The health benefits of meditation can never be overstated. Copious research proves the health benefits of meditation on both the mind and body. However, meditation does not come as easily for me, with thoughts jumping all over constantly. Nevertheless, Insight Timer has been a great companion to keep me focused.
I first came across Insight Timer on my iPhone App Store in Feb 2014. I downloaded the free app and then paid $4.99 to upgrade for more options to create my own meditation programs. I have a few preset programs. Insight Timer keeps a log for me that tracks date, time, and duration of the meditation session. It was through this log that I realized I did not meditate much when travelling. The log displays whether it was meditation or guided meditation. It provides stats like average session time, longest sessions, and total session time. It has charts to display cumulative daily meditation in the last ten days, weekly minutes in the last ten weeks, and monthly minutes in the last ten months. This has allowed me to understand how my weekly schedule dictates the time I spend on meditation. In my case, it seems I have meditated pretty evenly Monday through Sunday. I also use the app while I do Tai Chi Standing Post. For serious meditators, Insight Timer allows you to write a journal after meditation. Both the journal and the log can be exported.
Meditation is my personal quiet time. But some people prefer to meditate as part of a community. Insight Timer provides opportunities for its users to be connected with people locally or internationally either within the Insight Timer domain or via Facebook. It tells you in real-time how many people are meditating right now and you can see their avatar if available. You can find friends online or you can invite friends to join. There are over two thousand mediation groups in twenty-two different languages. You can join as many as you desire or even create your own on
The real treasure to me is its large collection of free guided mediations. Currently, there are 697 meditations in seventeen languages in addition to musical ones. There are masters from various countries and backgrounds, including the visionary Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Even though many guided mediations relate to Buddhism teachings, I have found many of them to be spiritually neutral. You can rate and comment on each meditation. If you don’t know which meditation to follow, you can select one by rating, most played, or duration. Currently Ajahn Acholo, MC Brigitte Schrottenbacher, Andy Hobson, Andrew Johnson, and Tara Brach have the highest rating for their meditations. Mary & Richard Maddux, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Bodhipaksa, Don Reed Simmons, Eckhart Tolle, Sharon Salzberg, and Elisha Goldstein all had over 100,000 plays for their meditations. You can also submit your own guided meditation for consideration to be included. I appreciate that Insight Timer features some new guided meditations each week, which gives users something new to try.
Insight Timer is accessible on the Apple App Store and on Android via Google Play. According to Insight Timer, there are over half million meditators using the app. I am certain that the numbers of users will grow substantially especially when its web app launches in Dec. 2015.