Maloka offers fantastic meditation with breathtaking graphics in the App Lab for Quest
Maloka, a new meditation app for Quest available in the App Lab, offers soothing, personalized environments and guided meditation sessions with stunning graphics.
There are a number of experiences for VR headsets that aim to offer some form of formal or informal meditation. Some of them offer guided audio sessions while others simply put you in a zen environment where you can relax and let your thoughts go where they want. Maloka, a new App Lab experience on Quest, is trying to strike a balance between the two and offer something unique to the VR medium.
As someone who practices mindfulness and occasionally tries guided meditation, the thought of either working with a VR headset attached to me has never been overly engaging or relaxing. While I find the Quest 2 to be a comfortable headset in short sessions, I’ve never found a compelling reason to meditate in VR when I could just do it normally instead. What does a VR meditation experience offer me that a regular guided meditation experience doesn’t?
Maloka tries to answer this question by connecting the two and offering something different from what I would meditate in real life.
The app is available as both a VR app in App Lab and a mobile app (currently only available for iOS as far as I can tell), and you can have guided meditations on either platform. You can also launch your experience in VR or on the phone – whichever you choose, everything is carried over to the other with a shortcut code.
Maloka isn’t just a guided meditation app though – in VR, you open the app into your own personalized island adorned with items that you earn as rewards for completing meditation sessions. The island is also inhabited by your ghost, a small anthropomorphic creature that you choose when you sign up.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t be an advocate of gamifying meditation – if you need playful motivation and rewards for it, isn’t that some kind of defeat to the point? But in this case I think it works. The rewards feel appropriate, not arbitrary, and it’s nice to be able to create your own personalized Zen environment from which to begin meditation. Over time, you expand the decorations in your room with additional items that you have earned through regular meditation. It’s a nice system that plays on the themes of mindfulness and zen energy that encourages meditation so it feels appropriate.
When using VR, the guided meditation sessions also offer something different than your standard audio guide. Instead of asking you to close your eyes, keep your eyes open and focus on an ever-changing vortex of circular psychedelic patterns that come in and out and slowly move towards you, as pictured above. As the session progresses, the guide encourages you to align your breathing with the contractions and expansions of the patterns. It’s calming and a fantastic, adorable alternative to closing your eyes.
The real boon here is that using the psychedelic patterns and aligning your breathing with their movements offers a little more than your normal meditation experience outside of VR. Without it, there would be no real reason to use Maloka over other audio meditation services. It’s also fantastic to be able to effortlessly switch to the mobile app when you are away from your headset. If I don’t have time for a headset session, I can use the mobile app and still receive rewards to decorate my island with when I return to VR.
It’s a great free experience at the App Lab – if you’re a veteran meditator looking for something different, or want an immersive experience to get you started, check out Maloka.
Maloka is now available in the beta version of App Lab for Oculus Quest.