The conventional, most intensive way to delve into a meditation practice is by seeking out
an instructor or class in your area. The National Institutes of Health recommend thoroughly investigating any instructor or program you’re considering, including asking the instructor about their training and experience.
If you’re managing depression, anxiety, or other mental health condition, look for a therapist trained in MBCT. Psychology Today offers a “Find a Therapist” tool (www.psychologytoday.com/us/ therapists) that can be used to locate therapists in your area and allows you to choose MBCT as a type of therapy. Goodtherapy.org has a similar search tool for finding MBCT-trained therapists.
If you’re interested in exploring meditation but lack the time to attend a meditation class or are unable to find a qualified instructor in your area, you still have options. Check out these popular meditation resources (some are free, while others charge a fee).
Tara Brach • Free • tarabrach.com
According to her website, Tara Brach holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. She has integrated meditation into her work as a psychotherapist and says she is passionate about delivering mindfulness techniques and meditation to under-served communities and to those individuals who cannot afford to pay for meditation classes. In addition to her guided meditations, which she offers for free on her website, you can also access supplementary talks from Dr. Brach that elaborate upon the concepts that she implements in her guided meditations.
Smiling Mind • Free • Kid-friendly • smilingmind.com.au
Smiling Mind is a meditation program available through a free mobile app or through your desktop computer. The program was created by an Australian non-profit organization of the same name that focuses specifically making the public aware of mindfulness techniques and providing tools for people to develop a daily meditation practice that can improve their mental health. The app and all of the meditation courses are offered for free. Smiling Mind has created need-specific programs for adults, including programs for beginners as well as the more experienced, and courses for those looking to improve sleep or performance in sports or at the office. The program also contains courses tailored to the needs of children as young as three years old.
UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) Podcast • Free • www.uclahealth.org/marc/meditation- at-the-hammer
UCLA MARC holds free 30-minute guided meditation sessions every Thursday. For those who don’t live near Los Angeles, MARC uploads recordings of these sessions and offer free access and downloads. With available recordings dating back to 2012, you’ll have numerous meditation activities from which to choose.
Headspace • Free trial, then paid subscription • Kid-friendly • headspace.com
The Headspace mobile app might be the most virally popular meditation app available, with over 400,000 reviews in the Apple App Store and an average rating of 4.9 stars. It was developed
and co-founded in 2010 by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk and meditation teacher, who lends his smooth, British- accented voice to all of the guided meditations found in the app. A Headspace subscriber can access a library of personalized courses for issues such as depression, anxiety, mindful eating, sleep, stress relief, chronic pain, and pregnancy, as well as programs
to cultivate traits like compassion, happiness, appreciation, and patience. Headspace also includes a children’s section that provides age-specific meditations for children aged 6 to 12 years. These kid- friendly meditations include morning meditations and before bed wind-downs as well as sessions to encourage focus, appreciation, and kindness. Other features include animations to illustrate meditation techniques, mindfulness concepts, and solutions to common meditation obstacles, as well as an entire library of sleep meditations, relaxation techniques, and ambient sounds to help you relax at night.
10% Happier • Free trial, then paid subscription • 10percenthappier.com
10% Happier brands itself as a meditation resource for skeptics, or for those who are interested in improving their life through meditation without what they refer to as the “woo-woo.” The paid subscription of this resource provides guided audio meditations, video lessons to teach the essentials of meditation, and access to actual meditation instructors to answer questions and coach you through obstacles. The app currently has an average rating of 4.8 stars from roughly 30,000 reviewers in the Apple App Store. N