Many of us know we could benefit from meditation, but that knowledge doesn’t always translate into action. Why meditate when you can sleep for 10 more minutes or spend a few extra moments sweating out that double fudge mocha latte? We feel you, but the truth is, there’s a long list of reasons to meditate.
“We’ve noticed that one of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of optimal health is chronic stress and most people underestimate the amount of wear and tear that happens physically, mentally and spiritually when they perpetually live in ‘fight or flight’ mode rather than ‘rest and digest’ mode,” says May Tom, MPH, RDN at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in California. “Meditation brings us back to living the way nature intended; it’s a powerful vehicle that can move us out of stewing in toxic stress hormones into a space that allows the body to rest, rebuild and rejuvenate. This is probably the ultimate anti-aging secret!”
This begs the question — how long should you meditate to reap benefits? Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer. We’re all different and respond to different techniques in different dosages. While most group classes are 45 minutes to an hour (The Path, Inscape, MNDFL, Unplug and The DEN are all popular options in New York and Los Angeles), that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to that nor does it mean that five minutes of controlled breathing is a waste of time. In fact, you can try one minute a day and once you find that you can sit still and keep your mind relaxed, slowly progress to another minute.
To help set things in motion, here’s a look at seven of the best meditation apps, ranked.