Anyone who knows me or has ever heard me talk about mindfulness for teachers has probably heard me sing high praises for something called the Insight Timer. However it occurred to me that I’ve never sat down and considered all the reasons it seems to be such an important and helpful app. So that’s what today’s blog is about…why Insight Timer rocks!
I even wrote a follow up to this post, because I remain smitten by the Insight Timer despite LOTS of other apps trying to support mindfulness for teachers.
By the way, I am not an affiliate, so this is coming straight from my years of experience using the app and the way it seems to truly supports teacher mindfulness practice…
Insight Timer Rocks because…
Free isn’t always a good thing, but with Insight Timer it is! Although there have been some changes throughout the past few years, at this point all features of the app are free. There is a paid feature where the user can download music to listen to with a meditation. But this is a very minor part of the entire Insight Timer experience. So, although this music may enhance some of the user experience, you won’t be missing out on much if you don’t try that right away. There are plenty of free features to support your meditation practice without paying for extra music right away.
Oh and did I mention it’s not only FREE, but it also has no popups or ads either…
This app is called a “timer” but it is soooo much more than that. Yes, the timer feature is great because it allows the user to choose the time, the starting, ending and interval bell sounds (if you want to use them), and background music (there are a few tracks that are free!), but there is a lot more in this app than just the Timer.
The Insight Timer is also an app that gives the user access to thousands of guided meditations. There is fairly sophisticated search ability where the user can search by time, type, highest rated, most listened to, and most recently added. Each user also has his/her own playlist to save their favorite meditations. There are also suggested playlists created by people who run the app. Each morning there is a section to check for New, Playing Now, and Popular this Week guided meditations. These are great places to get started if you feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices.
People who have been meditating for all lengths of time can find something on the Insight Timer. There are basic practices and more in-depth practices. There are body scans, chanting meditations and talks on certain subjects. There are meditations in different languages and meditations that are affiliated with different religions. It is truly a collection of different voices that speak to the variety of people on the planet. In fact, anyone can submit a meditation through the Insight Timer’s website. It seems to be a fairly straightforward process, although I don’t know how quickly the time is between submission and actually being uploaded to the site. They invite all people to be a part of creating this community!
I have been using this timer since early 2014 and the app has gone through many changes. But honestly I thought it was useful from the beginning, and now I am amazed with how much they have considered when creating certain features. They have listened and accounted for all kinds of things that can happen when meditating. A user can add on extra time to a timed practice. If a session needs to be ended early, it will count what you’ve already done, it allows a user to pause and resume. And if all else fails, you can add sessions to your personal daily log.
There is consistent communication from the developers to the users as changes are being made and I always felt like each change or modification has been meaningful and purposeful. They have truly accounted for so many things and I appreciate that attention to detail.
One other note about how wonderful the people are who run this app…A few months ago, the free service did not allow the user to add on a session if something went wrong. So I had a phone glitch and my session didn’t register. I thought I would just try to contact customer service to see if they would be willing to add the session. Within no time, my request was kindly and promptly taken care of without hesitation. Again, this is FREE app…without commercials, pop-ups or ads!
Although some people may not really care about this feature, the Insight Timer allows you to connect with people, send private messages to one another, create groups and facilitate discussion boards. This is truly an optional function and one that you can turn on or off depending on what you are wanting to use the Timer for. What I appreciate about it is that I can connect with people and groups, but that’s not the home screen of the app. So, if that’s something I want to look at, I can, but most of the time I am doing my meditation and then moving on to the next thing in my day. However, I know that the possibility for being connected and it really makes you feel like you are part of a community.
A really great feature that I think is neat and my students like is that when you are finished with a meditation, a screen pops up to tell you how many people all over the world have just meditated with you. You can see there picture and then you can also see a map of the entire world and see where everyone is who is currently meditating. This is a really simple way to show how connected we really can be.
Another initiative of the Insight Timer is the Insight 10,000. The initiative is adding the collective number of minutes that all of the users have meditated and the goal is to collectively reach 10,000 years of meditation. According to the Timer “Every 24 hours in 130 countries our users collectively meditate for approximately 900,000 minutes. That’s 615 days of meditation every single day. At this rate our community will reach 10,000 YEARS of collective meditation on November 21, 2029!” But the idea is that we can reach this number sooner if we meditate more and pass this on to others.
One feature that you can also turn off or ignore (but I find fun) are the milestones. The Insight Timer keeps track of certain statistics and gives you stars for the milestones you reach. Some of the milestones include charts for your last 10 days, 10 weeks, and 10 months; how many consecutive days you’ve meditated; how many hours with the timer; how many hours with the guided meditations; how many total hours; and how many days with at least one session. These are fun little reminders of your progress, but it is always optional to turn these off if you find them distracting. So again, this is another way for you to personalize your experience.
Maybe more than anything, the feel of this app is fun and the interface is smart and light. There is often a misconception that meditation is serious business, but this app is really about creating a simple and useful tool to make your life a little easier. It has made my life a LOT easier and don’t believe I would have such a consistent meditation practice, if it weren’t for this app. I find it so user friendly and invite anyone who hasn’t already used it to give it a try.
So, if you haven’t already downloaded or given the Insight Timer a try, I really encourage you to explore it a little more. I have no doubt there will be something there that you can connect to and will help you maintain a more consistent mindfulness practice.
Although I’m not an affiliate of Insight Timer, I am a mindfulness instructor specializing in mindfulness for teachers. If you’re looking for mindfulness practices created by a teacher, for teachers then please check these out and let me know what you think!
If you also want to extend mindfulness to your classroom (both in person or virtual), check out the free download 10 Ways to Go from Calm to Chaos. Once you start building your own mindfulness practice, it’s great to begin finding ways to bringing mindfulness to the “big moments” that may challenge our calm!