We live in a world where almost any information we want, or need can be accessed or obtained through our cell phones and the internet. Lately, every time I look at my phone, I find myself becoming so stressed with the constant news updates about COVID-19, quarantine protocols, and even the idea of a country wide lock down. We as people often fear the unknown and this virus is one giant unknown. No one knows how long it will last, no one knows if we are being overcautious or not cautious enough. No one knows. Those three words are very nerve wracking. What we all need right now, is to try and find some ways to calm down, de-stress, and keep on pushing through. This will pass we just have to ride it out. I have been working on this blog post about meditation for a few weeks and was saving it for a future post. But right now, I think we could all use a little sense of calm and peace in our lives. So, here is my review of 3 meditation apps.
Meditation sounds so easy doesn’t it. Meditation is the process in which we train our minds to focus and redirect our thoughts to help increase awareness to ourselves and our surroundings. Just sit breathe and clear your mind. I have tried and failed many a time to just freely meditate on my own. I don’t know what it is, but I just need the verbal queuing for breathing and relaxing otherwise, my mind starts to wander to the list of things I have yet to do. As a busy bee in today’s society, I always struggle to fall asleep at night. So, a big thing I was looking for in these meditation apps was a section that focused on sleep and calming patterns before bed. I was open to sleep sounds for bed, meditations before bed, and breathing techniques. All three I had the chance to try and all three brought a sense of calm before bed allowing me to slip into the slumber, I needed to recharge for the busy days ahead. How lucky are we that there are apps that will guide us through meditations, breathing exercises, and act as sleep aides?
This is by far my favorite of all the meditation apps I have tried. The free version of the app offers a lot of different types of meditations. It offers series of meditations. The best one I have encountered so far is the introductory 7 session series that focuses on body awareness and breathing. Both things that re basics when it comes to mediating. I am looking forward to doing more series and continuing to learn more about meditation and how to improve my practice. Another nice thing about this app is it logs what you recently listened to and even pauses the meditation and saves your spot so you can pick up where you left off for the next time you are ready to meditate.
I especially love the sleep section of this app. It offers 20+ sounds and music’s that help lull anyone into slumber whether it be the soft pitter patter of rain or the gentle rolling of waves, there are plenty of sounds to help even the most restless sleeper find the calm. This app also offers a few stories which are good for kids at bedtime such as the “Velveteen Rabbit” and “Cinderella”, after all, what is better than a quick story time before bed.
This app does have some free content that is helpful when meditating but the best aspect I feel of the app is the live meditation sessions which unfortunately are a premium feature. The free app, however, is packed with plenty of great content. The basics course in meditation teaches a lot about the basic concepts that are vital to meditation. I really appreciated the section that focused on breathing patterns and getting the most out of your breath, it felt the most effective in creating a calming sense while meditating. I wish this app did have more free content, but my favorite content of this whole app is the ‘Doze” section of the sleep music. The nice thing is this app does allow you to track your journey and even invite friends that might want to journey with you. You can take part in shared meditations series so even apart you can meditate with those you love.
To me, the biggest draw of the Oak app was the simplicity. It offers only three sections sleep, meditation and breathing. The meditation section was helpful for beginners and experienced meditators. It offers basic courses that are guided along with unguided meditations for the more experienced people. The nice thing about this app, is it allows you to choose a background noise if any for the meditation along with a female or male narrator and the duration of the session consisting of 10 minutes-30 minutes.
I like the adaptability of this app the most. The sleep section of the app was also highly adaptable allowing the user to choose the length of the soothing noises they need to fall asleep and stay asleep. Most of the other apps capped at about 45 minutes to an hour. The Oak app maxed out at 24 hours. If you’re looking for an app and your main focus is soothing sleep noises, then this app is the one for you.
The breathing section of the app offers changeable breathing countdowns for inhales, exhales, and rest to provide the ultimate sense of relaxation during these stressful times. Breathing exercises are helpful aids for providing a sense of calm to the nervous system.
Bonus: Eternal Sunshine
This app unfortunately is not a meditation app. But it is a positive affirmation apps that regularly sends sweet short positive affirmations to add a bit of sunshine to the gloomy days. I really like this one because it sends at a variety of times so when I get the notification and I am not expecting it I can’t help but smile down at my phone. It forces me to take a second and just refocus my day on the positivity I receive and the positivity I give out to other people.
Another Added Bonus:
A sweet 10-minute guided meditation video from none other than are amazing yoga instructor Taylor. We sure do miss her relaxing voice during the soothing yoga in studio, so this is a special treat during the quarantine.