Are you struggling to navigate the vast sea of online meditation resources? You’re not alone. With so many options at our fingertips, it can feel almost impossible to figure out which ones are worth our time and attention.
But what if you miss out on the perfect meditation tool because you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices?
I get it. The search can be frustrating and time-consuming, leaving you wondering if it’s even worth the effort.
But here’s the good news: I’ve done the legwork for you! I’ve sifted through countless meditation websites, apps, and online resources to bring you the ultimate guide to learning meditation online.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find a curated list of the best meditation resources, from free guided sessions to expert-led courses, helping you dive into your meditation journey with confidence. Say goodbye to the overwhelm and hello to a newfound sense of peace and mindfulness.
There are now thousands of online options available – and that’s no surprise. In a 2018 survey, they found the number of US residents who practice meditation had tripled between 2012 and 2017 – from 4.1% to 14.2% and it’s still growing.
Can You Learn Meditation Online?
The pandemic was a real turning point for distance learning courses and online meditation.
Not only were people forced to use video conferencing and online videos to practice meditation, but people who hadn’t practiced before were now looking for ways to deal with the stress caused by the sudden change in their circumstances.
Fortunately, most people who want to share their experiences with meditation are well-intentioned and generous people, so there is a lot of valuable information online.
I do not recommend restricting your learning to online resources as other mediums of information have different perspectives. Make sure you also consider:
- Meditation books
- Local meditation classes
- Wellness magazines
Best Free Online Meditation Resources
Best for learning the basics of meditation – Headspace YouTube Channel
Headspace’s YouTube channel is an exceptional starting point for anyone looking to explore meditation.
Co-founded by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, Headspace is dedicated to making meditation accessible and approachable for people from all walks of life.
The channel offers a diverse selection of guided meditation sessions, ranging from short, focused practices to longer, more immersive experiences.
Additionally, there are animated videos explaining mindfulness concepts and techniques in a clear, engaging manner.
The channel also features insightful interviews with experts, as well as practical tips and advice to help you build a consistent meditation practice.
With its user-friendly approach and high-quality content, Headspace’s YouTube channel has become a go-to resource for those seeking to improve their mental well-being through meditation.
Best Scholarly resource on meditation – UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC)
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) is a renowned institution dedicated to fostering mindfulness through scientific research, education, and community outreach.
Offering a wealth of free guided meditation sessions, MARC provides invaluable resources for individuals looking to cultivate mindfulness in their daily lives.
Their meditation sessions cater to a variety of preferences, ranging from beginner-friendly practices to more advanced techniques for experienced practitioners. Alongside guided meditations, MARC hosts workshops, classes, and retreats, allowing participants to delve deeper into their mindfulness practice.
They also conduct cutting-edge research on the impact of mindfulness on mental and physical health, contributing significantly to the field. With its comprehensive resources and commitment to making mindfulness accessible, UCLA MARC is a vital resource for anyone seeking to develop and strengthen their meditation practice.
Best online meditation for sleep – Michale Sealy (YouTube)
While sleep depends greatly on your daily activities, achieving calmness and relaxation before bed is crucial for drifting off. Stress, anxiety, and an overactive mind can make it almost impossible to fall asleep, and the silence of night only makes the thoughts in your head more disruptive.
As a former clinical insomniac, I had difficulty finding sleep meditation that didn’t further annoy me—until I heard the following words:
“Do not listen to this recording while driving or operating machinery. Only listen when you can safely relax and fully focus on your own comfort.”
Michael Sealy’s YouTube channel has numerous high-quality guided sleep meditation videos. Though he calls them sleep hypnosis, it’s just another term for guided meditation. With top-quality sound production, well-crafted scripts, and a voice that could belong to the sandman himself, Sealy’s meditations are truly magical.
Best workplace-related meditation resource – Twello
There’s a higher demand for quality on platforms like LinkedIn, which is where I found Twello.
Twello (previously Peak Wellness) is a Canadian company based in Ontario. They provide corporate learning on wellness and meditation courses for organizations.
The company is the brainchild of Kayla Kozan “a burned-out professional looking for a better way to manage the overwhelming stress and Sunday night anxiety brought on by her hectic financial district lifestyle.”
What I like is their posts are straightforward and concise, and they have a real understanding of the pressures of work, especially in corporate life.
Best meditation blog & podcast – Ten Percent Happier
Ever since reading his book, 10% Happier, Dan Harris has won my heart as the once meditation cynic turned meditation evangelist who publicly had a nervous breakdown on live tv.
What I love about Harris’ blog Is how the posts are down-to-earth with great writing from prestigious authors like Sharon Salzberg.
Whilst the site also offers a paid app, there is also a great podcast to listen to that offers the occasional bonus meditation from the guests.
Best Yoga meditation resource – Yoga with Adriene
Adriene has been a part of my wife and I’s life even before we met.
I love the intro music that pleasingly stays with you through the day, and her genuine tone, talking to you as if you’re in the room with her which makes you feel welcome and at ease.
Together with her side-kick Benji the dog, she offers accessible Yoga and constantly reminds the viewer of the mind and body connection. She occasionally does a meditation-only video and I think they are some of the best available online.
It’s no surprise that Yoga with Adriene is one of the top ten subscribed to channels on YouTube. So if you’re looking to enjoy both the benefits of meditation and Yoga, definitely check Adriene out.
Best free app for meditation – InsightTimer
There are only a handful of apps that a “free”. Most have a free trial period, but there’s only one that truly offers free meditation of high quality, and that is InsightTimer.
InsightTimer has hundreds of thousands of meditations including celebrities such as Russell Brand and Gisele Bündchen.
What’s great about their app is that it offers a range of meditation courses, talks, and live events, from many of the top meditation teachers such as Jack Cornfield, Davidji, and Matthieu Ricard.
What’s also great is the range of meditation classifications ranging from spiritual to medically focused meditation practices.
Best Paid Online Resources
They say you get what you pay for. But is the price you pay for some features worth it? In my opinion, not always. But here are a few that are worth the investment.
Best Premium Streaming Service – Gaia
Gaia is a premier subscription-based streaming platform that focuses on spirituality, wellness, and personal growth. With an extensive library of content, Gaia offers a diverse range of meditation resources, yoga classes, and expert-led workshops, allowing subscribers to explore various aspects of their spiritual journey.
Gaia’s meditation collection features guided sessions from renowned teachers, encompassing a wide variety of styles and techniques suitable for both beginners and seasoned practitioners.
In addition to meditation, Gaia provides access to thought-provoking documentaries, enlightening interviews, and transformative courses that cover topics such as alternative healing, ancient wisdom, and metaphysics.
The platform’s user-friendly interface and commitment to delivering high-quality, inspirational content make Gaia an excellent choice for those seeking to deepen their understanding and practice of meditation, as well as to explore a broader spectrum of spiritual and personal development topics.
Best paid app for meditation – Ten Percent Happier App
When you say meditation app, there are always two that people talk about – Calm and Headspace. And looking at most online meditation reviews, most vote for the Calm app as the best. But I don’t and here’s why. I think it’s neither.
The Ten Percent Happier app is focused on meditation practice, while the other two offer other categories such as sleep stories and sounds. In an app, this just makes searching for what you need just a little more complicated when you’re trying to relax.
Before each of the meditation videos, you are given a little introduction from the founder Dan Harris that tells you a little about the meditation.
There are some great teachers with easy-to-use navigation and each of the meditation courses is all in one ‘hub’. The guided meditations are mindfulness-based and each area is easy to access and great for beginners. Like all apps, there is a space to track your daily meditation with little awarded to keep you motivated.
What’s a really nice touch is that the founder Dan Harris talks to the instructor before the meditation courses so you learn a little about meditation. And there are also some interviews with real people talking about what they are going through.
Best paid mindfulness meditation courses – Jon Kabat-Zinn MasterClass
Having a structured course is a great way to start meditating. But there are so many meditation courses available right now that finding the right teacher can actually cause you some anxiety.
I’ve tried a handful but one that I found really resonated with me could only come from the father of Western mindfulness meditation.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is famous for his scientific research into meditation and for creating the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine. He also introduced Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) which is now used in clinics and hospitals.
This course was one of the first that I invested in as a beginner and it’s been hard to beat. You get the usual high-quality video production from the online courses at MasterClass, but you also get the most revered instructor for mindfulness meditation sitting in your room talking to you and sharing all his thoughts on mindfulness meditation.
What I loved about this course is how accessible Kabat-Zinn made mindfulness meditation. It feels like you are having a chat with a teacher about a topic you both love. He occasionally waves his hand at you and tells you not to worry about something, and tells you to just focus on breathing.
The course is broken into the different foundations of mindfulness meditation, at the end of each section, there is a guided meditation with the instructor so you can practice and learn the meditation.
Things To Be Careful Of When Using Online Meditation Resources
Meditation is an intimate form of mental exercise for your well-being. Whether you are choosing online guides for physical or mental exercise, you should practice care when choosing which provider you follow. Here are some points to consider:
It might not be right for you
It might be your best friend recommending a website or a meditation course for you, but that doesn’t mean you should follow it blindly.
Not everyone responds to the same meditations in the same way. You can be in a different stage of your mental health from others, so make sure it feels right for you at this time.
It sounds too good to be true
Some courses offer life-transforming benefits in exchange for money. And some do indeed help with improving your life using a structured plan.
But unfortunately, there are those willing to take advantage of people to make a quick buck. Here are a few tips to use before handing your hard-earned cash over:
- Pressure to buy – Be careful of sellers forcing you to buy right away. It’s normal for sellers to offer an early bird discount. But if you feel like you’re not being given a choice – step away.
- Don’t put your trust in on-page reviews – You’ll sometimes see ratings or customer testimonials on the same page offering a course or guide. Make sure to complete a separate search from trusted sites such as trust pilot.
- Doesn’t fit with the rest of the website – There are some sites set up purely to make money without any expertise on the topic. You can spot them as they have very different topics on the site or very few other pages.
Most people that have been a victim of fraud, when asked after the crime always say that with hindsight they had a bad feeling. So if in doubt, don’t pay out.
Learning meditation online has never been easier with the abundance of resources available. From free guided sessions to comprehensive paid courses, there’s something for everyone. There are so many types of meditation, so having expert advice online can be a big help.
Explore the resources I’ve mentioned in this guide, and you’ll be well on your way to developing a rewarding meditation practice. Happy meditating!