Headspace teaches users, from beginners to more advanced practitioners, how to meditate. Created by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, Headspace’s mission is to make meditation practice accessible to all, and to improve world health and happiness.

Pros:

Headspace is full of guided meditations for specific occasions, including short mini-meditations that even the busiest people can easily fit into their days. When you create an account, you are prompted to begin your meditation journey by learning the basics in a 30-session pack. Each session is narrated by Andy Puddicombe himself, whose calming voice leads you easily into a state of relaxation. In this basic series, Andy tells you what meditation is and how it is beneficial, and teaches you the techniques of getting started: sitting, breathing, and clearing your mind.

In addition to the basic series, you are able to choose among a large number of different meditation packs focused on your personal needs. For example, there are meditation packs focused on mindful eating, managing anxiety, and dealing with grief. There are also packs geared toward students leaving home, runners staying motivated, and commuters dealing with stressful trips. While you can set a time limit on each of these sessions, there are also mini-meditations between one and five minutes geared toward bringing breath and focus to your day. Andy’s voice leads you through all of them, beginning each session with a roughly 90-second introduction and guiding you into a meditation from there.

Headspace also has a series of meditations specifically for young children, demonstrating that meditation can be a family activity rather than purely an individual, adult pursuit. The app also contains a section entirely devoted to sleeping well, and a section with animations explaining the different techniques used to achieve calmness, such as practicing body scans, noting, and loving kindness.

Cons:

The greatest negative aspect of Headspace is simply its cost. While a free 30-day trial is available, afterward, access to most of the app’s meditations will cost users $12.99 a month, $94.99 annually, or $399.99 for a lifetime. On an individual basis, this might prove too pricey for many people. That said, Headspace has different initiatives, including an education plan where teachers and school administrators can access the app for just $12 a year.

Our Takeaway:

For anyone interested in learning how to meditate but too intimidated or busy to go to an in-person class, Headspace is a fantastic platform. You will learn the basics of sitting as well as mindfulness techniques to guide you through each day. It’s a bit pricey, but for people seriously interested in beginning a practice, the quality and variety of lessons make it well worth the cost.

Image: via Headspace