Oak Meditation

Oak lets you do one thing well: meditate!

Simplicity, aesthetics, and minimalism, while the technology is powerful in adding itself to various metrics, is the key! A Steve Job-ques 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 mediators, 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.

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.

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.

Now Oak has horrible and wrong guidance which is why it is great!

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.

[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 favorite.]

Introducing: Oak

Today I’m announcing a new meditation app called Oak.

In building Oak, I wanted an app for the self-experimenter, one that would blend technology and meditation in a thoughtful and useful way.

It will be a great addition to the many other meditation apps you might be using today. I’ve learned through my studies of Zen, Vipassana, and Transcendental Meditation that it’s best to try different methods and choose the one that works best at that moment in time.

Community-driven guided meditation app

Our foundation is built on basic guided mindfulness training and does not focus on prescriptive meditation (e.g., for anxiety, stress, sleep, etc.). Oak teaches proven traditional meditation techniques that have been practiced for centuries.

Our guided meditation was the result of a lot of input from our beta testers. We started with an initial recording in a beta build of the app and gathered in-app feedback from beta testers as they completed their sessions (or ended them early). Reviewing this feedback individually and in aggregate (looking for larger themes) led to adjustments in pace, tone, and verbiage. We made hundreds of refinements to the final guided sessions before launch.

Monks don’t use meditation apps

Advanced timer

Oak’s unguided mode is perfect for the experienced meditator. You can set starting, interval, and ending bells, as well as background sounds recorded in nature (no synthetic sounds).

Technology to track your progress

We’re geeks. One of the things I’m most excited about is our upcoming device integrations. At launch, we support Apple Health kit for tracking “mindful minutes.” Very soon we will begin work on device integration for heart rate (and variability) tracking. This will allow you to compare pre and post-meditation as well as breathing exercise results. We’re currently looking into the APIs provided by Oura, Fitbit, and the Apple Watch.

Also, make sure to check out your Oak user profile. It’s filled with detailed analytics including your minutes meditated, number of breaths you’ve taken (guided breathing), and community statistics like who’s meditating now.

New disciplines

We’re launching with mindfulness meditation training to start. Next up on our list is loving-kindness meditation and mantra (similar to Transcendental Meditation).

No time for meditation, take a deep breath

It can be discouraging when we can’t find time for a proper seated meditation. To help with those times, we’ve added very powerful yogic breathing exercises to Oak. These are guided breathing exercises that can be used for energy or relaxation. If I’m too busy to meditate, I always find time for a Deep Calm (4–7–8) breath.

Kevin Rose launches free rapid meditation app Oak

If it’s tough to find even five minutes of quiet in your busy day, Oak could be the meditation app for you. Launched today by Digg founder and True Ventures partner Kevin Rose, the free Oak app offers quick and simple breathing exercises as well as longer guided and DIY meditations. While apps like Headspace, Simple Habit and Calm focus on selling a wide array of themed meditations, Oak’s minimalist approach delivers tranquility. Isn’t that the point, after all?

“Some people just don’t have time some days to do the meditations,” Rose tells me. “But I always find the time, maybe in the back of an Uber, to crank out a breathing exercise.”

Rose could probably use some peace after a tumultuous few years. Rose sold Digg to Beta works back in 2012, then started and sold to GV (Google Ventures) an app studio called Milk. He launched another app maker called North, and, after shutting down its thumbnail photo-sharing app Tiny, built a wristwatch enthusiasts app called Watchville. That ended up merging with top watch blog Hoodwink, where Rose became the CEO in 2015.

Rose eventually left to build an app for fasting called Zero, which has now assisted with 1.8 million fasts, then moved back to California to join True Ventures as an investment partner. But he wanted to stay close to his roots in building products. Now all his passions are coming together in Oak: Digg for occupying attention, app studios that require clarity of vision, the calm precision of wristwatches and the health opportunities of dieting.

“It all comes down to the way I was feeling a few years ago when Digg kinda blew up. I had a lot of anxiety. I just felt as though I’d been running so hard in the startup environment for so long that my brain needed a reset,” Rose says. “I wasn’t finding the time to be here, I was always in my head, not really finding time for myself and finding that proper balance. That’s when I started to get into meditation.”

Oak creator Kevin Rose

Oak makes it easy to dive into the world of mindfulness. Its intro video explains the benefits of clearing your mind, and how to gently pull yourself back from distractions so you can concentrate on your breath. Then rather than having to pay upfront or choose between dozens of different meditation themes, you just pick a background soundscape and start listening. I found the female instructor’s voice to be one of the more soothing across the range of meditation apps out there.

The goal of Oak isn’t to get you addicted to premium guided meditations, but instead teach you to guide yourself and eventually use it as a timer rather than a drill sergeant. “There are great meditation apps out there that charge for their content and I just don’t want to go down that same path,” says Rose.

“I’m committed to spending the money myself. And if it turns into something massive that needs more support, we might monetize” in a more pay-what-you want style rather than with standard subscriptions or in-app purchases. One other option Rose fancies is working with the APIs of wearable like the Oura ring to bring automated breath tracking into the app, which Oak could potentially charge for.

Freed from pushing you to pay for content, Oak lets you jump into its short-form breathing exercises that include visual cues. You can breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 and exhale for 8 to reach deep calm; use a 4-4-4-4 method for heightened performance like Navy Seals; or try a lively 6-2 to wake yourself up. I found these exercises much more approachable than immediately trying to sit still for 10 minutes.

Rose hasn’t always stuck by the apps he’s built, and that’s why he launched Oak today with little fanfare beyond a Medium post. But he was willing to talk because he’s passionate about building a “geeky” app that pulls people stuck on their phones and computers into the world of meditation. As the notifications and messages overrun our lives, we need meditation to morph from a luxury into something anyone can experience.’

Oak – Meditation is a mobile app that teaches users how to meditate. Upon entering the program, users are shown a short video that explains the basics of meditation and its benefits. The main page shows the user’s progress, symbolized by the growth of an animated oak. Each practice helps the oak to grow. The app includes three main features: The first includes audio guided meditations for beginner mediators, each taking 10–30 minutes. The second focuses on the practice of breathing, delivered through three animated breathing exercises. The third feature includes short insightful audio and video tracks. Additional features include customizable background sounds, a personal tracker, and reminders to practice.

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