I love meditation and I can’t start my day without my 10 or 15 minutes of me-time. But learning to meditate was scary in the beginning. At times it felt like I was making no progress and at other times I became bored with doing the same meditation over and over again.
In the end, I truly believe that meditation saved me and has really helped me to become calmer, to take on my daily tasks, and big problems, in a more level headed way and has ultimately made me someone who tries to take a moment and think mindfully about a situation before simply jumping in. At the end of last year, I wrote a post about my Journey with Meditation so far.
But just like with anything in life, doing the same thing over and over again can become boring and can ultimately lose its appeal.
I started out doing only meditation videos on YouTube but when I wanted to move on I was unsure about what else to try. If you’ve felt the same, then don’t fear, cause I’ve done the work for you and tried out 3 very different meditation options and below are my likes and dislikes of each and my recommendations.
YouTube – Boho Beautiful
The Boho Beautiful YouTube channel is what started my initial journey with mindfulness and I trusted Juliana and her calm way of introducing you to the world of yoga, pilates, and meditation enough to finally try their meditation videos.
- Its FREE – cause it’s YouTube of course.
- They have 17 different meditation videos on their YouTube channel which gives you a great variety.
- They have beginner videos which are just under 10 minutes and longer videos of up to 16 minutes – so depending on your day and time you can alternate.
- All of the mediation videos are Mantra based which means you repeat a mantra in your head while meditating – personally this is one of my favourite methods and it is really helpful for beginners to meditation as it helps keep your mind from wondering off.
- The videos and sound are so beautiful – you aren’t supposed to be looking at the screen but even just the sound is amazing, you literally feel like you’re starting your morning in a jungle somewhere (which is great when you live in the city and mostly hear traffic).
- All sessions are theme based which is nice for mixing it up each day.
- They have a very nice 9 Day Meditation challenge which practices a number of different mantras and lengths and is nice for beginners as well.
- They ONLY have 17 videos. Lately they have been posting a few more videos but only having 17 meditations to choose from can become a bit boring at a stage.
- They have been focusing more on their Patreon channel and DVDs which you can buy and which is great, but if you are not based in the US the price is very high and unfortunately, we cannot subscribe to Patreon from here in South Africa.
- Personally I would have liked a few more shorter videos as you don’t always have time for 16 minute meditations in the morning (oversleeping in the winter much).
Apps – Headspace
Headspace is a meditation app that you can download for Android or iOS. It’s highly recommended and has really cute little animation characters throughout the app. As I was writing this the app said that 20 727 people were using the app to meditate, so it really does work.
- The trail version is Free and is a 10 day Foundation Course – what’s nice about the trial is that it is not 10 consecutive days but rather the 10 days you are using it, so if you don’t meditate for 2 days you won’t lose 2 days of your free course.
- There are a number of other course of which you can try the first lesson for free as well (which technically means you get more than just 10 days free).
- The Foundation Course is really nice for both beginners and those like me who want to refresh their meditation practice.
- The Foundation Course takes you through a number of meditation methods like Noting.
- There are a couple of really nice animation videos throughout the Foundation Course, and some of the other course as well I assume, that help you to understand the different meditation methods better before you start with the session of the day.
- You can set your meditation time for the day to anything from 3 minutes to 20 minutes – this really helps when you’re starting out and when you might not have the same amount of time to meditate every day.
- Your meditation journey is recorded on the app so you can see all the different Headspace courses or single meditations you have done.
- Your meditation stats are also recorded on the app which means you can see how many hours, sessions and average meditation time you’ve used.
- Subscribing to the full app is expensive – per month it is R249.99, yearly R1 899.99 or lifetime R5 999.99 – some might say this is an investment in your mental health and wellness, but this as a normal working person I would need to save up quite a bit to afford this and thinking of another debit order of this amount going off is something I cannot afford. (on the up side at least the price is shown in Rands and not just Dollars).
- The Foundation Course does teach you a number of different methods, but no Mantra method is included which was a bit of a let-down for me as I enjoy Mantras.
- The Foundation Course does not include any music or sound for that matter, except for the instructor’s voice – sometimes this is nice but it doesn’t help to cut out the sounds of the city which you need sometimes.
- It’s so frustrating that you can start with the first class of some of the meditation courses and then have to subscribe but that is how they catch you so it’s not really a dislike, just a ,I wish I had the money to subscribe.
Apps – Evenflow
Evenflow is probably the most well known meditation app out there. The app can also be downloaded for Android or iOS and really does aim to help you build a lifestyle through meditation and not just make it a once off thing you do sometimes. The app really makes you come back for more and more.
- The trail version is Free for the Foundation Course – there is no day limit to the trail which means you can take as long as you need to finish the course.
- The Foundation Course consists of 12 meditations and they all differ in length and focus which means you won’t easily get bored during the course.
- I loved this app and almost everything about it from the design to the structure and the courses – it felt inviting and personal and exciting, I know this is a very personal decision but that’s the feeling I got from the app the moment I started using it.
- Evenflow has a team of teachers who have a number of different backgrounds and who each teach different courses on the app – this ensures a lot of diversity and also adds that personal touch to the app as you can read up about the teacher of each course before starting the course.
- There is an About section at the beginning of each session explaining what you will be learning or practicing in that session – this helps you to go into the session with the right mindset and also to know beforehand if this session is what you’re looking for today.
- There are a huge number of different topics to choose from including courses and single sessions – this is however only in the paid version of the app but you can see it in the free version.
- Your progress is tracked – when you start out you set goals for yourself to work toward, such as a number of sessions per week, if you achieve these sessions you receive badges as rewards (I know badges whatever, but it’s still that little bit of acknowledgment which boosts us all).
- You can set Intentions for your meditation journey regarding the time of meditation, the days you want to meditate etc – this is a great way to hold yourself accountable.
- There are also a few meditation sessions which you can download (during the free trial as well) and use offline at a later stage.
- The paid version is still expensive but not as expensive as Headspace – R154.99 monthly, yearly R100 per month, lifetime R2 999.99 once off (this is much more doable, especially the yearly option).
- I didn’t find any Mantra sessions in the Foundation Course which was disappointing, but I am almost sure there will be something in one of the other courses.
- That’s basically it…
I’d love to hear your opinions if you’ve tried any of these meditation options or know of any other cool options I can try out.