Have you ever wanted to try yoga and feel somehow intimidated by the atmosphere inside a yoga studio? The good news is, there’s a mobile app that brings the studio yoga experience wherever you are. Down Dog is an IOS and Android yoga app that brings a studio-like Vinyasa yoga experience at the comfort of your own place. If you have a space for your yoga mat and a comfortable environment then fire up the app and begin your yoga journey.
On a study done by DoYouYoga Global Survey in 2016 with 10,000 correspondents in over 147 countries, 46% of yoga practitioners do practice at home. Personally, practicing at home is convenient as I don’t have to drag myself out of traffic to visit a local studio. I’m also in control of my time and practice. But the challenge has always been in starting and deciding on the sequence. This is especially if you’re into Vinyasa yoga, which is a dynamic yoga practice where the sequence is never the same. Interestingly, the Down Dog app brings this dynamism, as each session generates a different set of asanas (yoga poses) for the current practice.
Down Dog App Design and UI
The Down Dog is a beautiful app. I makes good use of excellent photography as backdrop for its simple and easy to figure functionality. The home screen gives immediate options on the Sequence Type, Level, Length and More Options.
- The Sequence Type breaks down into a Full Blown Practice, Restorative or a Quick Flow
- The Level is for the difficulty of the practice. It has Beginner 1 and 2, Intermediate 1 and 2 and Advance (except for the Quick Flow)
- The Length varies on the sequence type which you can indicate. The Full blown from 15–80 minutes, Restorative from 10–35 minutes and a Quick Flow of 10–45 minutes.
- More Options opens up additional customizations like the background playlist music (from Alt Beats, Acoustic, Instrumental, or none), practice pace (slowest, slow, normal, fast and fastest), and Boost on what aspects you want to concentrate on like Flexibility, Core, Back strength, Hip Openings and more. These added customizations are exclusive for members only where you need to shell out US$4 or Php 199/month.
Once I have decided on the parameters of my practice, I click on the “Start Practice”. The app generates a set of sequences. Internet connection is a must as it downloads content online. Down Dog uses a set of photos to show the posture which makes sequence generation fast. The model is yogi Adrienne Kimberly. I like how clear and concise her voice instructions are. Soothing even. Her descriptions like “Melt your shoulders down on the side” “Spill down your chest to you your legs” or “Let your tail reach up as your crown lifts high” are simply poetic while easily understandable.
During the practice sequence there is an option to control the volume of the music and voice. Show the English or Sanskrit names of the poses, and change playlist.
I have tried both the beginner and intermediate levels. For a beginner, I thought the sequences were easy to follow especially for those new to yoga. The intermediate does include challenging asanas. I even encountered sequences where I had to do some crow (bakasana) pose and even pendant (lolasana) pose which are for seasoned practitioners already. I have yet to try the advance sequences. I do find the Normal Pace a bit fast for my liking. Generally, I was very satisfied with the practice. Much like how I feel upon finishing a good yoga practice in a class setting.
Save Practice Offline
The recent update of the Down Dog App to version 2.1 (As of April 17, 2017) gives users an option to save a recent practice sequence offline. This is a very useful addition. Like if I enjoyed a recent sequence, I can go back again and do the same practice even without an online connection
At first I was skeptical if Down Dog could really bring a studio-like experience but it did. I think it helped that the two app developers, Ben Simon and Carlos Ormachea are yoga practitioners and did the best way they know on how to deliver the experience through a mobile device. While real studio experience won’t be replaced as there’s an actual teacher that can help you on checking your form and make adjustments, the Down Dog app is an effective supplement for self-practice. For beginners, it gives them an idea what to expect what goes inside a Vinyasa Class. For those already practicing yoga, I like the dynamism the app offers in terms of combinations of sequences it would generate per practice. The playlist accompaniment is quite cool and current too.
And for Php 199 (US$4) per month, the additional customizations would greatly help further the yoga practice. The Boost feature can work on areas one would like to focus on. The Pace option can slow down or hasten the practice. Down Dog does make yoga anywhere great!
For more info on the Down Dog app visit their page at www.downdogapp.com