If you’re looking to begin a meditation/relaxation practice, the iOS Calm app might be just what you’re looking for. Calm began as a website that played calming sounds and video but later evolved into a full-fledged meditation app. Calm claims that they’re the #1 app for mindfulness and wellness, and they’re probably correct – I’ve been hearing people praise the app wherever I go.
THE DAILY CALM
One of the most popular features of the app is The Daily Calm, a 10-minute guided meditation and inspiration session that changes every day. I always look forward to this mini-meditation session and to see what the daily message will be.
GUIDED AND UNGUIDED MEDIATIONS
The Meditate section of the app offers many different types of meditation sessions to choose from, both free-form and timed.
The sessions are broken down into the following themes:
- Personal Growth
- Inner Peace
- Less Guidance
So you see, there’s pretty much something for everyone, no matter what your meditation goal may be. If you have favorite mediation sessions, you can save them to the “My” category, allowing you to quickly find your favorite sessions.
A favorite among many Calm users are the Sleep Stories, a relative newcomer to the app. Think of Sleep Stories as bedtime stories for adults. What they are, are soothing stories read by well-known voices typically performed in a soft, gentle voice. The goal of Sleep Stories is to help you unwind, relax and eventually fall into a deep natural sleep. I have to say that Sleep Stories are one of my favorite features of the app.
Sleep Stories are broken down into the following categories:
- ASMR & Foreign Language
- By Narrator
By the way, if you’re not familiar with ASMR, it’s a technique where the entire story is whispered by the narrator. I know, it sounds strange, right? But you’d be amazed at how relaxing it is. The other night, I fell asleep to the whispered story of Beauty and the Beast recited entirely in French.
Another relatively new feature of the app is Calm Music, which is a collection of longer music tracks. These can be used for relaxation, as a soothing background or to help you fall asleep.
There are a few different categories of Music tracks to choose from:
- Nature Melodies
Earlier this year, Calm introduced the Calm Masterclasses, which are a series of lessons delivered by world-renowned experts on various mindfulness topics. Calm releases a new Masterclass every month. They can be found under the Meditate category if using an iPad or by tapping the Masterclass icon on the bottom of the Home screen if using an iPhone or Android phone.
Every time you make it through a mediation session, you’ll see a calendar which displays how many times you’ve meditated during the month. This is an excellent motivational tool as it’s nice to see the “x” through every day on your monthly calendar. Some people brag that they’re over a 400-day streak. Impressive!
FREE VS PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS
The offerings for the free version are somewhat limited. You do receive a small number of guided meditations such as the Seven Days of Calm (an excellent starting point), Body Scan or The Loving Kindness meditations. The free version also includes some unguided meditations as well.
A nice feature are the timed mediations during which a gentle bell is chimed when the time is up. If you prefer, you can also have the bells ring ever 2, 5 or 10 minutes (this is a good way to “bring you back” should your mind drift during the mediation).
With a paid subscription, you get everything mentioned in this post, including regular feature updates. The cost of a subscription is $12.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
The app is available from the App Store