News & Politics

4 Helpful Meditation Apps

Meditation may be an ancient art, but these modern-day apps and podcasts can help those new to the practice.

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Simply Being

by Meditation Oasis ($1.99)

True to its name, this guided-meditation app keeps the process simple. The female voice is soothing; it lulls rather than leads. You can choose a 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-minute meditation and select relaxing music, nature sounds, voice only, or a mix.


By Ron Mileikowsky (free)

This app encourages slow breathing. Select how long you want your inhalations and exhalations to last. (The maximum is ten seconds.) Then close your eyes and allow the music and sounds—one tone for an inhale, another for an exhale—to guide you.

Headspace Meditation (for Commuting)

By Andy Puddicombe (free)

Who says getting to and from work in this traffic-snarled region has to be stressful? Not Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk whose easy, non-preachy narration during this ten-minute podcast encourages mindfulness on your commute. You’ll focus on in-the-moment sensations such as the feel of the steering wheel in your hands or the soles of your feet on a crowded train. Other Headspace podcasts include mindful walking, eating, and even sleeping.

Free Guided Meditations

By the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

This lovely series of podcasts comes in varying lengths. If you’re new to the practice, we recommend starting with the five-minute breathing meditation. Prepare to be lulled by a soothing female voice urging you to “feel the sensation of breath” and “be kind to yourself.” There’s an easy-to-understand 19-minute tutorial on meditation for those who want more foundation first.

This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

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