stress, chronic pain (such as headaches), and blood pressure, as well as help you quit smoking and better navigate a variety of mental health conditions.

So, how do you finally buckle down and do it? Honestly, you should try an app. (No, really.) “Meditation apps are a great supplement to a mindfulness practice as they help you continue anytime, anywhere, putting the power of mindfulness in the palm of your hand,” says Pax Tandon, a mindfulness thought leader and author of Mindfulness Matters.

Curious what apps experts recommend for discovering your meditation groove? Here you’ll find your top choices, as well as why each one might work best for you.

1/ Headspace

“There are hundreds of guided meditations, mini-meditations, sleep sounds, SOS meditations for emergencies, meditations for kids and animations to help you better understand meditation,” says Lindsey Elmore, a pharmacist turned wellness expert (she’s known as “The Farmicist”).

Cost: Free with in-app purchases.

Where to find it: Apple Store and Google Play

2/ Calm

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. And with topics from calming anxiety to gratitude to mindfulness at work — as well as sleep sounds, nature sounds, and breathing exercises—you can really choose your focus. “There are new meditations every day, progress trackers, and seven-day and 21-day programs for beginners,” Elmore says.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play.

READ MORE: 7 Meditation Tips For People Who’ve Never Meditated In Their Lives

3/ Insight Timer

Experts across the board agree that Insight Timer is primo when it comes to choosing a meditation app.

“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.), or just set a timer and sit without guidance,” Tandon says.

Elmore says the app is her go-to because, in addition to the variety of guided meditations, the app has a tracker that allows you to chart your progress and earn badges that keep you coming back for more.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play.

4/ Aura

Fans of Aura like it for its daily meditations, life coaching, nature sounds, stories, and music, which are all personalised 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.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play

5/ Sattva

Sattva is a mindfulness app that draws its mediations from ancient Vedic principles. In addition to 6-minute-plus guided meditations, the app features “sacred sounds, chants, mantras and music by Sanskrit scholars.”

Sattva is perfect for anyone looking to get more in touch with the history and origin of meditation in addition to starting their own practice.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play

6/ YogaGlo

Tiffany Cruikshank, a registered yoga teacher and founder of Yoga Medicine®, says she loves the YogaGlo app because it has “a large variety of guided meditations to choose from with such well-respected teachers.”

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. Added bonus? You’ll also have access to teacher-led yoga classes within the app.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play.

7/ Ensō

Ensō isn’t necessarily for beginners. “For those well-versed in meditation, I love the Ensō app which has a simple timer that you can set with bells at different intervals to keep you alert and set a soothing endpoint to your practice,” Cruikshank says.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store

8/ Inscape

Inscape is a meditation studio in New York City, and the Inscape app is an extension of the zen room where teachers guide you through mindfulness practices. The main focus of the app is to help you reduce stress and anxiety and get better Zzzs. The meditations, music, and breathing exercises available show up as recommendations that are based on your goals, the time of the day, and your familiarity with meditating. It’s a tailored experience, and even the names of the playlists feel hyper-personalized (think Tinder Troubles, Study Chill, Overcoming Your Fears).

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store

READ MORE: 7 Ways To Use Meditation For Anxiety Relief

9/ buddhify

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. The big perk of buddhify is that it has mindfulness exercises that you can do anywhere, and that are super-specific (for travelling, at work, waking up, eating, and spending time online).

Cost: R79.99, plus in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play

10/ Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind was developed by a 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). There are also specific programmess for group use in the classroom and at work.

Cost: Free

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play

11/ Simple Habit

Simple Habit features five-minute meditations from top mindfulness experts at Google to former monks, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Not only can you get classic guided meditations, but you can also find coaching, motivational guides and bedtime stories. If you’re looking to feel better fast or on-the-go, this app makes it easy.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play

12/ 10% Happier

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 one has meditations aimed to help users with anxiety and sleep, and there is new content each week,” she says, adding that there is a free version, as well as a premium version with more than 500 vides and additional content.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Where To Find: Apple Store and Google Play

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READ MORE ON: Health Health Advice Meditation Mental Health

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