Best Yoga Apps
Any health or fitness regime needs repetition and commitment to be effective. A universally beneficial regime that can be easily done at home is yoga. Whether you have a specific health need (aches, pains, mental wellness) or just want to feel better in general, yoga is a good option. If you are a yoga virgin, nothing compares to an in-person lesson with an experienced teacher, but your iPhone or iPad can approximate that experience. Just remember, before starting your practice don't eat a heavy meal right before (ideally, don't eat anything or just eat a light meal an hour or so beforehand), pay attention to your breathing, and every pose needs a counterpose.
Universal Breathing - Pranayama
Breathing is an essential part of a successful yoga practice and Pranayama is breath yoga. This app is straightforward and is only focused on breath. Sounds easy, but this form of meditation and physical control is a revelation once you get the hang of it. Choose from three difficulty levels, number of breaths per minute, and practice duration. If their routines aren't what you're looking for, you can create your own routine too. If you're not clear on what a Pranayama practice is or how to use the app, their information guide is comprehensive, making this app great for raw beginners and seasoned practitioners.
This app's videos are awesome and make it the best app for beginners. Unlike other apps, the "lessons" are full videos of the sequence and not a collection of video clips. As a result, you see how to transition from pose to pose from a real person (who as far as I've seen, does the poses perfectly). Unfortunately, this app only provides 8 lessons with no chance to get more and doesn't have any options to customize the difficulty (nor does it say what the lesson's difficulty is) or speed of your practice.
Pocket Yoga HD
If Pocket Yoga had more routines and options for pose references, it would be the best thing ever for non-beginners. Unlike other apps, every routine is well-conceived: poses flow into each other elegantly, every pose is countered, and resting poses are included where needed. The interface is gorgeous and the five pose sequences can be customized according to pose repetitions and difficulty. The drawbacks of this app lie in its limited content, the use of an illustrated model instead of a real person, and lack of individual descriptions of poses. However, the illustrations show the poses done perfectly (unlike real life models that often fail to pay attention to little details like spine elongation) and the app has a little practice tracker, and soundtrack customizer. The companion app, Pocket Yoga Practice Builder (linked below) is great for making your own sequences.
This app's interface and overall content isn't as well done as the other apps I've picked for this section, but its inclusion of different kinds of breathing exercises and the great video clips of the poses being done <i>perfectly</i> make it worth recognition. The voiceover gives useful tips on pose adjustments and video clips make it great for beginners who need to see exactly how poses are done. The major shortcomings of this app lie in its inability to download additional poses and lack of customizable features. Additionally, their "Healing Yoga" and "Theme Yoga" sequences often are just collections of poses and don't pay attention to flow or counterposes.
Sworkit Pro - Daily Circuit Training Workouts and Yoga, for Beginner to Insanity Levels
The interface and amount of content is lacking, but this app's good for a quick workout or randomized routine (and also has a free version linked below). Though not labeled as such, its other workouts incorporate pilates. This is best for non-beginners because it does not describe poses, so you need to know your way around them. The sequences have good flow and you can customize the duration and track your usage across weeks and months.
Simply Yoga FREE - Personal Trainer for Quick Yoga Workouts
Simply Yoga is probably the most popular yoga app in the App Store because it's free and lets you start your routine immediately. It's not bogged down with features, settings, and additional information. Instead, it provides a stripped down menu of session duration and workout routine (though, only one routine is available in the free version). The best part of the workouts provided in this app is that they work out the entire body. The worst part of this app is that the model does not do many of the poses correctly and sometimes does not do the same things the voiceover tells you to do, making it confusing and misleading for beginners.
The lessons in Yoga 101 (also available is Yoga 201 and 301) are developed from vinyasa flow yoga, the most popular style of yoga practiced in the U.S. This kind of yoga focuses on smooth transitions and the use of breath in your practice. Each of the lessons in the Yoga 101 to 301 series features full length videos of yoga sequences with a real model so you can see how to transition from pose to pose. The voiceover narration is useful and offers a lot of important notes on adjustment. Yoga 101 only provides one lesson free. Additional lessons can be downloaded for $1.99 each.
YOGAmazing - Yoga Video App
After paying the initial cost to download this app, you get at least fifty yoga lessons at any given time. The videos are streamed to your iDevice like a podcast. The app does have occasional ads or viewer polls, which can get annoying when all you want to do is get started. While the amount of lessons that is provided gives you bang for your buck, the lack of organization and information in the app makes it difficult to navigate. For each lesson, or episode, you do not see the duration or difficulty level, so most of the time, you have to choose blindly. Ultimately, the variety of lessons, ranging from the standard energizing routines to ones targeting specific health and mental concerns might make this app worth looking at if other yoga apps aren't cutting it.