Yoga and Pilates: Anywhere, Anytime with these 3 apps
Both yoga and pilates provide numerous benefits. In addition to toning you up, they can help you strengthen core muscles, increase flexibility, reduce stress and much more. Unfortunately, not every neighbourhood has a proper studio for potential yogis and pilates masters to practice in, and even when a studio does exist nearby, cost may become a deterrent for a number of people since classes can be a bit expensive at some studios. So what can potential yogis and pilates masters do? Well, in many cases, you’ve already got a pint-sized instructor right in your pocket! Yes, your smartphone can serve as both teacher and advisor to guide you through downward-facing dog and extended boat poses, all without leaving your house.
So if you prefer to practice in the comfort of your own home, don’t have a nearby studio or just can’t find the time or money to take classes, then roll out your mat and load up these apps on your mobile device.
Learn Pilates is a comprehensive plan to help nervous newbies become agile experts over the course of a month. The app offers daily workouts with detailed directions on poses, advice on technique and diagrams explaining which muscle groups are targeted. And Learn Pilates serves up progressively advanced poses to master as you move through the month, helping users slowly grow stronger, longer and leaner.
While the interface is a little clunky, the high-impact workouts and effective instruction more than make up for its slightly-dated design. And because of its rigorous focus on easing beginners into exercising, I would highly recommend this for novices eager to give pilates practice a try.
NOTE: Don’t be fooled by the name. This app isn’t free, as the title might have you believe — it’s simply the introductory app for the more robust pro version of the Learn Pilates franchise.
Download for iOS
This app is ideal for busy yogis tired of the same old set of sun salutations.
Yoga Studio provides practitioners with a variety of class options that are as flexible as the digital instructor. Ranging from 15 to 60 minutes, you can choose a pre-set routine based on a focus area (strength, flexibility, relaxation) and level of expertise. Then download dozens of classes right to your smartphone or tablet.
Though each routine can hog precious memory on your device (it’s about 40-120MB per course), the upside is that you can watch classes even when you’re not connected to WiFi or a mobile network. My only complaint is that you can’t change the accompanying music, which is a common feature in similar apps.
The clean design makes it intuitive to select from the wide gamut of courses. But the real draw is that eager young yogis can select a series of poses they’d like to master and piece together a completely customized routine right in the app.
Salute the Desk
Download on iOS
We’ve all seen the studies that show the negative impact that sitting has on our health. In an effort to curtail the associated risks, Salute the Desk offers a solution that gets sedentary cubicle dwellers up and moving periodically throughout the day.
This app offers users instruction to help them take mini yoga breaks right at their desks. With a variety of seated and standing poses (27 to be exact), these bite-sized routines are designed to release tension and neutralize stress. Salute also walks office-bound yogis through a guided relaxation practice and tracks their progress. But the best feature is the built-in reminder that pings busy workers when it’s time to take another break.
And don’t worry — the provided poses aren’t so awkward that your colleagues will stare and judge.
The bottom line
Mastering ancient forms of exercise – or switching things up with an intense pilates circuit – is now as simple as powering up your mobile device. Nubile novices and lithe experts no longer need to fret if they don’t have a studio in their neighbourhood or can’t front the $20+ for a drop-in class. Instead, fledgling yogis and pilates newbies can cough up a fraction of the price and bring the studio right to their living room (no incense burning required).
Have you tried any other yoga or pilates apps that you loved? Share your suggestions in the comments below.