The Top Meditation Apps of 2017

It seems counter-intuitive that meditation – an ancient practice that has historically flourished in the absence of modern technology – has had somewhat of a renaissance in the era of smartphones and mobile technology. The main reason for that is the hotbed of interest in the area where most apps are founded: Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley Brings Meditation and Yoga to Life

Silicon Valley is famous for its culture of all-encompassing work ethics. The ethos is centered on failing hard and failing early, putting your personal life on hold while you’re building a company or shipping new features, and eschewing the norms of work life balance as a badge of honor. On the other hand, as companies grow in the tech ecosystem past the building phase, they seem to become more aware that their workers may need some time to unplug. Meditation and yoga rooms abound in many tech offices, retreats are offered to workers who need to unwind, and self-care is emphasized in company culture.

Meditation Apps Go Zen

From this apparent paradox – maintain your mental health so you can work really hard – comes the rise of meditation apps and the interest in mindfulness from some of the tech world’s most prominent business leaders. As  Wired wrote, “These companies are doing more than simply seizing on Buddhist practices. Entrepreneurs and engineers are taking millennia-old traditions and reshaping them to fit the Valley’s goal-oriented, data-driven, largely atheistic culture…The technology community of Northern California wants return on its investment in meditation.”
There is no shortage of data proving that working a meditation or mindfulness routine into one’s life can help improve their output and focus. However, as it runs so counter to the norms of our busy contemporary culture, it can be hard to start such a habit on your own without any guidance. With many people naming meditation as a New Year’s resolution or a habit they want to get into in general, here is a look at the merits of the leading meditation apps coming from the unlikely source of Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley’s Top Mediation Apps

Headspace: This is the most popular and well-known of Silicon Valley’s meditation apps, as users love it for its somewhat “gamified” approach that shows simple stats that chart your progress. The guided meditations are ideal for beginners who find it difficult to empty their minds at a moment’s notice and its secular design and tone will appeal to those who are not interested in a “spiritual” experience, but rather a practical one.
Aura: Aura is one of the newer meditation apps for iOS and Android, and is designed for people who find it hard to meditate or sit still. It offers three to seven minute sessions that are categorized around different moods. It also uses demographic-based data to improve the kinds of meditation offerings based on age and patterns of usage.
Omvana: Omvana is another very popular meditation app that users love for its tailored guided meditations that are themed for focus, sleep, stress, or simply recharging. With expertly mixed recordings with high quality audio and more than a 1000 options, it has become a leader in the space and a favorite with reviewers.
The Mindfulness App: If human voices aren’t your thing when you’re trying to meditate, then you might like the Mindfulness App, which offers an array of meditations from 3 to 30 minutes without human narration. Similar to Headspace, you can test out the app to see if you like it with an introductory period before paying.
Insight Timer: One of the most popular free meditation apps, Insight Timer offers both guided and non-guided meditations and also a handy timer which also shows you how many people worldwide are meditating at the same time as you. The sounds and alerts are soothing and peaceful, and prove much more conducive to meditation than using your phone’s alarm.