Meditation App Comparison: Calm, 1 Giant Mind & Headspace

Calm

www.calm.com

Founded: 2012

Free Version - In App Purchases Available

Calm was the first meditation app I ever came across across of years ago. It has grown and changed quite a bit since then with some good and some not as good changes.

I immediately loved the options of background noises which can transport you to amazing, peaceful memories being at the beach, in the mountains, on a porch in the rain, by the fire, etc.  A change that has occurred with the app was the shift of the voice of the guided meditations.  When I first began using Calm there was the voice of a woman who was soothing and peaceful, easy to listen to and not at all distracting.  This changed at some point to the voice of their Head of Content Tamara Levitt.  I am sure Tamara is a kick ass woman and I would be so delighted to meet her, have coffee and talk about her adventures, journey into mindfulness etc.  BUT…her voice I find to be...perky.  That is super distracting for me when I’m trying to get my zen on.

I know, seems ridiculous to hear coming from a person many also consider to be perky.  But it is SUPER difficult for me to fall into a state of peacefulness with the overflow of positive energy I hear through her voice.  A weird statement I know, but for a guided meditation I need something more soothing and less energizing.  I want the voice to melt into the background. I won’t bite the bullet and purchase the full version until there are options for voices.   

You might like her though - the rest of the programs are the bomb. Give it a go!  To gain full access to the app you have to subscribe monthly, yearly or lifetime (pricing below).  

Pros:

  • Variety of pleasant background noises

  • Free Basic Meditations and Sleep Stories Available

  • Sleep Stories are AWESOME when you can’t sleep

  • Themed Meditations based on what you need

  • Timed Meditation Sessions with just the background noise - no guidance

Cons:

  • Depending on your budget gaining full access can be pricey

  • Meditation Voice...I can’t use the app regularly b/c of it.

App is Good For:

  • Beginners - Experienced

  • Forming a Meditation Habit

  • Sleep

Pricing:

  • Monthly - $12.99

  • Yearly - $59.99

  • Lifetime - $299.99


 

1 Giant Mind

www.1giantmind.org

Founded: ???

Free

1 Giant Mind is totally free (woot-woot!).  It is a non-profit dedicated to bringing “learn to meditate” programs to the masses.  How awesome is that?!

When you start with 1 Giant Mind you must start with 12 steps to meditation course.  Each step is approximately 15 minutes and introduces new topics on meditation such as thoughts during meditation, breathing, mantras, etc.  It is a great intro for newbies and seasoned practitioners alike to come back to the basics of meditating.  

Once you complete your 12 step program you unlock the 30 day challenge.  During this piece of the program you can choose a voice to lead you - Jonni or Laura.  I prefer Jonni myself even though it took me nearly the entire 42 sessions to get over the fact that he’s from Australia (I think) and his accent and voice kept giving me flashbacks to Murray from Flight of the Conchords.  

I get distracted easily. This is why I must meditate.  

Anyway, the 30 day challenge also gives you 10 min, 15 min or 20 min meditation time options along with background noise options.  It’s great for making the practice your own as it is not a full on guided meditation experience.  

Personally, I don’t resonate with the mantra they suggest and I either use my own or pay attention to my breath.  It’s whatever works for you.  If you like less guidance, this program is awesome (and did I mention it’s free?).

Pros:

  • Easy to follow, Easy to understand

  • Voice options/Background music options

  • Consistent - you know what to expect

  • You can truly make the practice your own

Cons:

  • If you’re a Flight of the Conchords fan you may giggle incessantly at Jonni’s voice

  • No themed meditations

  • Less guidance

App is Good For:

  • Beginners

  • Seasoned Practitioners

  • People who want to make their practice their own/don’t need or want much guidance

Cost:

  • Free, as in Zero Dollars

 

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Headspace

www.headspace.com 

Founded: 2010

Free Version, In App Purchases Available

Headspace is one of the more popular meditation apps and one of the last that I’ve come to try.  They too, have an intro course like the others and it is quite good.  I love their little animations - they are fun, colorful, short and explains meditation concepts quite nicely.  The intro meditation course (10 steps) is very short each day with no meditation practice being longer than 5 minutes.  

The bloke that provides the voicing seems affable, like you might meet him at a pub and get to chatting, though when he starts to get quite calm it seems maybe he’s had one pint too many.  

I know, I know, I’m easily distracted and make up stories, backgrounds and lives for people I don’t know at all.  Now back to the review.

This app has super easy to follow concepts, great daily reminders and encouragement to keep meditating.  The free version is very minimal and doesn’t provide much insight to what else the app has to offer.  They seem to have options for longer meditations, meditations focused on specific issues (anxiety, focus, body scan, breath, etc.) but you can’t explore much until you pay the money for it.

Pros:

  • Fun animations

  • Easy to follow explanations

  • Great for Beginners

  • Everyone has 5 minutes

  • Love the Notifications throughout the Day

  • Friends & Family Pricing - you can attach multiple accounts to one bill

Cons:

  • Timing is almost too short on the beginners course - but that might be because I have a preference toward 10 min + meditations for myself.

  • Not an easy view into what all the app has to offer until you purchase full version.

App is Good For:

  • Newbies who feel like they “don’t have enough time” to meditate

  • Explaining Meditation Concepts

  • People who like fun illustrations and videos (MEEEE!!!!)

Cost:

  • Monthly - $12.99

  • Yearly - $95.88

  • Friends & Family - $14.99/month (connect up to 6 accounts)