Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Insight Timer: An iOS and Android App to Help with Your Meditation Practice

I have mentioned on several occasions that I have a regular mindfulness meditation practice and have been reading heavily for some time about Buddhist philosophy, religion, and practice. My interest in Buddhist practice actually began about 7 or 8 years ago when one of my students revealed to me that he and his family were Buddhist, and that he had just undergone special mindfulness training when he turned 13. His family was originally from Laos, and I became fascinated with the cultural aspects Buddhist experience. I began practicing intermittently for several years, until my more recent attendance to an annual retreat at the Southern Dharma Retreat Center, located in the mountains of North Carolina. (Check out their web site here.)

Amazingly though, technology does provide tools to those interested in Buddhist practice. Besides downloading all the books, podcasts and videos that are available, there are also apps for iOS devices and Android devices. These apps assist those who practice meditation with timers and the ability to connect with other practitioners. My favorite app, available for both iOS and Android is called Insight Timer. (Check out their web site here.) This app has several features that actually make your meditation practice more effective.

  • Insight Timer: This is the major function of the app. It is a timer for your meditation sessions. With Insight Time, you can adjust the length of your session and choose what your beginning and ending bell will sound like. You can also scheduled interval bells during your meditation too.
  • Insight Connect: This feature of Insight Timer allows you to connect and message to others who have joined the Insight Connect network. For example, you can send a simple message to someone else thanking them for meditating with you. You can also join groups, and even see others close by who are or who have meditated. By joining groups, you can receive common messages from others in that group. This Insight Connect feature makes your meditation practice more social.
  • Other Options: You can view your meditation log and statistics and record your observations and reflections in a journal. This journal can be exported as well. Finally, you can set your Insight Connect picture as well as your app background too.
I hesitated sharing this app on this blog, because I am afraid there are those who might see this as an endorsement of religious practice, but it is not. So many meditation groups are being established, and many of those who participate are from all faiths. I participated in a retreat this past summer with an Episcopal priest. Insight meditation is an excellent way to finding your center and becoming authentic. Insight Timer is an excellent technological tool to help with that.

Insight Timer Screenshot


  1. As a nonreligious school leader who meditates, I appreciate this post, and I plan on checking out this app.

    1. Thanks. It is nice to connect with another school leader who practices meditation. I hope the app is a big help.

  2. I'm totally intrigued and want to try this!!

  3. Feeling stressed and finding it difficult to fit everything into the day? Perhaps it's time to join the mindfulness revolution. Looks at five apps for stress relief and greater clarity of thought to help you cope with the hustle and bustle of modern day life.