Meditation can be a therapeutic way to unwind from the anxiety and stress we all experience in our daily lives. One way to tap into meditation is with podcasts that guide you through the process. Meditation podcasts focus on a variety of issues from fear to anger to insomnia, and with time and practice, can make a difference in your life.
Guided meditations can be especially helpful, particularly for beginners, since all you need do is follow the voice of the person steering you through the meditation. Some people find it difficult to clear their minds and not wander off mentally during meditation. As with most things in life, the more you practice meditation, the more you should be able to surrender to its effects.
Here's a collection of free meditation podcasts that I listen to via my iPhone and iPad when I need a healthy dose of rest, relief, or relaxation. These guided podcasts are all available through iTunes, but you can find several of them on their own dedicated websites to listen to via your computer or other device. Android users should also be able to catch some of them by installing any one of a number of dedicated podcast apps highlighted in this article by CNET's Scott Webster.
Meditation for Health
This series of podcasts offers meditations to help you cope with stress, sleep problems, addictions, and loneliness. You'll also find podcasts on how to do a walking meditation and how to use visual imagery to calm your mind and body. Beyond the actual guided meditations, this series offers tips on how to deal with different challenges and obstacles in life.
This series is one of my favorites. Created by Mary and Richard Maddux, these podcasts cover a wide range of topics: deep rest, grief, creativity, pressure, anger, compassion, and patience. I especially like some of the shorter podcasts, including one on how to take a mini break from work and another on how to calm yourself through your breath. Taking you through the guided meditations, Mary Maddux provides a soothing, comforting voice that totally draws you in.
The Meditation Podcast
The podcasts in this series take you from basic meditation to more advanced practices such as calming your body, releasing fear, and helping you sleep. Most of the podcasts run a little under half an hour but you'll find shorter ones as well. The creators of the Meditation Podcast say they've received emails from people who have suffered from strokes, emotional losses, trauma, anxiety, and insomnia, and have benefited from listening to this series.
My Meditation Station
This is another series that focuses on a healthy range of topics. You'll find meditations on how to energize yourself in the morning, how to calm obsessive thinking, how to deal with anxiety, and how to help yourself sleep. Most of the meditations here are short, no longer than 20 minutes, so they're ideal to listen to if you just need a quick meditative break anytime during the day or night.
Relaxation Meditation Podcast
This podcasts in this series are devoted strictly to stress relief using a combination of deep breathing and visual imagery. Lita, who takes you through the meditations, has the perfect voice to carry you along on your quest to achieve a calmer mind and body. Some of the meditations are quick, only a few minutes, while others last up to 20 minutes.
Yoga Empowered for Chronic Conditions
This series offers only a small number of podcasts, but it contains my favorite type of meditation -- yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is guided meditation in which you focus on each part of your body one after another with the goal of calming yourself physically and mentally. In yoga nidra, you lay down on a mat or soft surface as you approach a sleep-like state. You're typically asked to try not to fall asleep, but many people find that they do actually doze off. This series offers a 25-minute yoga nidra session that I think most practitioners would find extremely relaxing.