Monday, July 25, 2016

Yoga Studio: Best Yoga App to Practice at Home or on the Go

Yoga Studio iPhone App Review

I've been using for a few months the Yoga Studio app by Gaiam on my iPhone and I can honestly say that I love it. The design is clean, the interface is intuitive and the classes are intelligently sequenced with a teacher's voice that guides you easily into that yoga state. If you are looking for a yoga app to practice yoga at home, or on the go, then I can definitely recommend this app to you.

I wanted to find a yoga app that I could use to practice at home, to vary a bit my practice and perhaps to learn a few more tricks to add to my teaching skills. I searched online and I found Yoga Studio (available on Apple Store, Google Play, Amazon and Windows 10) but I couldn't find any reviews to help me make a decision.

Now that I have tried it myself I decided to write my own independent and objective review (I'm not receiving any sort of compensation for this review). So please Let me know if you find this review helpful.

Using yoga studio app on iPhone 5S

At first I thought that it would be a terrible experience to use the small screen of my iPhone 5S to practice yoga with an app, but as soon as I started using Yoga Studio I was surprised of how well the app works.

I'm very satisfied with it. I've had a better experience compared to many online videos, or even compared to live classes that I've attended.

Excellent sound quality

The sound quality of Yoga Studio is excellent. I've had no troubles at all listening to the instructions, even from my ridiculously noisy apartment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where I'm currently based. The whole city is in construction!

Excellent video quality

The video quality is great. Whenever it finds it possible it optimises the screen size by zooming in automatically.

I haven't had any issues watching the videos on my iPhone 5S although a few times I had to get close to the screen to be sure about the feet position (I keep the phone about a meter from me). You shouldn't have any problems at all on an iPad or on any other tablet.



Easy to focus and relax at the same time

I have tried different online video yoga classes but the classes in this app are the first ones that really allow me to relax, focus and get that beautiful yoga feeling. One reason I think is because the voice of the teacher is very soothing and calming, with no strong accent.

The other reason is because the instructions are not so detailed, just enough to guide you into the poses. This can be an advantage or disadvantage. With less instructions it its easier to concentrate and relax but at the same time a bit more difficult, specially for beginners, to practice safely or with correct alignment.

To me this is not a problem because a yoga app, or any online yoga video, should be used only as a complement to a real class with an experienced teacher. It doesn't matter how good the yoga app or the video is, it will never be able to give you the feedback that you need.

Intelligent sequences. Challenging but non-fitness oriented

The sequences are very intelligent and well rounded, and uses a good combination of vinyasas (flowing sequences) with static poses. The classes can be challenging but the emphasis is not on a workout regimen. It focuses on actually practicing yoga. You can tell this by the tone of the voice, the sequences and the background default sound. One of the main reasons why I love this app.

Enough classes to practice yoga at home

There are in total 8 classes of 60 minutes, and several other classes of different durations. In my opinion that's more than enough.

I have tried other online video classes and I noticed that having an almost infinite number of classes can be overwhelming. You just don't know which class to choose, specially when they use all these fancy names for the classes like "Total body elixir." I'm like "What??? I just want to practice yoga!"

Having less choices can be more productive. I have followed some of this 60 minute classes in Yoga Studio several times and I never get bored. It is also good to know that they are consistent.

How it works

Once you start the app you are directed to a screen where you can choose between the collections (group of ready-made classes), creating your own classes or searching for a class according to different filters.

There are in total 71 classes divided in different levels, focus and duration. 47 classes of less than 20 min, 16 classes of 30 min and 8 classes of 60 min. Once you choose your class then you have to download it to your device before watching it.

So you do need a good internet connection, at least to download the classes. That can be an issue for those who are travelling. A 60 minutes class takes approx. 45 MB. The app itself takes 116 MB.

Yoga Studio App by Gaiam

Yoga poses library

The app includes a library of 285 yoga poses. Each pose has a photo, a description of how to get into the pose, the benefits, modifications for beginners and warnings.

Yoga Studio App by Gaiam

Yoga Studio App by Gaiam

Custom made classes

This feature is super awesome, good for yoga teachers and advanced practitioners that are familiar with how to sequence a yoga class. You can create your own sequence using any of the 285 poses included in the library.

There are also some ready-made blocks (short sequences of poses that are typically practiced together). You can easily add this blocks to your custom class.

Another really awesome feature is that once you have your sequence made you can tap on "link poses" and the app will automatically add transition poses to your sequence if it considers it necessarily.

It works great. I made my own custom sequence and I was surprised at how well it works. The only problem is that with the custom made classes you cannot listen to the guidance of the teacher but only to the name of the yoga poses or the glass ting, which makes the class sound a bit more mechanical.

Another small issue is that you can't see in advance how the class will look like. You first have to download the class to your device, after you finish creating the sequence, to be able to test it.

One more cool feature is that you can copy any of the ready-made classes to your custom classes and make any changes that you might like. You can change poses or prolong the duration of any pose.

Yoga Studio App by Gaiam


Settings

There are a few options for background sounds to choose from, like Ocean Waves, Deep Forest and Birdsong. Personally I prefer the default sound of the Ambient Flute.

You can also create a playlist with your own music library, or choose no music at all to use any other app to play music while using Yoga Studio.

It is also possible to choose to listen either to the guidance of the teacher, the name of the poses or simply a "glass ting" sound to know when to transition from one pose to another.

Yoga Studio App by Gaiam

App updates

As of the moment of publishing this post the last app update was on Apr 25, 2016 having in total only two updates in 2016. That's not that many updates but to be honest I think it's probably enough for this app, the app works great. And considering that it is made by Gaiam, a well know brand for yoga goods, I think it's safe to consider that the app will always be supported.

You can read more about this app in yogastudioapp.com. It is available on the App Store, Google Play, Amazon and Windows 10. (non-affiliate links)

Overall I think that Yoga Studio by Gaiam is an excellent yoga app. I have no complains, and coming from me that means a lot. It honours the authenticity of yoga. I feel very happy to have invested those 3.99 EUR. I would definitely recommend Yoga Studio to anybody who wants to practice yoga at home or on the go.

Have you use Yoga Studio before? Please let us know what you think in the comments below?

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