Many of us are leading very stressful lives, which can have negative consequences on our overall health. Even if you know how to relax and unwind in order to keep those stress levels under control, it can be hard to find the right time and the right place to utilize a relaxation technique. What I found particularly helpful are those short breathing sessions that are aimed at lowering your stress levels. You can find plenty of information online about this technique, but you can also utilize a digital help.
Even if you do have a habit of meditation, it can be hard to made it fit into your daily schedule if you’re traveling or if work gets too busy. This is why it can be difficult to stick to this useful and beneficial habit. If I only take a look at my example, meditation is usually the first thing that gets pushed out of my daily schedule. However, I always tend to return to it after reading some of the benefits. In case you didn’t know, meditation boosts your immune system, improves stress-related conditions, it can provide pain relief, and the list just goes on.
Away – Meditation & Relaxation
In this article, we will talk about Away ($2.99), created by Franz Bruckhoff of Taptanium. This studio already brought us some of the well-known meditation apps, called Windy and Thunderspace. Interestingly enough, Away is currently featured on the App Store’s front page, which tells a lot about what Apple thinks about this app. On the other hand, I am sure this was influenced by the popularity of other meditation apps that were created by Taptanium.
What is important to be said is that Away is kind of the sequel to Windy and Sunny, and you can find several ways how these apps connect. However, Away is a standalone app, which means that you don’t have to own any of the previously published meditation apps.
The UI Design
What’s unique about Away is that it brings beautifully designed forest scenes that seem to move freely thanks to the 3D parallax technology. When you move your device around, you will see that the scene will start to shift. The scene looks amazing, with lots of interesting details and vibrant colors. There is also a dynamic day and night cycle, so you can choose your favorite time of day. This affects animations and the available sounds as well. The scene looks stunning, especially if you have an iPhone 6s Plus, where you can enjoy in small details and textures.
In addition, the soundtrack is probably the most important thing when it comes to meditation apps. The 3-D sounds in Away are peaceful and calming, just as you would expect. Even though the app works great using just the device speakers, it is recommended to use headphones or earbuds for a truly immersive experience.
Functionality & Tools
Away comes with only one nature scene, but this doesn’t mean that this is a static app that only brings a couple of “white noise” sounds. There is actually a virtual microphone on the screen that can be dragged around the scene. This amplifies the sound effects of the current spot. For example, you can drag it towards the river to hear more river sounds.
The scene is quite dynamic, so the sound effects are kind of melted together and they seamlessly transition from one to another.
To start your meditation session, just tap on the Play button to start the white noise, and sit back and relax. Pause the sounds at any time by tapping on the same button. You can also tap on the timer, found in the top left corner, where you can set a sleep timer. This is useful for those who use a white noise machine to help them sleep better. The default option is set to an hour and thirty minutes, but you can change it however you like.
The app can be also tweaked a bit by tapping on the sliders button in the bottom right corner. You can adjust the overall volume, as well as choose the time of day that best suits your mood. You can go for night, sunrise, morning, afternoon, and night. This means that there is another layer of depth to this app, so you are actually getting a lot of content for the price. It certainly beats those old-fashioned “white noise” machines.
Even though it looks like Away is a simple meditation app with just one scene available, the customization options give the entire app a new layer, which is a nice surprise.
Even though I wasn’t really a fan of this type of apps, I have to admit that I find Away to be quite helpful and relaxing. I am currently using it at night when I go to bed to read a book. What I like are the subtle sound effects that are helping me Zen-out and slowly transition to sleep. I highly recommend downloading Away if you’re looking to replace your old white noise machine, or if you need something to kick-start your meditation sessions.
Away is priced at just $2.99, and comes as a universal download. The app is free of in-app purchase options.