I’m very much a yoga newbie, got seriously into it at uni but, like most people, I don’t have the time or cash to commit to a class. But who needs to these days? There are plenty of yoga apps and YouTubers who can give you an online one-to-one lesson for free. Many offer a huge variety of classes for every level and need, from yoga for sleep to yoga for a serious workout. You basically prop your phone at the end of your mat, choose your class and hit play.
Of course, an online teacher can’t adjust your asana to make sure you are doing it right, so it might be worth doing it in front of a mirror until you feel more confident. But once you’re ready, you can take your pocket yoga class anywhere – to the park, beach or away travelling.
All I had to fork out for was a yoga mat, so I went for the Yogamatters Eco Travel Yoga Mat (pictured right) because it’s super lightweight, recyclable, biodegradable and made from natural materials -- in my book worth £35.
Meanwhile, here are five apps that I enjoyed and rated, and one I intend to continue to use...
What it does: Gym, spa and wellness online. You can also use it to book local classes.
My experience: The video shows an animated figure doing the poses with commentary and relaxing music to ease you. I found it less ‘authentic’ than watching a real person and would like more guidance in the commentary, but it’s a great app if you’re looking for something quick and easy.
What I liked: You can keep track of your weight, if that is one of your goals. There is a calendar section where you can keep a streak going -- a great way to follow your yoga journey and motivate yourself.
What I didn’t like: There is a limited number of free workouts.
What it does: Down Dog is fully customisable: the videos aren’t just ‘set’ pre-recorded ones, but thousands of configurations so you can personalise the practise to yourself.
My experience: It’s designed so simply with drop down menus to tailor a very personal yoga experience. You can change the voice of the commentator, the length of the practise, what you want to boost (such as back strength or flexibility) and if you want a full practise or just sun salutations.
What I liked: I loved how simple it was to follow the poses in the video and the fact you can even pick your own tunes!
What I didn’t like: After a try out, you need to pay to carry on using it - however, it is only £7.99 a month, so that’s a great deal.
What it does: Adriene Mishler’s cool, down-to-earth, girl-next-door YouTube yoga videos are a global phenomenon. There are 30-day journeys, bootcamps and one-off sessions for everything, all hosted by the charming Adriene.
My experience: If you type in yoga for beginners, there’s so many videos to choose – almost too many. I went for a 30-day trial and eased in gently. The pace, focus on breathing and being-kind-to-yourself philosophy is perfect for a beginner.
What I liked: Adriene’s friendly, personal style made me look forward to the lessons – even in the morning.
What I didn’t like: Not easy to navigate, and no progress charts.
What it does: Offers various class plans from beginners to advanced. It’s set out beautifully with daily challenges to upkeep your yoga practise and to improve your health in baby steps.
My experience: The navigation was visually pleasing. The videos are so simple but effective and explain each pose very slowly -- perfect if you need guidance. Daily sessions flow from one and other, so you just carry on from where you left off.
What I liked: You can control how loud you want the commentators voice or music to be.
What I didn’t like: To unlock everything on the app you pay £18.49 a month. Not the most budget-friendly, but I think worth it for the content and style.
What it does: Videos for different levels and styles of yoga. You can follow a series by the same instructor.
My experience: The videos are very easy to follow, with lots of different instructors to choose from. From calming your nervous system to restorative recharges, you can pick 20- or 45-minute practices – whatever suits your needs.
What I liked: You can download the videos if you’re out and about and don’t have access to WiFi.
What I didn’t like: You only get a 7 free day trial, then pay £16.49 a month to carry on using the app. Still, that works out cheaper than just two *live* yoga classes…
Overall Verdict: App-wise, it’s a tie between Daily Yoga and Down Dog – but I think I’ll be going with Down Dog as I like being able to customise my own practice.
My intention for this month: Making time to relax and dig my head into my book.
New favourite podcast: Your Own Magic podcast by Raquelle Mantra. She has a very soothing voice and discusses topics such as spirituality, yoga, manifestations and positivity.