Just like the athlete who hits the track day after day, if you want to build the muscles of the mind, you’ve got to practise. There are hundreds of courses and guided mindfulness meditations out there: some are better than others and some will suit you better than others. To make life easier, I’ve gathered my favourite resources to help you find a practice to match your lifestyle and budget.
£ = 0-£20
££ = £20-£50
£££ = £50+
1) Mindfulness Daily (££)
If you’re new to mindfulness, using an online course gives you a useful structure to follow. Structure can keep you focussed and help get you into a routine of practising. One of my all-time favourite courses is Mindfulness Daily. This highly accessible and beginner friendly course is written by world leading mindfulness and meditation experts Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. The 40-day endeavour delivers key concepts and short practises in less than 15 minutes a day. Follow the course online or download the Sounds True app to play the sessions on our phone.
2) Online MBSR (£££)
If you ever have the chance to fit a group-based MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) into your life, DO IT. These are the ‘gold standard’ in mindfulness: 8 weeks of science backed content, delivered by highly trained teachers. There’s also something special about going through the process with other people. Group courses usually involve a weekly 2-hr teacher led session, plus around an hour a day of home practice. I did mine at The Mindfulness Project in London, which I recommend highly, or find your nearest course here.
While group MBSRs are fantastic, attending a course isn’t always practical. If you need a bit more flexibility and want to go through course material at your own pace, there are some great online versions like this 8-Week Training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction by Dr. Saki Santorelli & Florence Meleo-Meyer.
3) 8 Week Course: Book Formats (£)
Another alternative to group MBSRs and online versions, is buying a book which follows the 8-week format and includes guided material. Two excellent options are:
- Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world Paperback by Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman. Very accessible and beginner friendly. Slightly shorter practice times.
- The Mindful Way Workbook: An 8-Week Program to Free Yourself from Depression and Emotional Distress by John Teasdale, J. Mark G. Williams and Zindel Segal. This book has been designed for those battling depression, but it’s a great resource for anyone interested in mindfulness. Closer to the MBCT format (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) it explains concepts clearly and the workbook style gives you space to write down your own thoughts and experiences. Insights from other participants also gives the book more of a group course feel.
4) Insight Timer App (FREE)
There are hundreds of free mindfulness practises available through apps. My favourite is Insight Timer, which has practices from contributors across the world and boasts a community of over 4 million meditators. It offers standalone practices you can do as and when, as well as short courses like ‘Learn How to Meditate in Seven Day’. You can also track your practice in a personal log and check in with what the global Insight Timer community is up to.
5) Headspace App (FREE + Subscription Options)
Headspace is another great app with a free ‘Take 10’ introduction of 10 x 10-minute meditations. The animations on Headspace also do a great job of explaining key ideas. I haven’t tried any of the paid subscription options – if you have, let us know how you got on comments section below.
6) Other FREE Stuff on the Web
Found another resource that’s proving helpful? Share your own recommendations in the comments section below.