Meditate for Free with the Oak App

Originally published at: Meditate for Free with the Oak App - TidBITS

Oak is a free alternative to subscription-based guided meditation apps. It offers a simple menu of meditations that should be more than enough for most people.

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For years my favorite free meditation app is Insight Timer. Besides guided meditations, one can choose from over 130,000 different types of tracks such as music, discourses, sounds, and of course timers with selectable sounds. Below are some of Insight Timer’s features listed on its App Store description:

  • Apps of the Year Winner - TIME magazine
    and Womens Health
  • More time is spent meditating on Insight
    Timer than all other meditation apps *
  • Happiest App in the World - Tristan Harris *

The number 1 free meditation app. Guided
meditations and talks led by the world’s top
meditation and mindfulness experts,
neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers
from Stanford, Harvard, the University of
Oxford and more. Music tracks from world-
renowned artists. Join millions learning to
meditate on Insight Timer to help calm the
mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, sleep
deeply and improve happiness.

With 80+ new free guided meditations added
daily, more meditation is practiced on Insight
Timer than anywhere else. Great for both
beginners and experienced practitioners.

FREE FEATURES:

  • Thousands of guided meditations
  • Select by time for short meditations when
    on the go, helping you to build a simple daily
    habit
  • Thousands of music tracks and ambient
    sounds to calm the mind, focus, sleep better
    and relax
  • The world’s most popular meditation Timer

I started meditating a couple of years ago and found Oak an excellent place to start. However, I wanted more guidance and variety. Someone recommended a free app called Medito, which I have used nearly daily. Medito includes a beginner course to introduce mindfulness concepts. I particularly liked the 30-day challenge, which led me to daily meditation. The app is produced by a non-profit foundation and is free, although donations are accepted. Included are packs of guided meditations on topics such as compassion, gratitude, and open awareness. All in all, Medito has a lot to offer for both beginners and more practiced meditators.

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Thanks for this suggestion. I had a free Calm subscription from my HMO, but I did not care for the app. Like you, I found Oak to be a bit too basic. Medito looks to be the Goldilocks solution (just right!) for me.

I subscribe to 10% Happier. Lots of content, teachers from many different backgrounds. Typical format is a short lesson followed by a guided meditation. Lessons can be about the science behind meditation, how to apply it to your daily life, common reasons people get stuck or discouraged, interviews, etc. There are themed courses and standalone lessons, and of course guided meditations with no lesson.

Some of the teachers have been doing it a long time, and it shows.

It’s not free unfortunately. However, if you are on a budget you could check our their free email newsletter, and podcast. They also offer a discount for mental health professionals.

Medito sounds very interesting; I might take a look at that.

I used Insight Timer for years. I liked being able to fairly-closely replicate the beginning and ending bowl gong sequence used at the Zen center where I practiced for several years. That’s all I wanted from a meditation app.

I deleted it as it got bloated and personality-oriented, the interface became cluttered (focusing too much on virtual community), and it became subscription-ware. To me, all of this detracts from meditation and mindfulness and verges on what Chogyam Trungpa called spiritual materialism.

Now, I just use the iOS timer. Good enough.

I realize guided meditations and talks can be helpful, especially for beginners and for those who don’t have a teacher in town. But if you do have a good local teacher, nothing really beats in-person talks and meditating in a room with others.

Breathing Zone is not quite a meditation app, but it does allow you to manage your breathing rate, ie, slowing it down to slow yourself down which has similar effects.