The Daily App: Simply Yoga -- A Little Too Simple
Yoga is an ancient practice, but the Simply Yoga app aims to bring the discipline into the digital age.
Hatha yoga, which goes back to ancient India, is a variety of physical stretches that promote both flexibility and inner equilibrium. Whether you're a full-on yogini who's mastered all four advanced sequences in Ashtanga yoga or just a beginner looking for a good stretch combined with relaxation techniques, chances are there's an app to fit your yogic needs. Simply Yoga caters more to the latter group of yoga practitioners, and provides an accessible, easily portable way to take your practice on the go.
What's the App?
Simply Yoga, created by independent app developer Daniel Miller, touts itself as "your own personal yoga instructor wherever you are." It's available in iOS in both free and paid versions. It's essentially a workout app, offering video instruction in a series of routines at different time lengths. The free version, for instance, features two 20-minute workouts, two 40-minute workouts and two 60-minute workouts, all with short videos breaking down each pose, or "asana," in the sequences. The paid version offers more workouts, as well as the ability to customize routines and a landscape mode with larger video playback.
Yoga is a vast mental, physical and spiritual discipline with many branches and approaches, and passionate debate between various communities and proponents of certain philosophies is par for the course. I'm no yoga expert, but I've practiced on and off for a several years in various disciplines -- the vigorous Ashtanga style, as well as the alignment-focused Iyengar, primarily. From my limited vantage point, Simply Yoga skews towards the "flow" style of yoga, or vinyasa yoga, in which poses link together and lead seamlessly into one another -- so those looking for extremely detailed instruction and longer holds on poses should go elsewhere for their yoga app fix.
A calm voiceover offers instruction as well as helpful tips on alignment, and occasionally gives insight into how poses work to benefit the mind and body, though there's very little on working with the breath or the focused gaze, which is a hallmark of many in-person yoga classes.
You'll Want It If...
Simply Yoga is a great basic app that likely works best for those who are already familiar with yoga at a beginning-to-intermediate level and don't want to shell out the $1-5 for a paid app with higher production values or deeper content. The variety of workout lengths cater to all kinds of yoga-on-the-go, whether it's a business trip abroad or just in your living room, and the poses are basic but therapeutic. Most routines are put together well, although some users may complain about too many repetitive sequences, though that likely reflects its slant towards vinyasa-style yoga.
Purists will also complain about the lack of yogic philosophy, although others will find the focus on the physical a refreshing change from the omnipresent "om" and metaphysical musings in some traditional yoga classes.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
The routines in Simply Yoga aren't extremely challenging, which normally suggests they'd be ideal for beginners. However, the app's limitations will likely make it difficult for yoga newbies to keep up, and they're better off seeking a traditional yoga class or even DVD for more detailed instruction and background. Simply Yoga's videos aren't professional-caliber, and only feature one that's wide-angle. Some users may struggle with the lack of alternate views and angles, particularly on poses with many points of detail to adjust.
Enthusiasts and more advanced yoginis will likely gravitate towards the All in Yoga HD app, available for $1 with different levels of paid content subscriptions, which features high-production videos that take full advantage of the Retina display on the iPad, as well as a higher level of customization.
Agree or disagree? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your experience and leave a comment below. ♦
Categories: Healthcare & Fitness | The Daily App