Sounds can be very helpful in meditation. Listening is a great way to focus your attention and stop your constant thinking for a while. When I am having trouble calming my mind and clearing my thoughts I always use sounds to focus on. In this blog I write about some meditation apps that I personally use.
Meditation apps can be very helpful. Of course you can listen to the sounds that are already there. Even traffic or playing kids can do the trick. A sound is a sound and you don’t need to label it as good or bad. But still: sounds like your neighbor using his high pressure cleaner or your kids fighting and throwing stuff around are not exactly calming the mind.
It is personal
One way to solve this is to find a quiet place in nature where you can sit and meditate. But you can also choose to play calming sounds in the comfort of your own home. The kind of sound you play is very personal. Some people love the sound of the rain. Others really like the sound of waves crashing on the beach. And some really like to hear the sound of chirping birds. Personally I like forest sounds which include: birds, wind, moving grass, branches and trees.
What I don’t like is meditation-music. The melodies and instruments start to irritate me after a while. But like I said: it’s personal. Choose whatever suits you.
Meditation apps can also be very helpful. When you discover meditation you might not want to join a meditation practice or find a meditation teacher right away. First you may want to try it out for a bit. Meditation apps can never really replace a good teacher but they are great to play around with meditation and learn some basics.
I bought the Buddhify app about a year ago and it has been a great teacher. It’s colored wheel shows all the meditation practices you can do. Which are a lot.
The colors in the wheel represent all kinds of meditations you can use for different moments during the day like: waking up, work break, traveling, walking, going to sleep etc. This makes the app easy to use in many situations. You can also choose things like ‘meditation 101’ which is some kind of basic meditation course.
I love it and use it a few times a week. The design is great and the app is very easy to use and get started with meditation. There are many meditations that will keep you busy for a while. The only negative thing I found is that sometimes – when you start the app to begin a meditation – it starts updating the wheel and downloading new meditations. Especially when you are in a place that has a bad WiFi connection this can take a while. Which kind of gets you out of the meditation mood.
Headspace is a well known mediation app with a great design and a lot of users. It has many different meditation sessions that last 10 minutes. Andy Puddicombe, founder of the Headspace project has a pleasant way of talking you through the meditations and bodyscans.
The first 10 days you can use it for free and after that you need to pay a monthly (or yearly) fee. Personally I like to pay once for these kinds of apps. That is why I chose Buddhify. However; I do have a Spotify subscription and there are a lot of Headspace meditations available on Spotify too. Try them here!
Media you can use for meditation
Meditation apps are handy and often offer a high quality experience but you don’t have to use a (paid) app to enjoy meditation sounds and courses. You can also use apps like Spotify and YouTube. Both offer relaxing (nature) sounds and meditation courses. They even feature some extra long mediafiles to play all day (for working and focusing) and all night (for sleeping).
Spotify has many, many meditation playlists to choose from. From meditation sounds to body scans and meditation courses. Like I mentioned: I have a paid Spotify account but there is also a free version available.
I really like this ‘nature meditation sounds’ playlist on Spotify.
YouTube also has tons of meditation video’s. It can take a while before you find the right one for you and quality varies. But there are some gems on YouTube like: The Honest Guys, Balance in me or Kiyome Fae.