By Adam Drake
My left foot is entombed in a boot-shaped cast of foam and plastic. Hairline fractures in my fourth and fifth metatarsals have sidelined almost all physical activities, meaning my rowing oars are hung up and dry in my boathouse, and my bike is collecting dust in my garage — and the last time I ran, it resulted in my broken foot. Being in this condition, especially in the middle of summer, is especially maddening.
On top of all of that, my wife and I are actively house hunting, which means that almost all of my free time is spent remarking at chimney flashing, studying flood plans, figuring out what the term “binder” means, and cursing the inflated housing market in the tri-state area.
In other words: I don’t have the time to workout, and even if I did, I’m almost physically incapable of it.
My wife has been suggesting I take yoga classes with her — though she’s been taking Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga this summer, which means I’m one wrong move from my booted foot dragging me to the bottom of the Atlantic. And truthfully, it would be hard for me to get to a studio, take a class, and be home in time to talk to my real estate agent about how important it is to remove lead-based paint in a house. Instead, I’m taking yoga classes digitally via my iPhone. While none of these classes will replace live class instruction, they’ve definitely been a fantastic alternative.
Below, I’ve outlined my favorites. And if you have any that I’ve missed, let us know in the comments section!
With some Yoga apps, you’ll get low-resolution videos that have been compressed to save space on your device. The problem with these is how difficult it can be to determine a correct position on such a small screen. Yoga Studio gives its users HD video, and clearly demonstrates each position along with instruction. This all-in-one app allows you to manually schedule your classes so you stay on track, as well as customize lessons so you’re able to get exactly what you want out of your yoga practice.
What’s nice about Pocket Yoga is how it works with Apple’s HealthKit to monitor heart rate. (It’s also available on the Apple Watch, though we didn’t test it on that platform.) The poses are presented in animation-form, and the app lets you choose duration of practice as well as difficulty. As an added bonus, each pose has a write up that explains the benefits associated with it.
There appears to be a lack of creativity in naming Yoga Apps, especially with this slightly duplicative and clumsy title. But what it lacks in naming conventions it makes up for in practical application of poses. This takes more of a back-to-front approach in its teaching. Whereas other apps will take you through a class, Yoga.com Studio will teach you poses that serve a basic function. (Weight loss, flexibility, etc…) There’s also a great social component to this app that let’s users interact with each other.
Who has the time? All of Daily Yoga’s classes are under 30 minutes, meaning you can get that workout in right before you leave for work, just before dinner, or on your lunch break. While the app is free, you do have to buy a subscription to access content. So for those users who feel other apps get a bit repetitive, Daily Yoga provides updates to their classes and poses throughout the year.
I was initially hesitant about this app. As a self-proclaimed user experience and design snob, this app left a lot to be desired. But after I forced myself to get past the teal color scheme and clunky interface, I found a simple and effective app for practicing yoga at my desk. While it may not provide the depth of other apps, Salute the Desk has streamlined routines to help cubicle dwellers with poses that can be performed from the comfort of their office chairs.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.