Meditation and physical exercise are key to keeping a sound mind and a healthy body. So when I purchased my iPad and my iPod touch, I filled them with apps that could help me ease into a meditative Savasana (a relaxation posture) and maybe replace a lesson or two each week. Now, instead of plopping down after work and zoning out with my Netflix instant stream, I’m bettering my body and mind with the help of a few apps.
Add your own soundtrack to Pocket Yoga HD to liven up this Downward-Facing Dog.
With Pocket Yoga HD ($3.99), I can get my arms and legs all stretched out with a half hour of Vinyasa Flow (an aerobic form of yoga), and it’s a great substitute if I miss a night or two of yoga class. All I have to do is set the iPad in front of my yoga mat and listen as the app belts out pose instructions. If the verbal instructions aren’t quite good enough, I can watch a virtual yoga teacher show me the pose. The app also lets me choose between 45 minutes or an hour of yoga and three different practices, which I pick depending on how I’m feeling. I turned off the app’s music and added my own soundtrack: “Eye of the Tiger” for the hard parts and “Purple Rain” for the cool-down.
When I’m looking for an intense full-body stretch, I fire up Yoga Stretch ($0.99) to guide me through a session. It lets me create my own sequence from a variety of poses and provides a timer that counts down the time until I should switch poses. By the end, I feel like a rubber band, which means it’s the perfect time to fire up Yoga Relax ($0.99), which shows poses that can help me get into a meditation groove. Both apps are variations of each other but offer different poses depending on my needs.
Yoga Stretch details the amount of time you should spend in each pose.
After my workout, it’s time for All-in Yoga HD ($2.99). With it, I can keep track of my practice and my progress and make use of helpful features like Quick Recipes, which include ready-made routines categorized by difficulty. It also has a helpful “yoga teacher” mode that can be personalized by age, weight, and overall yoga goal. I also dig the Fast Mode, which is great for evenings when I don’t have much time to practice.
Each pose in All-in Yoga HD is just as detailed as a yoga teacher would direct it, and there's a video if you need visual instruction.
In yoga class, we usually end practice with a Tibetan singing bowl, which is supposed to flush out the mind and massage the tired body with its reverberating sound. So I found Zen Timer for iPad ($2.99), a virtual replacement for the real thing. It supplies seven types of bowls to choose from, and you can set bell-strike intervals and a timer for how long you plan on meditating. It’s not as effective as the real thing, but for an iOS-based alternative, it ain’t bad.
Eventually, I would love to do Bakasana (a more advanced, challenging yoga pose), but I know I won’t get there with only sporadic yoga practices. Though none of these apps will replace my yoga classes and one-on-one instruction, consistent practice only helps me get closer and closer to my Bakasana goals. So on those days when a trek to the studio is just out of the question, I simply bust out an iOS device and a yoga mat.
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