Why We Like Them
Oak is a free, straightforward, no-frills meditation app that will help you on your journey to enlightenment. Through guided meditations, breathing exercises, and sleep programs, Oak aims to help you decompress daily as you turn meditation interest into an inspirational practice.
Oak App Overview
With help from the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have turned to stress relief apps searching for some cosmic relief. The Oak app can help you decompress with guided meditations, breathing exercises, and sleep meditation offerings. For more advanced meditators, Oak also provides unguided meditations for those looking for a more intimate practice. Oak is probably the most straightforward meditation app we’ve reviewed. Like most of its competitors, Oak doesn’t have a fancy website, thousands of meditation options, or premium content that requires a monthly subscription. Oak is more interested in offering people the basics to start a meditation practice or to help you transform their exploratory interest into a daily habit.
When Kevin Rose, serial entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed health nerd, set out to develop Oak, he wanted to make two things very clear; that meditation should be approachable and that he always wanted his app to be free, not just affordable. There are no in-app purchases, subscription costs, hidden fees, or ads. Kevin is also the founder behind the apps Less (mindful drinking), Zero (fasting), and Digg (daily news source). Kevin has said in many interviews that “it’s tough to find even five minutes in your busy day to quiet your mind; this is where Oak comes in.” He adds, “that with Oak’s simplistic approach to meditating, you can really crank out a quick breathing exercise anywhere.”
Oak allows people to do what they set out to do when they downloaded the app...meditate. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles, Oak is probably not for you. However, if you’re interested in exploring the timeless activity that has been done for centuries without the frills, we recommend that you read on to find out what Oak is all about.
How Does the Oak App Work?
Oak makes it easy to get started on a journey to mindfulness. There’s no need to spend minutes or hours scrolling through themes, topics, or fluff content. All you have to do is download the app (you don’t even need to supply them with your email to start) and choose from one of their three offerings: Meditate, Breathe, or Sleep.
As the shining star within the Oak app, the meditate section offers you three types of practices: Mindful, Loving-kindness, and Unguided. Within each option, you’re able to personalize your experience by deciding the duration, voice preference (male/female - doesn’t apply to the unguided meditation), the background sound (stream, Tibetan om, fireplace, etc.), and if you’d like a warm-up to kick things off.
Oak understands that each person’s meditation practice is entirely personal. That some prefer to listen to soothing waves, while others prefer to sit in silence and let their heart be their guides.
This type of meditation is excellent for newbies. As an ideal place to start, mindful meditation will bring your attention to the things you’re experiencing in the present moment.
Loving-kindness meditation is best for those looking to deepen their connection, appreciation, and acceptance for themselves and others. Dating back to 400 BC, this type of practice will leave you feeling like your coziest winter sweater.
Unlike the two aforementioned practices, unguided meditation isn’t for the faint of heart or those new to meditating. This practice takes a bit more focus, and the novice meditator can be easily distracted if they’re left to their own devices.
Breathing is a huge component of meditating. Oak offers three powerful breathing exercises that may help you relax, concentrate, and clear your state of mind. Each breathing exercise lasts up to one and a half minutes, but if the mood strikes and you want to continue, you’re able to adjust it to the length you desire (up to six minutes).
The power of deep calm has also been referred to as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system” by meditation expert Dr. Andrew Weil. This exercise will ease your body into a state of calmness and relaxation. This exercise requires long breaths (inhale-4, hold-7, exhale-8), so be careful not to stand up too quickly after, as you might become lightheaded.
This type of breathing exercise is intended to heighten performance, boost concentration, and decrease your level of stress. It’s mostly used by professional athletes and NAVY Seals to help them get into a more sound headspace. Sometimes known as four-square breathing, the technique goes inhale, hold, exhale, hold (each for four seconds).
Touted as “the best replacement for coffee,” this breathing exercise will boost your alertness and is best when practiced first thing in the morning or during the afternoon slump. After completion, you should be left with a burst of energy.
Sleep is an essential part of your day. It not only allows you to reset from the day you’ve just experienced but will set you up for a successful day ahead. The Oak app knows all too well that sometimes all we need is to wind down and fall asleep with some soothing sounds or a guided breathing exercise.
Like you can choose the background sounds during your guided meditation practices, relaxing sounds also allow you to choose from 12 noises that will help you drift off to dreamland. You can also specify the duration from 30 minutes to 24 hours.
While you’re listening to the soothing sound of rain on a roof, cave water, or silence, you’ll be guided through a series of breathing exercises that will help you unwind from the day’s stresses.
Other Features on the Oak App
Oak is focused on providing its users with a super simple way to start, jump start, or improve their daily meditation practice with easy-to-follow exercises. Like some of its competitors, they don’t have a blog, videos, or an extensive library of information pertaining to the history of meditation. However, they do offer 10-day handcrafted courses for those wanting to take their practices to the next level. When this review was written, they were offering ten days of Mantra Meditation that would help you learn how to cultivate and improve your stillness.
They also offer a section that’s appropriately coined, “growth,” which tracks the practice of your meditation practice. It doesn’t let you set goals within the system like some other apps, but does let you see:
It also allows you to see how many people are using the app alongside you. Oak reviewers appreciate this feature because “being able to see that other participants were right there with you, even though you can’t physically see them, it always made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”
How to Sign-up on Oak
This is the most simple process--it literally takes less than a minute and only has two steps.
Step One - Download the app from the App Store (Oak is only available in the App Store). You will need access to an iPhone or iPad, as it is only compatible with laptops or desktops
Step Two - Meditate. Breath. Sleep. Repeat
How Much Does the Oak App Cost?
Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. No cookies. Absolutely nothing. And according to the founder, Kevin Rose, it will stay that way forever.
What Do We Think of Oak App?
The mindfulness and meditation space is inundated with apps. From Insight Timer to Calm, to Aura and Headspace, the Oak app separates itself from the pack by its super simple approach to meditation. That being said, if you’re looking for the whole shebang, Oak probably isn’t for you. BUT, if you’re strictly looking for a place to spend ten minutes a day, Oak is the answer you’ve been searching for. Oak is free to use, doesn’t require any personal information, and has just enough options to keep you coming back. Oak offers a meditation practice that’s plain and simple, just like it was back in the olden days when the OG’s of meditation were practicing.