Meditation has become an increasingly popular practice for reducing stress, improving focus, and finding greater balance and inner peace. With busy modern lifestyles, finding time to meditate can be a challenge. That’s where meditation apps come in handy! Meditation apps provide guided meditations, courses, and communities right on your smartphone or tablet, making meditation more accessible anytime and anywhere.
If you’re new to meditation, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best meditation apps for beginners. These apps make it simple to start a meditation practice with features like introductory programs, how-to lessons, and reminders. Read on for our top picks!
One of the most popular meditation apps, Headspace is a great option for beginners. They offer a free “Basics” course that provides a 10-day introduction to mindfulness and meditation. This allows you to try some sessions and see if the app is a good fit before subscribing.
Headspace breaks down meditation concepts in an easy to understand way, with fun animations and friendly teachers to guide you. Their sessions focus on everything from managing stress to sleep, productivity, anxiety, relationships and more. Along with an extensive meditation library, Headspace offers sleep sounds, mindfulness exercises and videos.
- Basics free 10-day course
- Sessions from 3-30 minutes
- Animated lessons explain concepts simply
- Track progress with statistics and streaks
- Wake up, wind down and SOS meditations for when you need them
Calm is another very popular app perfect for beginners looking to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. They have free guided meditation sessions focused on topics like managing stress, concentration, and even self-esteem. Calm also offers visual meditation scenes called “scapes” – relaxing nature backgrounds with calming music and sounds.
Along with meditations, Calm has sleep stories read by celebrities in soothing voices to help you fall asleep. There are also breathing programs, stretching exercises and unguided best meditation apps for beginners with bell tones. Their paid subscription unlocks the full Calm experience with hundreds of hours of programming.
- Free themed meditation sessions
- Beautiful scenic backgrounds with music
- Sleep stories read by celebrities
- Breathing and stretching programs
- 7 and 21-day introductory programs
The Insight Timer app has the largest free library of guided meditations with over 35,000 titles covering stress, anxiety, relationships, creativity and more. Their meditations span a variety of styles including mindfulness, gratitude, visualization, mantra and many others.
Along with an extensive catalog of talks, music and ambient sounds, Insight Timer connects you to a large community of meditators. You can join groups, find events and interact with like-minded people. They also have a Plus version with additional features like offline listening.
- 35,000+ free meditations
- Variety of meditation styles
- Connect with other meditators
- Music, talks and ambient sounds
- Guided meditations for sleeping
- Paid Plus version for offline access
Ten Percent Happier
Created by ABC news anchor Dan Harris, Ten Percent Happier focuses on meditation for skeptics and busy people. They have a great 7-day free introductory program that explains the basics through short animated videos and guided meditations.
Beyond the basics course, they have hundreds of other guided meditations led by top meditation teachers. There is content focused on work, parenting, relationships, sleep, anxiety, productivity and more. Ten Percent Happier also has videos that explain meditation concepts in an easy to grasp way.
- 7-day free basics program
- 300+ guided meditations
- Meditation courses by experts
- Animated videos explain concepts simply
- Content focused on managing stress and anxiety
The Aura app provides short 3 minute meditations for beginners who want to easily integrate mindfulness into busy schedules. They cover topics like reducing anxiety, boosting happiness, better sleep, self-love and more.
Along with brief meditations, Aura offers life coaching and hypnotherapy sessions, healing music, nature sounds, and stories. The app also sends you motivational notifications to help you build consistency. Aura offers a 7-day free trial of their premium subscription with hundreds more meditations.
- 3 minute meditations
- Life coaching and hypnotherapy
- Music, nature sounds and stories
- Motivational reminders and quotes
- 7-day free trial of premium
Buddhify is a meditation app specifically designed for busy schedules. They have short meditations for when you’re on-the-go, at the office, lying in bed, or simply waiting in line. Buddhify allows you to get meditation in no matter where you are.
In addition to many free meditations, Buddhify has over 130 paid guided meditations that provide instructions tailored to your current activity and environment. All meditations are divided into categories based on your needs in that moment like energy, sleep and stress.
- Short meditations for busy lifestyles
- Tailored instructions based on your activity/location
- 130+ premium guided meditations
- Sort meditations by needs like energy, calm, sleep, etc.
- Great for squeezing in mindfulness on-the-go
Smiling Mind is a great free app developed by psychologists and educators to suit people of all ages. They have meditations tailored to adults along with programs for youth aged 7-18. It’s a non-profit app focused on bringing balance and positivity.
Smiling Mind uses shorter meditations that fit into daily life. They cover topics like managing stress, sleep, gratitude, relationships and more. With an easy to use interface, Smiling Mind is a wonderful free option for beginners looking to start a consistent practice.
- Free meditations for adults and youth 7-18
- Tailored programs by age group
- Short meditations fitting into daily life
- Topics include stress, sleep, gratitude and more
- Non-profit app focused on positivity
Take Things Slowly
The key as a beginner is not to take on too much too quickly. Start with just a few minutes per day focusing on the basics. Once you feel comfortable, you can begin to expand your practice through deeper meditations, more advanced techniques and longer sessions. Stick with what resonates and brings you peace.
Don’t get discouraged if your mind wanders – this happens to everyone, especially when getting started! Be patient with the process and don’t judge yourself. Over time and with regular practice, meditation will start to feel more natural.
Find What Works For You
Experiment with different apps, voices, backgrounds, meditation styles and lengths until you find what truly resonates. Don’t be afraid to try some guided meditations and switch to silent self-guided sessions other times. Make meditation a habit by practicing daily, even if you can only spare a few minutes some days.
The most important thing is that you’re taking time to focus on the present moment – that’s the heart of meditation. With so many great apps now available, finding inner calm through meditation is more accessible than ever.