For most people, it’s become second nature to multitask. Responding to emails during a Zoom call, watching Netflix while scrolling Instagram, talking on the phone while washing dishes…focusing on one task and one task only is the exception not the rule.
That’s part of why meditation can be so powerful. It just might be the only part of your day where multiple things aren’t begging for your attention. All you have to do is sit there and breathe—and reap the many, many health benefits. Easy right?
Not always. When your first language isn’t English and you’re listening to an English-guided meditation, the mental energy it takes to translate can take away from the restful state that makes mediation so beneficial. And that’s on top of an added frustration, for many, of not being able to understand everything being said. That’s where bilingual guided meditations can be helpful. “It’s important that people who think in different languages understand that they have the same needs, the same emotions, the same problems, and the same solutions,” says meditation superstar Deepak Chopra, who recently partnered with J Balvin to create a free 21-day English-Spanish meditation series.
Chopra says that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what language you speak, everyone has the same needs: a desire to feel safe, loved, valued, and to feel connected to a higher purpose. These are all themes that guided meditations touch on, and their messages will be completely missed if you can’t understand the language. This is exactly why bilingual guided meditations are so important.
Rounded up here are guided meditations in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and French, the five most common languages spoken in the U.S. besides English. However, more work definitely needs to be done in this area, because there are very few free bilingual meditation services, period. Thus some of the meditations linked to below are in the non-English language only. Whether you’ve never meditated before or have been doing it for years, they can all be used to help deepen your practice.
English-Spanish guided meditations:
Body scan meditations help you tune inward and pinpoint exact parts of the body that are holding stress and tension. At the end of this six minute meditation, except to feel more relaxed and that bodily tension lifted.
Yoga instructor Erica Garcia leads a 20-minute meditation focusing on deep breathing and bringing calm to mind and body.
Meditation teacher Tara Branch has a whole library of free English-Spanish meditations on her site, including this uplifting 11 minute one, about living life truly to the fullest and being open to new opportunities.
English-Chinese guided meditations
Pranayama is the practice of breath control, which is used in both yoga and meditation. In this video, the benefits of pranayama are explained in both English and Chinese, and then a meditation is led in both languages.
Vipassana is a meditation style that focuses on self-exploration and a deep connection between the mind and body. Think of it as an even more intense body scan meditation. This 14 minute video leads a vipassana meditation in Chinese, and if you enjoy it, there are six more available on meditation leader Kyaw Han’s YouTube page.
Intimidated by the first two? Go for this one, which is a straight-forward breathing meditation, led in Chinese.
English-Tagalog guided meditations
Photographer Inah Solacito created this positive affirmations guided meditation in May for World Meditation Day. You know those days when you’re just in a funk and need some help snapping out of it? This six minute video will change your whole mood around.
Kids can benefit from meditation just as much as adults. This one is short and sweet—and it has a cute little butterfly that uses its wings to illustrate breathing in and out. It just might become a new pre-nap ritual for your little one.
Anger, jealousy, resentment…If there are feelings you’re holding on to that just aren’t serving you, this meditation can help you let them go, making way for more positive thoughts and energy.
English-Vietnamese guided meditations
Led by a meditation teacher for the Pyramid Spiritual Societies Movement, this meditation is 50 minutes long—yep, it’s a lengthy one. In addition to instructions in both English and Vietnamese, music is also plays in the background to help energize your spirit and mind as you move through the meditation.
Looking for something shorter? This one is only four minutes, making it perfect for those days when you’re super busy, but still want to get your meditation practice in. Those are probably the days when it’s most beneficial!
Led by spiritual meditation teacher and humanitarian Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, this 27 minute meditation will help you develop a deeper awareness of your energy and plant the seed for better self-awareness.
English-French guided meditations
Aimed at kids ages 7 through 12, this short meditation is super soothing. Rain falls gently in the background as the meditation teacher guides meditators through a series of deep, slow breaths.
Filmed in South Africa, this meditation will help you feel more connected to nature and to humanity as a whole, no matter where in the world you live. It centers around the idea that we are one. Do this meditation in moments when you crave connection.
Bookmark this one if you want to work some gentle stretches and movement into your meditation practice. Besides English and French, the meditation is also said in Swiss, German, and Italian.