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The Best Yoga Apps: A Comprehensive Review

by Regis Chapman

As a serious Classical Yoga teacher and technology maven, I wanted to do a comprehensive review of Yoga iPhone apps to weed out the best from the rest and hopefully give yogis some insight into the differing types of iPhone apps available.

I started by typing in "Yoga" into the iTunes App Store, and  downloaded every free Yoga app available. After looking into those iPhone apps for a time, I proceeded to the paid apps, looking into each one I saw and made a quick judgement about how relevant it might be for this set of reviews. As a result, I ended up with around 60 iPhone apps! Here are the best of them, and some to watch out for.

NOTE: I included some Pilates apps here and I only included iPhone apps in this review that were in English. Even though some apps seemed worthwhile, I couldn't rightly include them. For example, Space Yoga has many iPhone apps in Japanese I was interested in.

I have ordered the iPhone apps so that my highest ranked apps are in order with the "winner" for each category at the top.

App-As-Yoga-Teacher

Hatha Yoga: your portable Yoga studio ($9.99) is the best in this category. The iPhone app itself is beautiful, allowing for pre-set or customized Yoga classes, or you can modify an existing class. The UI is simple and the yogi's voice is steady and precise. Prahlada Reddy, the man behind this iPhone app, is both a computer expert and has likely taught more Yoga teachers than any other living person. Reddy is the head Hatha Yoga instructor for the Sivananda organization and he's responsible for upholding their tradition and method since Swami Vishnu-devananda's death in 1993. I also happen to know him personally. 

Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra ($1.99): A close second in my review; this beautifully designed yoga iPhone app is demonstrated by Tara Stiles and guided by Chopra himself , and the price is  right. The iPhone app contains video explanations of individual poses, pranayama. and other yoga practices with customizable routines, and a more full explanation of authentic Yoga than I have seen in any other iPhone app. It has a community feature to ask questions and connect with other yogis.

Yoga RELAX/Yoga STRETCH: (both 99 cents): Two different styles of customizable Yoga class in two different iPhone apps with a silhouetted illustration demonstrating the poses. You can play your own music or theirs. 

Yoga Instructor ($3.99): Great and relaxing photos and audio with a calming woman's voice. Customizable poses for a personalized practice, but expensive for what you get.

Pilates Interactive Free: This iPhone app has 18 individual poses and three Pilates series shown on detailed videos. The audio on these have a pleasing tone and excellent descriptions- and this is the free version! The Pro version has 59 individual poses, 7 workouts and unlimited customized routines for $3.99.

Prēt-à-Yoga: (99 cents): This iPhone app is a highly configurable guided audio instruction with photos.

Yoga In Bed: ($1.99): Covered in my previous review here.

Energy In Season Yoga: ($2.99): This iPhone app is a season-based approach with photos leading the postures.

Yoga Trainer Pro: ($9.99): This iPhone app is among the most expensive apps on this list. It is comprehensive and highly configurable with video guides, separate voice guides, and some series for your practice. Many voices, however, are in a very annoying computer voice, thus this iPhone app's low rank in my list.

Yoga Relax Free: Relaxing music and video instructions for specific postures and pranayama. Very high end professional videos, good "modern Yoga" content.

Aviation Stretches: (free): Good and simple Yoga exercises for plane rides or the office, with slightly creepy female 3D demonstrator.

Long Deep Breathing: (99 cents) Pranayama iPhone app with configurable inhale and exhale timer.

Yoga Facts

Yoga Positions Pocket Book(99 cents): A compilation of Yoga information taken from Wikipedia. Excellent content and nicely organized.

Yoga Deck(99 cents): This iPhone app contains 70 Yoga Poses illustrated with glow effect, detailed instructions, and limited audio.

A Prenatal Yoga(99 cents) Excellent and comprehensive information on prenatal yoga with a 3D computer demonstrator.

Yoga Browser (Go Yoga) ($1.99): Text and photo guidance on Yoga poses from beginner to advanced, plus three levels of Yoga routines to follow, but without audio or timer for guidance.

Yoga At Home: Learn Beginner Yoga: (Free) Video series compiled from YouTube, plus a portal to other health-related iPhone apps by developer.

101 Yoga Poses: (free, ad-supported- 99 cents with no ads): Decently photographed illustrations for individual Yoga poses with steps, info and tips for each pose.

Yoga Beauty($2.99): VERY cute, illustrated Yoga poses aimed at women. Lots of helpful hints in cutely illustrated fashion.

Office Yoga(99 cents): A deck of cards with excellent quick suggestions for the office dweller yogi.

ChickChakra: (free): A beautiful woman, with chakras superimposed over her image. Information on each chakra is there, but a little New-Agey.

Yoga Weight Loss: (99 cents): A video compilation iPhone app focused on food and Yoga.

Surya Namaskar: (free): A simple series of illustrations for sun salutation, but not shown technically correct, and you can't turn off the droning Indian sound.

Meditation Aids

iSamadhi: ($1.99): My favorite meditation iPhone app includes a journal and a nice chime when time is over. Everything you want, nothing you don't.

myMeditation: ($2.99): A very configurable meditation timer with more features than any other aid in this list. Has many timers including a very configurable guided pranayama timer; but that has odd breathing sounds and can be changed into music instead.

Simply Being: (99 cents): A really excellent and highly configurable guided audio meditation iPhone app with a nice calming voice and good visualizations.

iGratitude: (free): A nice video with a beautiful and effective guided gratitude meditation.

iMantra & Lite: (both free): This iPhone app includes electronic mall beads and a comprehensive choice of mantras for Japa practice. The mantras are oddly voiced.

Relaxing Sounds

Ambiance: (99 cents):  Clearly the leader here in relaxing sounds, with a staggering amount of sounds available, especially where meditation is concerned. Has an enormous amount of downloadable content that is free to enhance your yoga or meditation practice.

iRelax Premium: ($1.99): Contains many pleasant sounds, I can't tell the difference between the paid and Lite versions.

Binaural Beats: (free): This iPhone app is more focused on binaural sound-induced meditation.