Whether you’re a nervous beginner who wants to find their feet before trying their hand in public, or a devoted yogi who wants to cram a little more omm into their daily routine, yoga apps are a great way to supplement real-life classes.
Some are free and easy, some have bells-and-whistles you never even knew you needed – and some will play bursts of tinkly music from your handbag when you least expect it. Here are some of our favourites.
Best for a quick fix: Daily yoga
Easy, straightforward and informative, Daily Yoga is a great no-frills place to start, particularly as a companion to real-life classes. As well as a library of poses and good, detailed instructions for each, there are 13 free beginner yoga sessions and a 12-day beginner tour, plus more intriguing options like ‘Daily Yoga for Butt’ and ‘Yoga for Healthy Menstruation’ if you’re prepared to pay for them.
One downside is the tinkly music, which plays automatically when you open the app and has to be turned off anew each time – lovely for yoga practice at home, less so for swotting up on the bus. There are ads, but as they’re mainly all for yoga courses they probably won’t destroy your zen too much.
Free, available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
Best for (iOS) beginners: Yogify
Once you’ve got past hearing ‘it’s in the game’ in your head every time you see the logo, this yoga app from gaming giants EA Sports makes a stylish addition to your workouts. There are five different free 30-minute classes across three ability levels, and additional programmes and classes can be bought individually or as bundles (£7.99 for the whole lot).
The app is beautifully designed and nicely narrated, and with full half hour lessons it’s a great way to get to know all the key Hatha postures in the comfort of your living room. But it only uses photos rather than video, so you’ll need to use your imagination when transitioning from one posture to the next. Or end up doing a yogic equivalent of the robot.
Free, available on iPhone and iPad.
Best for perfectionists: iYoga
As well as eight free video lessons, iYoga offers video instructions for 60 different poses, to help you master every position perfectly. It’s not as slick or attractive as some of the other apps, and there are no options to adjust the difficulty level, but it’s suitably calming and easy to follow – and free. We particularly like the belly, legs and buttocks lessons for more specific toning.
It’s only available on iOS, but the videos are all on YouTube too. And they’re available in German, if you want to really stretch yourself.
Free, available on iPhone and iPad.
Best for choice: Yoga.com Studio
It claims to be ‘the world’s most popular Yoga app’, and for good reason. Yoga.com’s app features 300 different poses and 45 lessons for all abilities, with the option to create your own custom sequences as you get more confident.
There’s also supportive yoga community, a yoga diary to keep track of your workouts, and 3D muscle images to teach you the science behind every manoeuvre. It’s £2.99, but that’s an awful lot cheaper than a lifetime of classes.
£2.99, available on Android and iOS.
Best for mornings: Yoga in Bed
It’s not new or fancy, but Yoga in Bed is ideal if the thought of getting up is hard enough, let alone dragging yourself to a yoga class.
Led by the dulcet tones of teacher Johanna, the 20-minute evening and morning sessions focus on breathing and stretching, aiming to release tension and clear your mind ready to face the day, or fall asleep. Just don’t get the two muddled up.
£1.49, available on iPhone and iPad.
Best all-rounder: Pocket Yoga
With illustrations rather than photos or video, Pocket Yoga won’t please everybody – but if you’re a nervous beginner then cartoons might feel less intimidating than a perfectly-honed yogi. And what it lacks in realism, this app makes up for in variety and expertise.
There’s a library of 200 poses, and classes are available in three different styles, three difficulties and three lengths. The app will also tell you how many calories you’ve burned in a session, and it’ll play music from your iTunes library rather than the default tinkly spa tunes. Yoga to Meatloaf? Why not.
£2.29, available on Android and iOS.
Best for impatient people: Simply Yoga
It might be a little less polished than some of the others, but Simply Yoga is like a friendly personal instructor for your pocket. Great for people who want to leap straight to full classes without a lot of prep, it includes 20, 40 and 60 minute workouts using more than 30 different poses.
The half-screen video on the free version is annoying, but detailed audio instructions mean you won’t be straining to see your phone screen in the middle of a downward dog. A good basic tool for beginners, or a top-up in between regular classes.
Free, available on Android and iOS.
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Main image: Zach Dischner’s Flickr