Learning how to stay focused and in control is nothing less than a survival skill in today's world, but trying to stay calm in a world buzzing with distractions is no small feat. There's always something new, exciting, or demanding waiting just around the corner, poised to suck up your time and attention.
Luckily, meditation and mindfulness may be able to help. They are simple, effective tools that anyone can use to improve their mental health and well-being. They've been shown to help people deal with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and a whole lot more.
You can use these techniques to:
- Create space for yourself and your thoughts
- Enhance your focus, reduce stress, and improve your well-being
- Stay calm when faced with challenges or difficult situations
Today, there are many ways to learn about meditation and mindfulness, ranging from guided and pre-recorded meditations to live classes. To help you decide, we compared two popular apps, Headspace and Calm, with Prime by Sofia Health to see what each has to offer.
1. Calm Meditation App: Overview
Calm has an extensive library of pre-recorded meditations that vary in length from just two minutes up to 25. It also offers sleep stories (which are guided meditations designed to help you get some shut-eye), breathing exercises (for those who struggle with panic attacks or anxiety), and other resources like books, podcasts, videos, and articles. The Calm app also offers an extensive library of relaxation music that helps you unwind after a long day at work or at points when you feel stressed.
When you open Calm, you'll be presented with a variety of guided meditation options, each with a unique purpose. A few of these include:
- Mental Fitness: A guided meditation aimed at improving your mental health and well-being, this program features an expert guide who helps you reach a state of focused mindfulness.
- Sleep Stories: These are cozy and relaxing stories that you can listen to as you drift off to sleep.
- The Daily Calm: This is a quick 10-minute meditation program that helps you center yourself, whether you're in the middle of a busy day or nearing its conclusion.
- The app features an easy-to-use interface with beautiful visuals and a relaxing soundtrack.
- The guided meditations are professionally recorded and narrated by soothing voices.
- The app includes a wide range of meditation programs, including ones designed to provide stress relief, sleep, and focus. You can choose from a variety of lengths for each program (ranging from 5 minutes to over an hour).
- The Daily Calm can be especially useful since it's only 10 minutes long and designed to fit into your busy schedule.
- Calm is more expensive than other options.
- It's not always the easiest to organize, so it can be hard to find what you're looking for.
- The app has a lot of features that aren't immediately obvious, so it takes some time to find and get used to them all.
A lifetime membership with Calm will cost $399. If that's too steep, there's a monthly membership that costs $14.99 per month and an annual membership that costs $69.99 per year.
2. Headspace Meditation App: Overview
Headspace is a meditation app that offers pre-recorded guided meditations and lessons that are tailored to your needs and goals. It provides a great introduction to mindfulness meditation with simple instructions and soothing music. It also brings together a supportive community of users.
If you're new to meditation or have trouble staying focused during practice, it's a nice way to get started.
Headspace's interface is more user-friendly than Calm's, with clean animation designs and intuitive navigation. It's also a little more colorful, which can make the app feel more approachable than its competitors.
Headspace also offers a number of guided meditations to choose from, making it a great option for those who want to get started with mindfulness meditation but aren't sure where to begin. It comes with:
- SOS Meditations: If you're feeling stressed or anxious, try an SOS Meditation to help you relax and find balance. These short meditations are perfect for times when you need some quick relief from stress.
- Timed Meditations: If you're looking for something more substantial, try out one of these longer meditations. They'll provide you with more time and space to explore your thoughts and emotions.
- Group Meditations: Headspace also offers group meditations led by experts who will lead you through the process step-by-step so that everyone can benefit from the practice together.
- It has an affordable subscription plan.
- There are hundreds of guided meditations.
- It offers great guidance for beginners.
- It records stats to track your progress.
- It has a beautiful interface that is easy to use.
- More advanced users could find themselves limited by the app's offerings.
- Some users find the voice acting to be cheesy.
- The app doesn't offer much beyond guided meditations, so you'll need to look elsewhere for more comprehensive meditation programs.
Headspace comes with a free 7-day trial, and then the app costs $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year. Its monthly rate is one of the least expensive on the market.
3. Sofia Prime by Sofia Health: Overview
Sofia Prime is a subscription service offered by Sofia Health, an online health and wellness marketplace where users can search for and book appointments with complementary, holistic, and functional health and wellness providers. With a subscription, you can receive unlimited access to live classes in:
- Tai Chi and Qigong
- Health and Wellness
An unlimited subscription with Sofia Prime makes it easy to attend live classes at all hours of the day and for as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time, whether you need to unwind after a long day of work or just want to take some time for yourself.
Live instructors provide real-time instruction, making it a great way to connect with professionals offering support and feedback.
Key Differentiators of Sofia Prime
With Sofia Prime, you not only receive unlimited access to live meditation classes but also a wide range of yoga, mindfulness, fitness, health, and wellness classes. As you move deeper into your meditation practice, you can also explore other holistic and integrative healing practices.
For example, compared to either Headspace or Calm, Sofia Prime offers a broader set of meditation courses, each with a unique focus. Some of these include:
- Maternity Meditation: Sofia's maternity course is designed to help you relax and prepare for childbirth. It includes guided live meditations and breathing exercises, as well as information on how to manage stress during pregnancy.
- Mindful Morning Meditation: This course focuses on helping you start your day off right by practicing mindfulness while getting ready in the morning. It can be a great way to kick off your day in a calm and centered state.
- Advanced Meditation: Advanced meditation courses offer more complex exercises that are meant to increase your focus and concentration. You can use these exercises to help you overcome challenges in your life or simply improve your overall happiness.
- Tai Chi or “Moving” Meditation: With Tai Chi, you'll learn a type of meditation where you never stop moving. It's like a dance, but with a deeper purpose. You'll learn how to use your movements to focus on your breath and center yourself in the present moment while maintaining healthy levels of physical activity.
Sofia's classes encompass both physical and mental fitness, integrating them into a holistic approach to wellness. Compared to either Headspace or Calm, their offerings are much more diverse. There are traditional meditations, but also therapeutic exercises that seek to unify the body and mind.
- Sofia Prime offers meditation and mindfulness classes suitable for beginners or more advanced students. Options include (but are not limited to) trauma-informed mindfulness, self-care meditation, meditation for gratitude, and more.
- Classes are designed to be accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. No prior experience is necessary.
- Many classes are small and intimate, with an emphasis on learning and personal development. The teachers are friendly and approachable, offering live feedback and support in real time.
- Sofia Health offers 10 to 12 live classes daily, with an option to jump into quick classes at different times throughout the day. Class length varies from quick 10-to-15-minute sessions to 45 minutes or more, so you can choose the length that fits your schedule.
- You can also book private classes with any of the professionals running group classes on Sofia Health.
- A library of recorded video sessions is available on demand.
- The larger variety of classes may be overwhelming for some people.
- Classes that you want to take may not be offered at the time that best suits you.
Sofia Prime begins with a 2-week free trial, during which you can enjoy unlimited access to their classes and services. After that, they charge a flat $20 per month or $15 per month with an annual subscription.
Which of These Is Right for You?
Deciding between the Calm app vs Headspace may not be an easy decision. Both are great options as far as meditation apps go. They have pre-recorded, professional-quality classes that are easy to use. Those new to mindfulness and meditation may especially benefit from:
- Easy-to-use apps with simple instructions
- Immediate access to a variety of different meditations
- The ability to track progress and goals
- Daily reminders to use the app
- Pre-recorded sessions that are professionally narrated
On the other hand, what if you want to go beyond beginner-level meditation? For those seeking a solution that encompasses a whole health approach, the Sofia Prime live classes may be the better option. They provide you with a teacher who is there to support you and help you along your journey. Plus, they provide the opportunity to meet with others who are interested in learning how to meditate.
Sofia Prime's peerless repertoire of live online classes offers you:
- Group classes that cover all aspects of mindfulness, including starting a practice and tips for success
- Communities of like-minded people who want to learn how to meditate and improve their lives
- The flexibility of learning from the comfort of your own home while still enjoying the benefits of live instruction
- Live guided meditation sessions with an expert instructor who guides you through different types of meditation practices. For example, guided imagery can be a great choice for those hoping to slow down racing thoughts.
The final decision, of course, is up to you. It doesn't have to be Headspace vs Calm, Calm vs Headspace, or Sofia Prime vs both of them! You can experiment with all of these options and see what works best for you. There's more than one way to meditate, and Calm, Headspace, and Sofia Prime each offer their own approach to help you get started, improve your practice, or just feel better overall.
Try out these apps and see which one speaks to you personally. Who knows? Maybe a little peace of mind is closer than you think.
For an in-depth article on meditation or to learn about the different types of meditation and meditation benefits, check out our article "What is Meditation"