Meditation is widely recognised as a tool for calming the mind and reducing stress, improving performance, personal growth, spiritual insight and even for healing the body. But the wide range of different meditation practices can be confusing and it can be difficult to know where to start to learn more.
Insight Timer (https://insighttimer.com/) is a meditation app that offers talks about meditation, guided meditations, a meditation timer and a community of meditators to help your practice.
The teachers on Insight Timer come from a very wide range of traditions including religious, secular and scientific. Apparently meditation is worth pursuing, no matter from which philosophical stance you approach it. This means that you are likely to be able to find teachers on Insight Timer that resonate with your own world view, no matter what that is.
|Short description||Insight timer is a set of tools to support meditation. It offers guided and timed meditations on a variety of topics and based on a wide variety of philosophies. It also offers audio lessons from meditation teachers. It tracks and reports on your meditation practice. There are groups that you can join to share message-based interactions with other group members. The app provides talks in 25 languages.|
|Subject||All forms of meditation and meditation practice.|
|Location||It’s available in both iOS and Android versions, and the web version is at https://insighttimer.com/|
|Appropriate for||Beginner meditators who want to learn more and have guidance in establishing a regular meditation practice.
Experienced meditators who want to use guided meditations or the timing function for their meditation practice.
People who appreciate the opportunity to interact with others about meditation.
People who are curious about meditation and want to learn more or try it out.
|Usability||The app is easy to use. When searching for guided meditations or talks about meditation, you can filter by how long you have, by teacher, by specific benefits or by philosophical stance. When setting up a timed meditation you can select how long it should be, what ambient sounds you want, whether you want interval reminders and what signal you would like to end the meditation. There are no annoying popups or adverts, making for a genuinely peaceful and supportive experience.|
|Craftsmanship||The app is simply and beautifully designed with lovely images and the interaction is a real pleasure to use. In using it for about six months I have encountered no bugs, so it seems a very stable product.
The experience depends to some extent on the individual teacher and, while I have encountered some that have irritated me, on the whole I’ve been impressed with the quality of the talks and the guided meditations. There are more than 1600 teachers to choose from so it’s not difficult to find someone who resonates with you. There are more than 7000 guided meditations and talks at present.
|Effectiveness||The app helps to keep you meditating regularly, and shows you patterns in when you skip meditations, so that’s useful. Having this as a mobile app means that it’s easy to meditate even when your normal routine is upset as you just need a phone, network and headphones to meditate anywhere. You do need a network though, unless you want to pay for the offline mode.
I could not find any independent research into the effectiveness of the app, but there are many positive reviews online. More than 2.3 million people use Insight Timer, and at any one time around 6000 people are meditating using Insight Timer.
|Cost||Insight timer is free with all the features described above. They have recently introduced an offline mode which enables you to download meditations to your device and listen to them offline for $41.99 per month. Other paid features are planned.|
Overall this is a great app which will get you started with meditation and make it easy for you to keep to a regular meditation practice. I think it’s a worthy addition to our collection of Fine Learning Tools because it not only teaches you to meditate, but meditation itself then becomes a great tool for your own on-going learning.
One of the coolest features is a world map that shows you where everyone who is currently meditating is located. There is something heart-warming about knowing that you are part of a large and growing community all seeking a better way to live and seeing this pictured on a global scale is a great positive message.