If you need me, check the mat. Since I’ve discovered the app, Down Dog, I’ve dedicated most of my spare time to my yoga practice. This free application takes you through a customizable yoga sequence that changes up every time you enter the application. Not only have I used it to create my home practice, but it has also been a beneficial aid in stretching after a brutal WOD or long run. I give this app a five star rating and highly recommend downloading it. It’s completely free, so why not?
As soon as you open the app, the Down Dog interface is extremely clean and user friendly. Your options are simple: sequence type, level, length, and more options (available to members only). Once everything is set, you simply hit “Start Practice” on the bottom of the screen and you are good to go. While the sequence runs, you are able to pause, skip to the next pose or go back to the last, and control the music.
When choosing what kind of sequence you would like to do, you have three options: full practice, restorative, or on your feet. The full practice is a typical full body flow. Restorative is a bit slower, holding the poses longer. On your feet takes you through mostly standing poses, but still goes into a few up dogs and child poses, so don’t go into it thinking you’ll never be on the mat.
My favorite feature is the level options. I tested several of them out and have determined the Intermediate 2 works best for me. The Advanced option was challenging, probably a bit too challenging, but definitely something to work towards. This level feature is where this app poses as competition for studio practice. In a studio setting, the instructor typically has to scale down the poses to fit the attendees skill levels. With Down Dog, you determine your personal level and how much of a challenge you are looking for.
If you are a beginner, do not shy from this app. The video shown may not be as complete as a Youtube video, but a shot of every single pose is shown, and the instructor gives ample cues to get you in the right positioning.
Down Dog offers quirky little features, as well. You may change the music from alt beats to acoustic, instrumental, or soft instrumental. You can chose to have the poses announced in English or Sanskrit. If you need a little extra yoga help, the menu provides links to Youtube videos with pose breakdowns and the Instagram and contact info for the creator, Adrienne Kimberely.
Want even more bonuses? Then become a member. Memberships cost $3.99/month or $29.99/year. With the pro version, you can change your music style, control the practice pace, or get “Boosts” for particular body parts. Four dollars won’t even get you 30 mins of yoga at a studio, so it’s worth the investment.
In Defense of the Studio
I absolutely love this app, and it’s great for advancing your yoga practice. However, I don’t believe it should completely replace your studio practice. A big part of yoga is building a community with those around you. Being able to share your practice with others brings it to that much higher of a spiritual level. Additionally, an on hand instructor can ensure you are performing each pose correctly. I recommend using this app for some yoga extra credit: whenever you have a bit of free time, or maybe in the gym after a hard WOD; but, keep up with your regular studio schedule, as well.