Over the past two and a half months, life in America has come to a halt as the number of citizens infected with COVID-19 has risen from one to nearly 300,000. With states and cities across the country introducing laws that halt non-essential business activity and call for residents to stay at home on lockdown orders, many of us find ourselves emotionally overcome with stress and panic as we wait for life to return to normal.
There are no doubts about it, these severe measures have had a significant impact on the mental health of people all over the world. One of the worst aspects for many people is gyms and fitness centres having to close. People are concerned about their fitness and not being able to exercise is having a negative effect on people’s mental health. However, as it says on BonBon Shalal, it is possible to keep fit at home if you are committed to it. Additionally, being unable to work or socialize has undoubtedly had an impact on our personal relationships. That being said as this data from New Vision Psychology highlights, it is crucial to remember that support is out there. Ultimately, if you are struggling to cope with the pressures of lockdown, it is vital that you reach out to someone for help.
That is not all though. One of the main ways that people are trying to deal with this stress is by watching tv shows with their friends and loved ones (often as a virtual movie date as well). It’s no surprise that these are the COVID most watched shows either since people had a lot more time on their hands during this lockdown. Whatever works though, that’s all that matters. People deal with stress in their own way.
Fortunately, due to the challenges and hardships brought about by the ongoing health crisis, many prominent mindfulness teachers, organizations and institutions have begun sharing free meditation resources that can help us mindfully endure the epidemic. While we’ve done our best to compile a sizable list of offerings here, we ask that you share any additional resources in the comments below:
Eckhart Tolle & Kim Eng – Teachings and Meditations: As one of this generation’s most popular spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle has been a global symbol of hope and wisdom for over 20 years. Now, during these most challenging times, the best-selling author of The Power of Now, along with his wife Kim Eng, who is also a spiritual teacher, is sharing insightful teachings and guided meditations related to the coronavirus crisis.
Jack Kornfield – Pandemic Resources: The renowned American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, who played an instrumental role in bringing mindfulness to the west in the 1970s, is offering a variety of useful pandemic resources on his website. In addition to a collection of relevant articles and guided meditations, Kornfield has included a number of video interviews during which he shares timely advice for finding peace amid the epidemic.
Judson Brewer – Teachings and Office Hours: As an accomplished psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and author, Dr. Judson Brewer, who also has a TED Talk that’s been viewed over 14 million times, is one of today’s most influential figures in the fields of mindfulness research and habit change. Although COVID-19 has limited the work he can do as the Director of Research at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center, Brewer is still making a difference by sharing insights about the epidemic on his YouTube Channel. In addition to offering tips for nurturing well-being in this time of crisis, he’s also holding ‘office hours’ every Monday at 12:00 PM ET to answer viewers’ coronavirus questions.
Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra – 21-Day Meditation Experience: Ever since releasing their first 21-day meditation experience in 2013, inspirational icons Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra have attracted millions of individuals to participate in their digital meditation programs focused on specific areas of personal growth. Now, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the duo is offering free access to their ‘Hope in Uncertain Times’ experience, which features daily audio recordings with inspirational teachings and guided meditations.
Rick Hanson – Being Resilient During Coronavirus: Prominent American psychologist and best-selling author Rick Hanson is offering a variety of resources on his website that aim to change visitors’ thinking from fear-driven helplessness to hopeful resilience. In addition to video and audio recordings, which touch on topics such as safety and anxiety, the Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center has also included information about how to access his free live meditations sessions taking place each Wednesday from 9:00-10:30 PM ET.
Sharon Salzberg – COVID-19 Resources: In addition to the previously mentioned Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg also played a pioneering role in the 1970’s American mindfulness movement. Since then, Salzberg has spent the past 40+ years disseminating Buddhist wisdom throughout the United States while becoming one of the country’s most well-respected meditation teachers. Now, at a time when spiritual guidance is desperately needed, she’s put forward an assortment of useful COVID-19 Resources, including relevant audio recordings and links to the organizations she’s partnering with during this perilous time.
Tara Brach – Pandemic Care Resources: The globally beloved psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach has put together a list of life-affirming Pandemic Care Resources, comprised of guided meditation practices, dharma teachings, and access to a free half-day retreat she taught alongside Jack Kornfield. Additionally, Brach is also offering a free Livestream class every Wednesday night, on Facebook and YouTube, starting at 7:30 PM ET.
Mindful – Resources to Find Calm & Nourish Resilience: The non-profit organization Mindful, publishers of the popular bi-monthly Mindful Magazine, have created an empowering collection of free mindfulness resources we can lean upon during the COVID-19 epidemic. Beyond shining light on a number of relevant articles and recordings, the team at Mindful is also producing a live meditation series, called Mindful@Home, and offering free access to their premium online course Find Calm and Nourish Resilience.
Tricycle Magazine – Online Practice Sessions: In collaboration with the popular magazine Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, a number of celebrated meditation teachers are coming together to ease anxiety amid our social distancing efforts by offering free guided meditations, dharma talks, and Q&A sessions. Some of the most prominent teachers you’ll find at Tricycle are Pema Chödrön, Jack Kornfield, Lama Surya Das, and Koshin Paley Ellison.
Shambhala Publications – Global Health Crisis Resources: As one of the meditation industry’s most well-respected publishing companies, Shambhala Publications is offering a number of free global health crisis resources, including e-books such as ‘Radical Compassion: Shambhala Authors on the Path of Boundless Love’ and digital courses such as ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva.’ Additionally, Shambhala is offering discounted rates on a wide variety of other online programs.
Sounds True – Resilience in Challenging Time Care Package: Sounds True, another one of the meditation industry’s most prominent multimedia publishing companies, has put together an enheartening care package that included free access to daily video sessions, online opportunities for community connection, and webinars featuring globally renowned teachers such as Michael Singer and Caroline Myss.
Insight Meditation Society – Daily Meditations: The Insight Meditation Society, one of America’s oldest & most-respected meditation retreat centers, is streaming a variety of free daily video teachings and guided meditation practices via Facebook and YouTube. In addition to daily ‘Dharma in Challenging Times’ reflections and meditations from IMS’s Resident Teacher Chas DiCapua, you can find enlightening loving-kindness practices led by Sharon Salzberg and others.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center – Dharma Programs: Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, located in Woodcare, California, has moved all residential, non-residential retreats, and drop-in programs to an online format, through at least April 15th, and is accepting donations on a sliding scale of $0-$1008 as payment. Some of the upcoming offerings include the ‘Resilience: Transforming Adversity into Learning and Growth,’ ‘Wednesday Morning Meditation with Sylvia Boorstein and Donald Rothberg,’ and ‘Restoring Well-Being: Integrating Qigong and Meditation.’
Brown Mindfulness Center – Community Mindfulness Sessions: Established in 2017, the Mindfulness Center at Brown University has quickly become one of America’s leading institutions for mindfulness research and training. Although the Center, which is led by the previously mentioned Judson Brewer and his colleagues Eric Loucks and Dianne Horgan, has suspended all on-campus activities, it’s still making a difference in the community by offering free Community Mindfulness Sessions every day of the week on Zoom Video Conferencing.
Center for Healthy Minds – COVID-19 Well-Being Toolkit: The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, which is lead by prominent mindfulness researcher Richard Davidson, has made a nourishing COVID-19 Well-Being Toolkit available on its website. In addition to offering free access to their transformative Healthy Minds Program App, which offers science-based tools and daily training exercises meant to help users enhance well-being, improve relationships, and boost productivity, the center is also streaming free live meditation sessions and webinars.
Greater Good Science Center – Guide To Well-Being During Coronavirus: The University of California-Berkeley is another institution aiming to make a difference during the coronavirus epidemic. At the school’s Greater Good Science Center, which studies the science of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society, they’ve put together a Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus that can help us deal with the trials and tribulations we’re currently experiencing. As part of this guide, you’ll find a variety of relevant articles, some life-affirming advice for how to deal with stress and anxiety, and information about how to participate in their live weekly events ‘A Daily Dose of Togetherness’ and ‘Greater Good Together.’
Calm – Meditation Tools and Resources: A number of popular mindfulness and meditation apps are also offering free resources to help us get through the COVID-19 epidemic. The team at Calm, which has over 50 million downloads and 700,000 5-star reviews, has curated a collection of audio recordings, videos, and other materials. In addition to guided meditations, mood-enhancing music, and stretching exercises, you can also find activities for kids, sleep stories and a number of Calm journals with meditation instructions and writing prompts.
Headspace – Weathering the Storm Meditations: Another popular app stepping forward in this time of crisis is Headspace, which was founded by the prominent author and mindfulness teacher Andy Puddicombe. On the app’s website, visitors can access a number of guided meditations, from a larger collection of Weathering the Storm practices that aim to steer users through the stormy weather of life. Moreover, the app is also offering free access to the premium version of the Headspace app to all US healthcare professionals, K-12 educators, school administrators and supporting staff.
Open Heart Project – Free Daily Meditation Gatherings: The Open Heart Project, which was founded by renowned meditation teacher and best-selling author Susan Piver, is offering four live meditation gathering Monday-Friday, at 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM. 3:00 PM, and 6:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time), via Zoom Video Conferencing and Facebook. Beyond Piver herself, other teachers include the likes of Crystal Gandrud and Kyoun Sokuzan.
Ten Percent Happier – Coronavirus Sanity Guide: It was in 2004 when the accomplished ABC News anchor Dan Harris had his life flipped upside down after suffering a panic attack on live television. While such a distressing event would undoubtedly crumble the careers of many, Harris used the incident to fuel a quest for positive transformation, which ultimately lead him to the practice of meditation. Over the past 6 years, Harris has become one of the industry’s most likable figures thanks in large part to his 10% Happier book, podcast, and app. On the 10% Happier website, you can find a useful Coronavirus Sanity Guide containing a plethora of relevant resources and interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry. Harris is also offering his celebrated app free-of-charge for all healthcare workers.
Mindful Schools – Mindfulness Classes For Kids: With the vast majority of American schools postponing classes due to the coronavirus crisis, many parents are struggling to find ways to keep their children educated and entertained. Fortunately, numerous organizations are offering interactive activities online to assist America’s moms and dads, with Mindful Schools being one such outlet. On their website, visitors can find information about the nonprofit’s free mindfulness classes, which are designed for K-5 students but open to all age groups. In addition to 30 minutes of mindfulness practice taught by an experienced Mindful Schools teacher, the classes also have fun interactive activities, such as mindful eating and mindful movement, built into their structure.
The Center For Mindful Eating – Community Practices: With the specific focus of changing individuals’ relationship with food, by teaching them how to eat mindfully, The Center For Mindful Eating is offering all of their community practice sessions free-of-charge through at least April 30th. Included in these sessions is the nonprofit’s Conscious Cafe group-sitting, where you can learn mindful eating from an experienced facilitator, and Comunidad de Meditación, a special monthly meditation program taught in Spanish.
The Rubin Museum of Art – Coronavirus Care Package: One of the most unique offerings of free coronavirus meditation resources comes from New York City’s Rubin Museum, which is dedicated to the collection, display, and preservation of the art and cultures of the Himalayas. On The Rubin’s website, you can find a Coronavirus Care Package containing a number of interactive features, including a video stream of the museum’s Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room complimented auditorily with meditative chanting, and a daily video series aimed at helping you achieve greater balance in this time of uncertainty. Furthermore, there’s a variety of articles and practices dedicated to helping visitors’ learn how to harness their emotional states.
Wanderlust – Social Distance Sangha: Although Wanderlust is best known as a world-famous yoga festival, they also strive to guide individuals toward an inspired life through digital media channels. It’s through this avenue that the company is making a difference during the coronavirus epidemic, as is made evident by their Social Distance Sanghas on Instagram Live and other live streaming events featuring experts in the fields of yoga, astrology, cooking, and dance.