I have been meditating for decades. And while I can testify to meditation’s many benefits, I can also say from my own extensive anecdotal research that there’s basically nothing more boring than listening to some new age blowhard opine about why you should meditate. You probably already know that meditation is clinically proven to make you more focused and less stressed.
The real problem is not trying to figure out whether meditation will help you or not — it will — the real issue is how to integrate meditation into your life and stay interested in the practice. Podcasts can help give you the pro tips you need or that little bit of inspo when it feels like a chore. Here are the six best meditation podcasts I’ve found that will actually make you want to meditate.
The Daily Shine showcases amazing BIPOC teachers. It’s short, accessible, and unlike so many of the esoteric new age offerings out there, very practical. Every episode has a short talk about an aspect of life to ponder — like setting boundaries or cultivating gratitude — and a brief meditation that can help you apply it to your own life.
Tara Brach is like the Beyoncé of meditation — pretty much everyone across the world adores her. Brach’s podcast alternates between Buddhist-style dharma talks (otherwise known as spiritual conversations) and guided meditations. Even if you’re not Buddhist, Brach’s talks have some pretty deep real world wisdom, and her guided meditations are basically the gold standard, because they seamlessly integrate modern psychological principles with ancient practices. Check these episodes out if you’re spiritually curious and want to be guided by an experienced teacher.
A lot of meditation podcasts are geared toward people who already meditate. That’s cool, but most people need a lot of help learning to find stillness and sustaining a practice. The Mindful Minute is a blessedly short meditation podcast that’s focused on helping busy people start, and stay meditating. Each episode is led by experienced instructor Meryl Arnett and features a short and simple guided meditation — perfect for newbie meditators still working on building their concentration time.
The Rubin Mindfulness Meditation Podcast is a podcast created by New York’s Rubin Museum of Art, which showcases art from the Himalayan region, and each episode uses a different piece of art for inspiration. I felt a little suspicious that it might be gimmicky or trite, but it’s actually kind of inspiring. Plus, they feature some of the heavy hitters of the meditation world — like author and meditation teacher Sharon Shalzberg — who use the Buddhist art pieces as jumping off points to guide you through skillfully led meditation practices.
If I actually meditated all the times I “should” have, I would probably be enlightened by now. Okay, maybe not, but let’s be honest: It’s hard to sit down, shut up, and focus on anything in today’s hustle culture. If meditation feels intimidating or challenging to fit into your life, I Should Be Meditating has your back; it's hosted by Alan Klima, a well-respected teacher with an approachable “regular guy” style of teaching. Klima talks openly about his own struggle to maintain a consistent practice, which feels validating when you’re facing your own lack of discipline.
On Being is more of a storytelling podcast than a meditation podcast. The host, Krista Tippet, interviews prominent poets, philosophers, and spiritual and social leaders about their passions. Her guests are people with big, world-altering ideas — like Buddhist teacher Rev. angel Kyodo williams, a Black queer Buddhist teacher who espouses a socially radical approach to Buddhist practices.
Often, Tippet’s guests talk about their own meditation, contemplation, and mindfulness practices in ways that make you want to do the same; so you can be as calm, focused, and groundbreaking as they are. If you’re looking for existential reasons to get your head right, On Being may be just the spark you need to get started.