Now that more of us are working from home, we have more time to focus on our health and wellbeing. But what are the benefits of yoga?
Sitting at a desk all day can be disastrous for our bodies, resulting in high blood pressure, bad posture, and a strain on our back muscles. Yoga can help counteract some of these problems, by increasing muscle strength, reducing stress and boosting circulation.
- We've rounded up the best yoga mats of 2020
But perhaps you don’t want to step into an actual studio yet? In which case, yoga apps are the perfect way to bring the classes to you, and help with motivation.
We've downloaded some of the best yoga apps on the market, rolled out our yoga mats and done our best yogi impressions to give you an insight into how they fare. A few downward dogs in your lunch hour can really make a difference to your health and wellbeing, so read on and discover the easiest ways to get you started.
We loved how easy this yoga app was to navigate, plus the fact that it's based on needs rather than classes. You can choose categories such as ‘Start your morning’, where you’ll be encouraged to take classes that warm up your body, while other categories fulfil different needs, such as reducing stress and learning the basics.
Duration, level and intensity are also easy to filter, plus you can also switch it up to include mediation, Pilates and more cardio-based classes. We especially loved the core flow classes and restorative sessions, which are designed to help you sleep better.
The app also offers around two live classes a day, which is a perfect for keeping on track. There are also on-demand classes, including both individual teacher-led classes and group classes.
FiiT is a great pocket workout, whether you’re travelling or just need to do a quick workout. All the workouts are shot in the FiiT studios, so, unlike with Instagram Live or YouTube workouts, you won’t get any distractions.
The selection of classes seems to grow every week, including their yoga selection. So whether you’re a beginner or want a more advanced class, you're sure to find something to suit. We particularly loved Cat Meffan’s short yoga workouts, which really got our heart rates pumping.
You can also sign up for live classes and buy a tracker that will display your heart rate and calories burn as you work out. One slight hindrance is that you can't use the app to stream workouts to your TV, unless you fuss about with cables. Our connection dropped out a couple of times throughout our class, which disrupted our flow before we’d finished our workout. However, if you're a Sky customer they've just launched the workouts via their Sky VIP programme.
If you love doing workouts at home, but find having to look at a screen distracting, then this is the app for you.
WithU is an audio app that narrates a workout to you, which means you don’t have to move your screen as you go. Yoga sometimes means moving your body into weird and awkward positions, so it's useful to have direction throughout.
One of the best parts of the app is how encouraging the instructors are, using motivational language while also giving detailed explanations. Considering the app is relatively new, it has a large selection of yoga workouts, so you probably won’t have to repeat a class unless you want to. We particularly liked the short yoga workouts, meaning we could stretch efficiently after harder classes.
When you’re doing yet another yoga class at home, you want to be transported to somewhere exotic. With backdrops of mountains and sparkling blue pools, Asana Rebel’s yoga class locations deliver exactly that.
The app is not just designed for exercise, but also has sections for sleep, nutrition and mediation. There are also a variety of other workouts, including cardio, strength and even breathwork.
From warrior flows to hatha workouts, this app also offers a good variety of yoga classes. We loved how they were narrated by someone other than the instructor, allowing us to benefit from detailed explanations, as well as detailed visualisations.
Asana Rebel is one of the most affordable yoga apps in this guide, and there's a special discount on annual membership if you sign up now. Alternatively, if you want to try before you buy, they have some short free workouts too.
Down Dog is a yoga app that responds to your personal preferences. When you initially set it up, you're asked to select the time you have to work out, your level of expertise, what sort of yoga you want to focus on, the type of music, and even the kind of voice you’d like to guide you.
The next time you go back into the app, you can change these settings easily, if you fancy a different workout. You can choose between many different practices including chair yoga, Yin and even restorative yoga; add in boosts to concentrate on different areas; and even increase or decrease your shavasana time.
The no-frills classes are narrated with good detail, and the camera even focuses in on more complicated moves. The app also reiterates the different positions on the screen to make it clear. Some of the classes really challenged us, and we had one of our most energetic classes when we added in a core workout boost.
The only slight downside is that the instructor, or location, never changes. But if you love visiting one studio, with the same instructor, this app is for you.