Hello friends. I hope everyone is taking good care of yourselves. I mentioned in my Social Distancing Tips and Tools post, I always say there is never a good time to start meditating, but I recant. This is it. These are the moments we meditate for. But like so many things in life, we can’t do it alone and it is important to seek tools and teachers that can guide us. So I have created the ultimate guide below. I consider myself a forever student (being voted most studious as my senior superlative is one of my great accomplishments:-). Sharing the resources below that have been so helpful on my own journey has been such a cathartic joy. I hope you find it helpful.
Apps – When choosing an app, let yourself explore. If a voice or teaching is not resonating, I’m a big believer in not forcing it. Just let yourself move on to try something else.
- Calm: This is a wonderful and yes, calming app that is organized really well. While there are many programs within the app from other teachers, the primary teacher is Tamara Levitt. She has a lovely and soothing voice. While the teachings range, they are primarily within the mindfulness meditation perspective. The brand is true to its name with lots of soothing colors and images. And I am an avid user of their sleep stories.
- Headspace: A more vibrant and technical app that has wonderful animations that help explain many of the neuroscience principles that are happening to our brains and bodies. Again, while they have many programs, the primary teacher is Andy Puddicomb. He has a really calming voice and the English accent is a wonderful bonus.
- Insight Timer: This is definitely a more diverse app featuring many teachers. If you have a teacher you love, they are likely on this app. It can feel overwhelming at first, so if you have a technique you are drawn to (ie: breath awareness) or a specific area (ie: anxiety) you’d like to focus, that can help in your search.
- Unplug: Unplug is a studio based in LA which I absolutely love and they have streaming classes which is a great way to experience meditation from a teacher in a live setting. They have an impressive and eclectic schedule with everything from singing bowl healing to beginner meditations. Some of my favorite teachers that are teaching are Megan Monahan and Davidji if you are looking for a good place to start.
Meditation Teachers I Love – Speaking of teachers, below is a list of some of my go-tos, especially during these times. I’ve provided a very brief overview of each and why they have been so helpful. Similar to the apps, there is no one size fits all, so let yourself explore. A good rule of thumb when choosing a teacher is paying attention to what and how they practice. Most of these teachers are offering current programs for free, so I encourage you to take advantage.
- Deepak Chopra + The Chopra Center – This will always be my meditation home base. I started my practice with Deepak and Oprah’s 21-day meditation experience over 8 years ago, and then took my first meditation training at The Chopra Center. It was the game changer that helped me cultivate a 2x daily practice that hasn’t waivered for 7 years now.
- Davidji – Davidji was the lead teacher at The Chopra Center when I took my training. He is the embodiment of wisdom, joy, and accessibility. He teaches in a way that brings very esoteric concepts into a tangible practice. I just love him.
- Sarah Mclean – I became a certified meditation teacher through Sarah’s Mclean Meditation Institute and am now a senior teacher and co-creator of MMI Mindful – Bringing Mindfulness To Work Program. She continues to be a wonderful mentor who I am always turning to for guidance and insight.
- Panache Desai – I learned about Panache from my sister and saw the tremendous impact he was making on her healing journey. He is a gifted healer teaching the importance of energy, transmutation, and vibrational alignment.
- Tara Brach – I honestly can’t remember when I first discovered Tara because I’ve been following her so long. One of the great mindfulness meditation teachers with a background in psychotherapy, her talks and meditations have provided life changing insight for me over the years, particularly in difficult times.
- Sharon Salzberg – Sharon is also one of the great all time teachers. Her teachings in compassion and loving kindness were instrumental during my cancer journey and the teachings I continuously turn to when helplessness feels overwhelming.
- Emily Fletcher (Ziva Meditation) – Emily is a rockstar teacher who has created an impressive brand focusing on high performing individuals but also anyone who is looking to understand the science behind stress and why meditation is such a potent tool.
- Light Watkins – Light tells it like it is and again provides a very accessible approach to meditation based on the Vedic philosophy.
- Tracee Stanley –I discovered Tracee through friends and on Instagram and have found such important wisdom and guidance in her grounded approach.
- Amanda Gilbert – I also discovered Amanda on Instagram and love her thoughtful teaching style. She is so generous in sharing how she lives so whole-heartedly through her teachings.
- Megan Monahan – Megan is also a teacher at The Chopra Center and while I did not meet her there, I am so grateful for her teachings and approach which is very thoughtful but also kind of sassy which I appreciate.
- Kris Carr – Kris is truly one of my sheroes. A fellow cancer thriver (also diagnosed on Valentine’s Day) she has created an impressive wellness brand that is so thoughtful and wise and that translates into her meditations.
- Flint Sparks – And of course Flint, perhaps my most personal teacher. Many of you may know Flint from my book. I credit him for helping me to embody my meditation practice in profound ways that have forever shifted how I face both challenge and uncertainty, but also ease and joy.
If you are looking for some of my favorite wisdom teachers that may fall outside of the “meditation” category, although that is still core to their teachings, check out my W.I.S.E guide here. I’ll also be offering my online program for free – Gateway to Presence, that you can access here. I’ve also just posted a video including some perspectives on stress and a guided meditation here.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by another meditation master, Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of MSBR): “Meditation practice is not intended to stop the waves so that the water becomes peaceful or tranquil. Meditation practice will help you ‘keep your balance’ as you ride the waves.”
I love you all. Be safe. Stay hydrated. And most importantly be kind to yourself.
ps. Do you have any favorite apps and teachers you recommend? Let me know in the comments.
Photo by Jamie Werner