I am currently using the hour before bed for meditation/relaxation. I was previously just using it for random YouTube watching.
In that time I typically listen to a few different meditations. For example, I start with a 10 minute Sam Harris meditation from Waking Up. Then I listen to one of the other meditation series on the same app (currently doing one on koans).
I usually spend at least 15 minutes on the Brain FM app, doing a guided meditation or progressive muscle relaxation or simply listening to their ‘chillout’ sounds.
Insight Timer is an app/website I’ve been recommended many times by my colleagues.
It is basically a vast collection of meditations, yoga classes, sleep aids, presentations etc – all with a self-development, self-care theme.
The strength of Insight Timer is the vast catalogue (a great deal of it free) and the access to full courses via the paid version. However, its strength is also its downwide – how the hell do you pick what to listen to?
In that context, consider this a preliminary recommendation.
The Mindfulness Daily course is delivered by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, both experienced meditation teachers. The course is free and highly rated by users (4.89 out of 5).
The course is described as follows:
“This 40-day course teaches concepts that can help you integrate mindfulness into your everyday life. Led by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, Mindfulness Daily helps reduce stress, increase awareness, and improve overall well being in just less than 15 minutes a day. In modern life, it’s easy to get distracted by a range of influences clamoring for our attention, making it easy to switch to autopilot or get overwhelmed. But there’s a way to approach these daily endeavors with mindful awareness that ultimately allows us to have a much richer experience of life. Throughout this course, you’ll feel increasingly more present and attuned to your thoughts and emotions and with regular practice, face life’s challenges and pleasures with grace, strength, and perhaps most importantly, with more compassion towards ourselves and those around us.”
Tara and Jack take it in turns in leading the meditations. I find both of them pleasant to listen to and they have an engaging style. Each meditation is around 15 minutes and they open with a brief discussion of a specific meditation topic or technique (e.g. conscious relaxing, mindfulness of breath) before leading a brief meditation employing that topic or technique.
It is a simple but effective teaching style, giving you just the right amount of intellectual stimulation before inviting you to experience the concept they are discussing.
Very experienced meditators might find this revision, but beginners and intermediate meditators I imagine should find this course informative and curiosity stimulating.
If you decide to have a crack at the course, let me know. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.