Podcasts Have Long Felt Like My Personal Meditation—But This New Pod Literally Is

For me, podcasts are like an always-there-for-me old friend. In the mornings I power up my astro forecast, and in the evenings I cycle through my queue of episodes ranging from comedy to self-care tips. Listening to them is comforting, reliable, and a great way to make even the most mundane tasks enjoyable (like a great BFF).

And like a good friend, I often turn to podcasts whenever I need a moment of Zen (raise your hand if a friend has ever talked you out of a stress-induced tizzy). Whenever I'm feeling like I need some me-time, I just pop in my headphones, hit play on an episode, and head out on a walk or start cleaning my apartment.

That routine is what meditation has looked like for me for the past few years. But actual meditation? No chance. Until I found Amazon Music's Become, which packages meditation into podcast form.

The pod is a self-described “daily audio vitamin” that makes mindfulness more actionable and accessible via 15-minute (or less) episodes. New episodes drop three times per week, and each one takes a guided approach to meditation with soundscapes, grounding techniques, prompts, and even light body movement.

Now, I'm no stranger to meditation apps, but I've always struggled with that form of mindfulness. Whenever I’m in a lengthy session, it gets harder for me to sit still—let alone, keep my eyes shut—and my thoughts inevitably wander. But the Become podcast made the experience so much simpler because it broke it down into bite-sized episodes.

“​​Mindfulness can be as simple as consciously taking a single breath, and recognizing that you’re doing it,” says Jamie Schefman, co-founder and chief content officer of SALT, which co-produces Become. “It’s okay that you get distracted, that your phone may ring, that life comes up. It’s how we deal with those things that matters.”

Schefman says Become’s mission is to make you feel as open and relaxed as if you just completed a two hour hike or a seventy-five minute yoga class—but without the time commitment.

“It’s designed to inject mindfulness into busy, modern lives,” Shefman says. “Listen in the car or while you’re walking to lunch, and see what happens when you create a little space to unwind.”

Introducing the meditation podcast into my regimen was a cinch. With four coaches that mix up modes of mindful practices against soothing soundscapes, it felt like I was really in the room with them (especially since every episode is ad-free, so there was nothing to jar me out of my meditative state). Plus, since it cuts out the closed eyes and sitting still equation completely, I was able to integrate it into my usual podcast-plus-chores (or walks) routine.

And it really worked in helping me learn to be more present. Case in point: On a day when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, I went to the park to try to decompress. The meditation podcast helped me focus on the outside world around me, and this particular exercise invited me to lay on the grass with open eyes and gaze up at the clouds (aka, a grounding method).

Touching the soft earth and watching the clouds move felt calming as the coach gently guided me through the next steps. At a peaceful pace, I infused additional techniques from previous listening seshes, like box breathing. Sure, my mind wandered a bit, but I quickly found my way back to center, and ended the short session feeling much lighter than when I began.

Mindfulness is about drawing your attention back to the moment, and with a handy sidekick like this pod, I’m reaping all the benefits—without even having to change my podcast-loving routine.

Ready to experience it for yourself? Listen exclusively on Amazon Music, or simply tell your Echo device, “Alexa, play the podcast Become.”

Top photo: Getty Images/Westend61 and Well+Good Creative

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