According to a recent Yougov study, nearly 90% of Europeans who started to meditate during confinement intend to continue their practice. No wonder for Marjan Abadie, director of the Mindfulness Institute: “During the lockdown, people wanted to refocus and the applications favored this opportunity. On our side, we also had to switch our training and our online sessions via Zoom, with generally positive results.” Many sessions and training in mindfulness meditation are now done entirely online, whereas they have so far favored physical gathering in meditation centers. Centers and institutes have a new major competitor: meditation applications. The craze for the latter is not recent, but the confinement has clearly given wings to the sector, which saw a 121% increase in sales last year (Sensor Tower figures).
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What do all these apps have in common? A freemium model, with paid access to certain functions or in-depth sessions. The choice is vast: Mind, Calm, Namatata, Full Consciousness, Insight Timer, Headspace, Petit Bambou, Plum Village, Meditopia, Better Me. How not to give up too quickly and keep the flame going? Above all, do not aim too high too quickly, warns Marjan Abadie: “You have to practice a little every day. It can be as short as brushing your teeth, for example. Every moment, even the most mundane, of the day is conducive to meditation: a cup of tea, the purring of cat, a child’s laughter. With practice, a simple fully conscious breath allows you to refocus on the sensations, rather than the thoughts and the emotions.”
Want to get into it? Here are three proven apps:
To start and last: Petit Bambou
Probably the best known and for good reason: it is now the favorite application of French speakers. Petit Bambou contains dozens of regularly updated meditations, ranging from a few minutes to a few tens of minutes a day. After the introductory sessions, access to the meditations becomes chargeable. Count €6.99 per month or €59.88 per year to take advantage of it. Sessions are then available in many areas: stress management, illness, pregnancy, phobias, with experienced practitioners, the most famous of whom is undoubtedly Professor Christophe André. In its free version, the application provides access to the meditation timer (with appropriate background sound and gong), also accessible from a connected watch.
To evolve at your own pace: Headspace
Popularized by Silicon Valley gurus, the Headspace application was created by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk of British origin. It even spawned a terrific series of introductory meditation documentaries, available on Netflix: The Headspace Guide to Meditation. With its 70 million users, the application essentially aims to meet three needs: discover meditation, free your mind by evolving in your practice, but also promote restful sleep. Weak point compared to Petit Bambou? The number of meditations in French is significantly lower than in English. Count €57.99 per year to subscribe to the entire catalog, but promotions of 30 to 40% are regularly granted on the website.
To broaden your horizons: Insight Timer
Initially, Insight Timer was a meditation timer. It presents itself today as the largest free library of guided meditations in the world, since it gives access to nearly 100,000 different sessions, ranging from binaural music to mindfulness meditation, secular or religious. Meditations in French are now much more present there. Its use remains free and without major restrictions, even if an annual subscription set at €62.99 allows you to take advantage of additional advantages, including the possibility of taking courses or even downloading the meditations offline.
And for the children?
Wisdom has no age! The virtues of meditation can also benefit the youngest. It actually promotes concentration in class and allows children to have a better awareness of themselves, confirms Steven Laureys, who directs the brain center at the Liège University Hospital. The Laureys family would also be a follower of a certain… Petit Bambou, in particular Louis, his 5-year-old son. The application offers a special program for children up to 7 years old, including 12 fun story sessions with several videos. The only condition to take advantage of it? Take a subscription.
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Meditation: the best apps to finally let go
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