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How to Start Meditating at Home — and Actually Stick to It


Health

How to Start Meditating at Home — and Actually Stick to It


To help keep your breath steady, picture a balloon inflating and deflating with each inhale and exhale. A tool on the Calm app called the “Breathe Bubble” gives you a visual to follow; the bubble’s speed is adjustable. “It supports people to [help them] easily breathe in, hold, and breathe out at a pace that feels comfortable,” says Tamara Levitt, head of mindfulness at Calm.

Finding a Meditation Technique That Works for You

If you’re quiet and focused on your breath, congratulations: You’re already practicing silent — or unguided — meditation. If that’s working for you, keep it up. But many beginners appreciate having their hand held (metaphorically) through guided meditation, in which a teacher leads you through the session. There are hundreds of techniques to choose from, so it’s important to find a guide and practice that resonate with you. Some common types of meditation include visualization (in which you focus on a mental image, like a stream of sunlight hitting your body), mantra (setting an intention by way of repeating a word, like “abundance,” or a phrase), and body scan (becoming aware of each part of your body as you perform a “self- scan” from head to toe).

Many practitioners combine elements of different techniques, especially when designing meditations in pursuit of a particular goal, like better sleep or sharper focus. An easy way to parse out what works for you is by downloading an app. Here, a few of our favorites.

The Best Meditation Apps

Headspace

The interface is easy to navigate, and the library of courses is vast. (But as you might guess, the three-part Basics course — which teaches foundational techniques — is a good place for newbies to start.) For those who struggle to sit still during meditation, Headspace ($13/month) also offers a “Move Mode” that incorporates gentle movement and yoga poses.

Insight Timer

The Insight Timer app is free, but we’d gladly pony up for access to its 100,000+ guided meditations — many of which are led by mindfulness experts such as Koya Webb and Alex Elle. While there aren’t step-by-step courses on the free version of the app, users can earmark their…



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