One of my favorite meditation instructors likes to say that meditation is the thing we’re all really happy other people do. We know meditation has countless mental and physical health benefits, but when it comes down to actually sitting down and being quiet — wait, did you see that squirrel? Yeah, me too. Even though I’ve been meditating for actual decades, I still need a lot of guidance on how to meditate. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with using a podcast, video, app, or IRL guided meditation class to help you get in the zone.
In these trying times, we need practices led by people we can trust to help us heal and deal. Traditional meditation, done diligently over a long period of time, can definitely help you cope with the stressors of everyday life. But in moments of real upheaval, healing meditations can guide you from freak out to feeling okay, and maybe even hopeful. Here are the four best free healing meditations on the internet.
This meditation will help you calm down and focus: Tara Brach’s “Coming Home to Being”
A lot of folks tend to assume that meditation instructors and yoga teachers are naturally calm people who want to share their zen with the world. Nope. I started meditating because I am a high-strung hot mess, and I literally need step-by-step instructions for how to relax. Tara Brach’s “Coming Home to Being” meditation has been my go-to for years. Brach’s voice is so nurturing that it feels like she’s holding your hand patiently as she explains how to soften in each part of your body and calm down your racing thoughts. “Coming Home to Being” is like the Xanax of guided meditations.
This meditation will help you feel grounded: Rev. angel Kyodo Williams’s “Focusing on What Matters”
Rev. angel Kyodo Williams is an amazing teacher of dharma, or Buddhist philosophy. Her book, Radical Dharma, is basically the bible for progressive Buddhists, and you can find many talks she’s given about the important connections between spirituality and social justice. But a long talk isn’t always what the doctor ordered. Sometimes, you just need a short, simple practice that reminds you how to move with integrity through the world and helps you maintain your dignity when it’s being challenged. “Focusing on What Matters” is a quick six-minute meditation that will help you feel more grounded and ready to face the world.
This meditation will put you right to sleep: Jennifer Piercy’s “Yoga Nidra for Sleep”
Jennifer Piercy is like the Taylor Swift of sleep meditation — seriously, her meditations have been streamed tens of millions of times — and for good reason. I have done her “Yoga Nidra for Sleep” meditation more than 1,000 times, and yet I can count the number of times I’ve heard the end of it. Translation: It works. In the 22-minute session, Piercy guides you through a progressive body relaxation that will help you feel and sleep like the sweet little baby you are.
This meditation will remind you that life is beautiful: Sri Swami Satchidananda’s “Yogaville Inner Peace Meditation”
Sri Swami Satchidananda is probably one of the most revered Indian teachers in America. He’s left his body now, but he spoke at Woodstock and founded an ashram in rural Virginia in the 1960s. Satchidananda’s devotees include Alice Coltrane, Carol King, Peter Max, and yours truly; his “Yogaville Inner Peace Meditation” is one of my favorite teachings of all time. It’s absolutely a meditation that will help you relax your body and mind, but if you can stay awake through 26 minutes of his blissful tenor — good luck — Satchidananda shares some profound wisdom that will remind you that life is beautiful in his playful, light, and joyful voice.