So, guided meditation is cheating, right? Wrong! Often when people start to try meditation, they think they should sit in silence, focusing on their breath, and worrying whether they are meditating correctly. This really isn't the case.
When starting out, and even when you've been meditating for a long time, a guiding voice can be really useful to keep you on track, help you deal with particular issues, or just act as some focus for your meditation session. These are called "guided meditations", since you have someone either talking to you in class, or as an audio track, so you can listen and move through your meditation with their support.
I often get asked by my students, "Can you recommend some guided meditations that don't have a really grating, annoying voice or audio track?!" - clearly not the desired effect when you're trying to focus or relax, depending on the sort of session you intend to have. So, here are some of my recommendations:
UCLA Mindfulness Centre Guided Meditations can be found at:
These are all different lengths, focusing on the breath, doing a "body scan" where you check in with each part of you, and so on. I've found all of these really great, and use them often myself.
"Zen of the day" - a free smartphone app (might be android only though) - this has some free guided meditations, a timer, and lovely inspirational quotes!
"Take a break" - another free smartphone app (look for the icon of a lady's head in black and purple!), this has 2 short guided meditations aimed at helping you deal with anxiety and stress. Very soothing.
Calm.com - not one that I use, but this website has had positive feedback from many of my students, and many of the meditations on here are free ones.
Anandi, the sleep guru. I attended one of her lectures at the Mindful Living Show last year - if you visit her website, you can subscribe to emails that give you some really relaxing guided meditations.
The Honest Guys - if you'd just like some soothing music to meditate with, you could do a lot worse than these guys, who post music on You Tube - so just go on the internet, put "The Honest Guys" into You Tube Music, and see what you think!
As ever, all of this is really subjective, and what one person thinks is great, someone else may not enjoy. However, since this is an often asked question, I really hope you'll find something for you in the above list.