I love when technology nudges me towards my wellness goals and I thought I’d share three of my favorite wellness apps I’m currently employing.

Insight Timer

With some 2 million users, Insight Timer is one of the most popular meditation apps for smartphones and tablets. It also happens to be free! In February the loss of my paternal grandmother hit me deeply. In the days following her death I found I needed a great deal of downtime to process my grief, and whilst I was employing reflexology and aromatherapy tools I yearned for something more. I’d heard about Insight Timer from a few acquaintances and friends on social media and had downloaded the app in December but had only used it a handful of times. I started with the mini-moment category, enjoying guided meditations a minute to five minutes in length. Just a quick reset in the middle of my day. Each time I launched the app I found myself choosing selections just a bit longer than the last.

There are over 5,000 audio meditations to choose from and they are organized under the Featured section by types (see image on the right). If you click on the Explore option you’ll have the chance to type in keywords or authors. To get you started here are some of my top favorites:

  • Healing Darkness for Sleep by Jennifer Piercy – this Yoga Nidra session walks you through turning the lights out in each quadrant of your house body. Just the thing to unwind for sleep at the end of the day! Ms Piercy’s other Yoga Nidra sessions are also lovely and worth exploring!
  • Shoulder Break by Andrew Johnson – thanks to Mr Johnson’s accent my sister and I joke that this our Liam Neeson meditation. All kidding aside, I love this quick meditation to remember to pull my shoulders out of my ears in the middle of the day. I’m also fond of Mr Johnson’s Energy Boost track, where he talks the listener through a self-massage of the scalp and face. Sounds simple but it works a treat every time!
  • Thank You by Carrie Grossman – Ms Grossman sings the Hawai’ian ho’oponopono, which means to make right. It’s one of my favorite mantras on forgiveness: I love you / I’m sorry / Please forgive me / Thank you.
  • Morning Ritual by The Meditation House – Jason McGrice offers my favorite morning meditation that never fails to put me in the right mindset for my day.
  • Tibet Gong Morning Meditation by New Earth Records – a beautiful 21+ minute meditation perfect for morning or afternoon meditation – music only, no words.
  • Sacred Space Didgeridoo for Meditation by Pablo Arellano – is another beautiful music meditation with the earthy sounds of the didgeridoo. Need some grounding in your meditative hour? Give this one a try!
  • Support in a Time of Bereavement by Tony Brady – employing pauses, stories, and quotes, Mr Brady holds the space for the loneliness of grief. His friendly, lilting Irish accent was comforting and I find I return to this track from time to time when grief threatens to swallow me whole.

What are you favorite meditations on InsightTimer? Share them in the comments section!

Down Dog

My time meditating got me back into my home yoga practice and with a bit of trial and error I stumbled upon the Down Dog app as a favorite. It has both paid and free options, both are good, though of course the paid version gives me the ability to fine-tune my sessions. I’ve used Beginner I, II, and Intermediate levels and have found it works well for someone like myself who has a great deal of past yoga experience but needs some prompts and visual reminders for poses. The ability to do a 10, 15, 20 minute or longer session has made this app very versatile for me – I can squeeze in a 15 minute session in the morning before my cup of decaf coffee or enjoy a 20 or 30 minute wind-down as I prepare for bed in the evenings. I’m stuck on the Restorative style of practice on this app, I’m not a sweaty-yoga kind of gal so this is just my speed.

Hiking Project by REI

A GPS-based app from the folks at REI, this app nudges me outdoors to enjoy local hikes and walks. The app gives you the option of making a trail to-do list, which I LOVE, and gives you a nice overview of what to expect with current conditions and a trail rating. You can even choose the option of getting GPS driving directions to the trailhead for trails you’ve never been to or one that has been a while since you last visited.

Ready to dig into the health benefits of some time spent in nature? Here’s some of my favorite trails in the area:

  • St Edwards Park Creek Trail – this little park is a gorgeous getaway hike no matter the season. Wear shorts in the summertime and enjoy some wading in Bull Creek (or wear a bathing suit for a full dip!), forage for dewberries in the spring, or bring a parka and gloves for a rainy winter hike. The park has a lot of natural vegetation growth and it feels like you’re miles from the hustle and bustle of life.
  • Wild Basin Loop – Wild Basin doesn’t have the lush greenery that St Edwards does but its beauty is in the trails that take you up and down the rolling hills off 360.
  • McKinney Roughs Loop – McKinney falls is such a fun place for barefoot hiking – the textures of the limestone and claystone are a delight to the thousands of nerve endings on the plantar surface of the feet!

Another hiking app that I used extensively during a recent trip to the Highlands was the ViewRanger app. I used the app to lookup hikes like the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye and Loch an Eilein in the Cairngorm mountains. The app worked fairly well in the remote areas of the Highlands where it was a challenge to get a GPS or cell signal but we’d already downloaded the trails and knew what to expect even when we couldn’t track our route in real time.

What wellness apps are hanging out on your phone or tablet?