As much as technology can distract us, it can also provide tools to strengthen our attention.
Here are three mobile applications that have helped develop and support my mindfulness practice.
I used this to develop a daily sitting practice. Headspace offers a free 10-day trial which is perfect for beginners. The “basics” comprises 10 guided meditations for 10 minutes a day, with short videos that offer a true and simple introduction to meditation. It’s led by Andy Puddicombe, a former Tibetan Buddhist monk with a British accent that took me a while to adjust to (you can now choose a different voice if you prefer). Here is a great talk by Andy:
I use Insight Timer to track my self-guided practices and to explore the practical applications of mindfulness in daily life, like setting goals and deepening relationships. This platform invites users to create content, so it has a huge variety of contemplative practices. It can be fun and rewarding to explore, though be discerning about who you allow yourself to be led by. I particularly enjoy Christina Sian McMahon’s visualisations of sacred partnership and the Sonic Yogi’s Tibetan singing bowls.
Insight Timer also has a social network aspect that can be motivating and supportive – you can make mindful friends and join groups that meditate together around the world.
Calm is a sensory treat, with beautiful gifs and soothing background sounds. More curated than Insight Timer and very similar to Headspace, it offers a variety of contemplative practices including guided and themed meditations, sleep stories and music. It is tailored for kids with lullabies and meditation for five age groups, from 3-17 years old. Calm is free to schoolteachers so that they are equipped to teach meditation, which is becoming part of the modern school curriculum.
Choose your mindfulness adventure
All three apps are free to try out. I suggest starting with the Headspace 10-day course, then using Calm or Insight Timer to explore different aspects of the practice – as relevant to your interests and circumstances. However, while these might be interesting tools, the apps will only take you so far. Remember that you are the expert on your own mind. You know what you need, and you will find what works for you. Comment below to let us know how you go!
Yagesh is an actuary and yogini, devoted to building a wellbeing economy. Contact her for personalised lessons or corporate workshops.