Jul 14, 2012

My Personal Top 6: Yoga Apps

My Yoga mat rolled out in Austria.
People who are aware of my Yoga practice frequently ask about my home practice. Whether and how I do it, what books, videos or other resources I use. Since I have my phone on me most of the time, I find Yoga apps very convenient: cheap, no extra weight, super adaptable to current needs. Whether on the go, on holiday or in between regular Yoga classes, I find the following apps the most useful (click the headlines for more information).

Be advised, though, that joining a Yoga school and seeing an actual teacher is always better than trying to fold into complicated poses by yourself at the risk of injury!

1. Ashtanga Yoga with Michael Gannon - USD $ 2.99 / € 2.39
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I practice Ashtanga Yoga (mostly, by far), where knowing the Sanskrit names for the poses - and their sequence - is a BIG deal. Michael Gannon's app provides a no frills, clearly structured overview there. It also offers audio files and wording for the Opening and Finishing mantras, which is very helpful for anyone interested in learning how to chant them. At USD $ 2.99 / € 2.39 I find this app reasonably priced. Two videos featuring Michael Gannon talking about Ashtanga Yoga and its benefits are available for free after purchase. The app is available in the iTunes App Store as well as through direct download from Michael Gannon's homepage.

2. Insight Timer - Meditation Timer - USD $ 1.99
Every good practice begins with a short meditation and ends with a decent Savasana (relaxation). I like to time these because I've still got things to do after my practice and wouldn't want to risk falling asleep - even though this has never happened to me yet. Insight Timer has got plenty of pleasant singing bowl and bell sounds and lots of options to customize and save ringing intervals. It also offers detailed statistics on your meditation habits and a community function where it shows you who else is meditating around the world. If you were so inclined, you could even get in touch with those people and use the app as a social network for meditators. Totally worth the USD $ 1.99.

3. Yogamour Video Podcast - Free (German)
Yogamour is a video podcast that I use like an app: I just save my favorite Yogamour episodes to my phone's iTunes library and throw in a routine whenever I feel like I need a change from the Ashtanga Primary Series. Instructor Bärbel Miessner is a decently trained Jivamukti Yoga teacher who - perhaps thanks to her long-standing  private Ashtanga practice - puts together the nicest brief Vinyasa flows on the planet. Divided into beginner, intermediate and pro sequences, everyone will find something to their taste here. Absolutely recommendable!

4. Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles - USD $ 1.59
This was the first Yoga app I bought, long before I got into Ashtanga Yoga. I like how Tara's app offers short routines sorted into categories like "flexibility", "strength", "body awareness" and so on. Each suggested routine is between five and twelve minutes long. You may also put together and save your own sequence. The app's pose archive is sorted by level of practice, which makes sense when combining own routines. However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this app to absolute beginners, as Deepak Chopra's explanations of the poses are rather short and imprecise. Additional features of this app I haven't tried yet are its "Community" and "Ask Tara" options. If you've got USD $ 1.59 to spare, check it out.

5. Nike Training Club - Free
This is not a Yoga app, but it offers stretching and strengthening workouts that will certainly advance your practice. Your arms, sinews and abdominal muscles will thank you for the extra work you put in with NTC for sure. The workouts are doably short which I like, because who wants to spend too much time exercising when all you want to do is finally hold crow pose. Perfect for days when you can't make it to a Yoga class but still desire some body movement. With easy on the eye statistics on progress, customizable workout music from your own library and free rewards like healthy recipes, you can't go wrong here. The app's only downside: with a weight of over 600 MB, don't be surprised when suddenly all your free storage space is used up.

6. iYoga+ - Free (German)
This German language app offers complete Yoga video "lessons" which are between 15 and 30 minutes long. With a comparatively small pose base, this app seems to be suited especially well for beginners. Since it's free, checking it out won't hurt. And who knows, you might end up liking it.
 
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