The Still Life app launches Dec. 10 to the public. Courtesy photo.

From a Venice based team of UCLA graduates comes a new meditation app seeking to cut through the crowded mindfulness market with the power of simplicity.

Its streamlined “just press play” model provides a unique daily stillness meditation that disappears after 24 hours. It is designed to eliminate choice paralysis and allow users to focus entirely on the practice.

The app launches on Dec. 10 and offers meditations for sleep, anxiety, stress, and productivity in addition to its signature stillness practice.

The team swears by the practice and says it’s what allowed them to remain calm and seamlessly pivot after COVID-19 forced the closure of the Still Life Center. The center was intended to teach stillness meditations to corporate teams and community members, but had to shutter doors mere weeks after opening.

“The closure was disappointing on the surface but we all went back to using these tools and techniques. Stillness is an unbelievable tool to poke your head up above the bushes and get the perspective of what’s really there,” said Spencer Atkins, co-founder of The Still Life. “It turned into the best gift we could’ve ever had because it allowed us to live by what we taught and design an incredible product and service around it.”

The stillness practice is based on the teachings of meditation guru Jim George. Atkins was introduced to George while he was playing football at UCLA and struggling with questions about his career and academics. Atkins says the practice allowed him to identify what mattered most to him and optimize his physical and emotional wellbeing.

“Stillness is a state of awareness with no perception of past or future. Because all “negative” emotions are rooted one way or another in the past or future, stillness is a state in which it is neurologically impossible to experience a negative emotion,” said Atkins.

Atkins continued to work with George as he pursued a career in real estate and in his free time would organize weekend stillness retreats for his friends and family. Eventually, Atkins took the leap alongside fellow UCLA grad and Co-Founder Henry Mitchell to make stillness the center of his career. He’s never looked back.

“We want to be doing this for decades,” said Atkins. “This isn’t something that we’re just going to scale up and flip in one to two years, this is something that we are all going to be doing probably for the rest of our lives.”

The app will offer a monthly or yearly subscription, with trial options for people who are hesitant to commit. Every Monday will include a longer stillness meditation to start working with values, patterns and habits. There are also several “change your state” options to help users control their emotions.

‘SOS mode’ is for extreme stress or anxiety and is designed to break fight or flight states to return to a more grounded state. ‘Go mode’ is for productivity and includes breath and movement work to energize and optimize the physical mind.

‘Sleep mode’ is designed to—you guessed it—put you to sleep and is apparently so effective that developers could only work on it 15 minutes at a time without dozing off themselves.

The team is thrilled about the upcoming release of the app that will allow anyone, anywhere, at any time to tap into a stillness practice. They also look forward to reopening the Still Life Center in-person whenever circumstances allow.

Clara@smdp.com