By Danielle Wensley
Coming on my third year in Vancouver, I can safely say the slow and conscious West Coast vibe has enchanted me into a shifting life of self-discovery and healing. From talk therapy to Shaman journeying, I’ve developed an insatiable curiosity for the alternative healing modalities the city has to offer. With a seemingly infinite rhythm of self-help trend tsunamis striking social media almost daily, it can be a challenge to know where to begin when the goal is to calm the mind. Healing Hands are here for you, testing the spiritual waters to offer concise reviews and advice, guiding you towards the sturdy and steering you away from the fluff.
As summer rolls in, beach hangs and coolers may take precedence while health and wellness run the risk of climbing into life’s back seat. The amount of Vitamin D the season’s sun has to offer is undeniably essential, but what better way to receive it than within the luxurious stillness of meditation? Long and light days are ideal for starting a meditation practice if you haven’t yet, so dive in now while your grey day blues are on vacation. Don’t let the fanfare of summertime pull you away from a balanced mind. If Third Beach is calling you on the daily, one of these three apps might be just what you’re looking for to assist you in meditation while basking in the wild west coast heat.
Oak motivates you to commit to daily meditation by connecting you with an animated tree sprout that grows incrementally every time you practice with the app. The simplicity of this design is accentuated by its calming colour palette of greens and blues. Ease of navigation resides in three basic menu options — Meditate, Breath or take in a Wisdom offering.
After choosing to meditate, Oak allows you to personalize your experience by following either a mindful or unguided practice. There are various soundscapes to choose from to create a soothing ambience that suits your meditative mood, including various alert sounds to lull you in and out of mediation. The mindful practice is available in either a feminine or masculine voice. Oak archives the story of your practice, keeping track of the time you have spent meditating and the amount of mindful breathing you have done.
This app is gentle, beautiful and concise lending to a direct and well-rounded meditation practice.
While Oak facilitates an easeful and direct meditation experience, Insight Timer demands a more focused approach. With its social media focus and abundant library of guided meditations, playlists and topical talks I found myself lost in the web for close to an hour before I was actually able to sit and transition into a meditative space. I would not recommend this app for someone who is just beginning a meditation practice; too many distractions and too much to process make it counterproductive. That being said, if you’re looking for an educational resource around the thematic scheme of yoga and meditation or if you are a yoga teacher looking for some daily quotes and playlists, Insight Timer is for you.
Something about Headspace irked me from the moment I was first acquainted with it. The orange color scheme and quirky avatar are reminiscent of investment banking commercials, leaning into the realm of productivity. Headspace offers a guided practice led by a masculine voice. This app almost gives off the vibe that you can meditate while driving to work or sitting at a desk. It is fun and accessible and would certainly please anyone who faces their day with a checklist of to-dos.
For more on any of these apps visit the App Store on your local smartphone.