Oak is the best meditation app out there!

[Disclaimer: I have no association with Oak meditation app; Oak app makers do not care about me, I downloaded and used Oak for a few days, that’s all]

Simplicity, aesthetics, and minimalism, while the technology is powerful in adding itself to various metrics, is the key! A Steve Job-esque design aesthetic. You must use it.

I like Oak’s design and I like how the app does not stand in the way of meditation. I dislike dedicated apps for meditation, as I believe for meditation all you need is a watch (if at all, meh! why do you need a watch for something that is timeless and an activity where you are supposed to be in the flow and lose a sense of time, anyway?) to set a timer when you meditate. Think about it. The monks used to live in caves in the ancient times. Where would they find an app? Tibetan Buddhists, the great meditators, live in the caves and rock crevices in the Himalayas. You think they need an iphone app for meditation? Huh!

If the meditation gurus do not use apps to focus and meditate, why should we, the riffraffs of the earth, use a fancy app to meditate. I mean, when the idea is to just sit there and do nothin’. You need an app that just lets you do that: sit there and do nothin’, and not engage your monkey mind.

Didn’t get it?

Now download Oak and use it. You will see the point.

If you think about meditation and mindfulness, you will see the philosophy is about simplicity.

Zen.

The white space defines the words written or the picture painted.

The simpler the better. This is why the bells and whistles we get to see in many meditation apps are annoying. Don’t get me wrong, Oak is bursting with features beneath the hood but you will not get to see them on the surface. It is simple and straightforward.

Seriously.

Oak stands out in the crowd with its two offerings: you get to either set it to guide you on your meditation or do an unguided meditation.

For the guided meditation, you get a male voice. I’d never again use their guided meditation! I was annoyed by the guy’s accented voice and diction, and he peddled wrong guidance as in he’ll ask you to shake your legs and roll your neck one minute before you wake up from meditation, then the guy abruptly speaks just when you are about to settle in (God knows how they pefected _that_ timing), he’ll ask you to breathe in with your nose and breathe out through your mouth in the beginning and then again one more time he’ll tell you not to do this, I mean how wrong & confusing can one get!. Don’t use that option. If you do, you will soon ditch it anyway.

This is why Oak is great as it speeds up your transition to unguided meditation, and this is where Oak shines.

No frills, you get the bells but not whistles.

Choose unguided meditation. Set the timer, set the sound, and off you go.

Close your eyes, and watch your breath. Meditate.

I am peeved that it does not display the remaining time when the phone display goes off, but hey, you are supposed to meditate with closed eyes, not open one of them to cock a look at how much time remained. One more plus point for Oak.

The app has 30 seconds preliminary prep time, unlike “Insight Timer” the other app that allows for three deep breaths (a good feature that Oak may borrow). I hate Headspace and Calm. Insight Timer so far was my favourite but I find Insight Timer’s social networking features useless and distracting. I don’t need to know Tom in Minnesota has meditated for 1300 hours right after I come out of my meditation session and start feeling rested and ready to start the day!

As I wrote, Oak is simple, straightforward app that just lets you to do what you should do when you meditate: meditate.

Good job, Oak guys! Just don’t mess up, please (please heed the warning).

[Warning: I write this in November of 2017. But by the time you are reading this, they may have ruined the app by adding other useless features like Mantra (transcendental meditation) etc., if what Kevin Rose keeps writing in their product hunt page. At least till they don’t mess up, Oak will stay as my favourite.]

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in: https://refind.com/arinbasu

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