8 Must-Have Yoga Apps

Featured Article, Fitness, News and Advice
on September 9, 2013
yoga apps

The beauty of yoga is that you can practice it virtually anywhere—at home, in a hotel room or cubicle, even on an airplane. In honor of National Yoga Month, we’ve rounded up a list of must-have yoga apps for seasoned yogis, office workers, mommies-to-be and downward-dog virgins alike.

For the easily bored: Pocket Yoga, $2.99, iTunes

Consistently top-rated among yoga apps on iTunes, Pocket Yoga is ideal for yogis of all levels, from avid practitioners to yoga first-timers. Whether calorie burn, flexibility or toning is your ultimate goal, Pocket Yoga delivers an all-in-one yoga workout complete with detailed visual illustrations and narration cues. With three different practices, three difficulty levels and three different durations to choose from, you can mix-and-match for a total of 27 different sessions—so no workout boredom. Plus, the app syncs with your music library, so you can flow to your own tunes rather than the default music. Don’t like staring at a small screen? The app gives you the option of connecting wirelessly through Apple TV.

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For the traveler: Airplane Yoga, $3.99, iTunes

Good news, frequent flyers: You can now get your “om” on at 32,000 feet. Increase blood flow and shake off travel stress with the Airplane Yoga app, perfect for frazzled, over-tired travelers in need of some R&R. The app, which promises to create a “zen-like” air travel experience, consists of 24 simple but effective seated and standing exercises that can easily be performed on an airplane—think wrist rotations, forward bends, seated twists and more. Bonus: In addition to a number of breathing exercise plans, the app includes a handy checklist for reducing in-flight stress, making it a great anxiety-reducing fix for people who get fearful during periods of heavy turbulence.

For stressed-out types: Health Through Breath—Pranayama, $5.99, iTunes

Need to take a breather? Relieve pent-up stress and tension with the Health Through Breath—Pranayama app, which employs guided meditation techniques to help you reconnect with your breath and improve overall wellbeing. Pranayama means “life breath” in Sanskrit, and harnessing the power of yogic breath is thought to have a number of health benefits, including easing symptoms of migraines, high blood pressure, COPD, depression and more. Using music and animated visuals, the app guides you to slower deep breathing and leaves you feeling recharged and energized. Easily distracted? The yoga app’s helpful timer instructs you when to inhale and exhale, keeping your focus on the breath.

For 9-5ers: Office Yoga by Kardeo, $0.99, iTunes

Ideal for office-bound workaholics, the Office Yoga app offers 75 stress-busting yoga postures that are depicted in whimsical, easy-to-follow illustrations. Sitting in a desk chair all day can really wreak havoc on your body (read: extreme lower back pain). Office Yoga allows you to relieve tension, boost alertness and ward off stiffness with numerous simple stretches, twists and neck rolls suitable for any cubicle environment, from the copy room to the elevator.  Because the poses are organized by time of day—from wakeful stretches to commute stretches—you can return home at night feeling refreshed, recharged and relaxed.

For Bikram enthusiasts: Hot Yoga Doctor, $9.99, iTunes

Are you a Bikram yoga enthusiast but can’t afford to heft over the cost of pricy in-studio Bikram classes? Well, you’re in luck: Turns out you don’t need an expensive studio to reap the mind-body benefits of a Bikram yoga practice. The Hot Yoga Doctor App allows you to practice the 26 asanas anytime, anywhere. Taught by renowned yoga instructor Gabrielle Raiz—aka the “Hot Yoga Doctor”—the app approximates the feel of a standard Bikram class without forcing you to cram into a sweaty, crowded room. Better yet, the app comes in 90 minute, 60 minute and 35 minute class options, so you can pick a workout that suits your scheduling needs.

For yoga newbies: Yoga 101, $1.99, iTunes

Have you always been yoga-curious, but are daunted by jam-packed studios? With the Yoga 101 app, you can learn basic yoga poses and sequences from the privacy and comfort of your living room. Geared towards newbies, the app consists of three vinyasa-style yoga classes that are slow-paced and easy-to-follow, allowing you to build confidence and familiarity with the poses. But don’t be fooled—you’ll still get an effective 45-minute workout, thanks to expert cuing and audio instruction from yoga instructor Kathleen Holm. As a further way to help you master yoga basics, the app also includes a helpful tutorial section that breaks down key class elements.

For moms-to-be: Yoga for Pregnancy, $1.99, iTunes

Pregnancy inevitably comes with its fair share of aches and pain, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit and suffer. With the Yoga for Pregnancy app, mommies-to-be can discover the therapeutic mind-body benefits of prenatal yoga at the touch of a button. Yoga instructor and mother Ayala Gill guides you through a series of safe, gentle yoga sequences designed to nourish you and your baby through every stage of pregnancy. The app includes easy-to-follow high-resolution photos of postures, in addition to helpful information on trimesters and which postures may be most suitable depending on the stage of your pregnancy. Overall, this app is a great way for expecting mothers to establish a deeper spiritual connection with the miracle of pregnancy.

For runners: Daily Yoga for Hip and Butts, Free, Android

If you log a lot of miles on the road, your hips (and butt) most likely bear the brunt of all that pavement-pounding. Daily Yoga for Hips and Butts gives avid runners a way to ease hip pain, open up tight hip joints and firm gluteus muscles. Narrated with helpful posture animation and voice cues, the app includes 17 carefully-chosen asanas that promote flexibility of the hips and alleviate muscle tightness and sciatica. A number of strengthening moves—think planks, locust and tabletops—help sculpt sleek, lean muscle that power you through long runs. The app contains a helpful timer to let you know when each pose is over, eliminating the need to constantly glance down at your phone or iPad. Best of all, the dynamic sequence is only 10 minutes long, making it a perfect post-run cool-down.