Yoga STRETCH: an app for the More Advanced Yogi

Yoga STRETCH created by Neil Harris and designed by Lindsey Heuser is a full 60-minute instructional yoga class with 35 different poses available on your iPhone or iPod touch.

As a general app Yoga STRETCH has a good number of options. There are options for sound: you have some different musical tracks to choose from (mostly natural sounds like Ocean Waves and Camp Fire with one more ambiguous track called: Transcendental Whirlwind, which happens to be the default), and you can also turn the commentary on or off.

From Yoga STRETCH’s main menu you can choose to look at the poses one at at time for a more detailed description of what it entails before going into the full routine. Once in the routine you can also pause, go back to the previous pose, or skip forward to the next pose which is quite helpful if something is unclear, you need more time, or you find a particular pose too difficult and want to move on.

Now, Yoga STRETCH has a lot to offer nevertheless yoga, like any physical activity, can be quite dangerous if improperly done. I would recommend only those with previous yoga experience use Yoga STRETCH for a few reasons.

First of all, the instructions are minimal at best and only briefly touch upon how to safely get into and out of different poses. There are also few alternative poses offered for those who may not be able to do the poses described. Also, there is no warm up and before you know it you are thrown into some pretty difficult yoga poses which is dangerous if you don’t know know what you are doing.

Within Yoga STRETCH there is also a major sequencing problem that can be an issue for advanced yogis, the transitions between poses can be awkward and feel unnatural. This is compounded by the fact that the instructor offers no help as to how to get safely from one pose to the next. One example that demonstrates all of these problems is found in the first two poses. The first pose is a seated pose, and the second is a fairly complicated balanced standing pose: there is no warm up and getting from one to the other requires a lot of extra movement that is not acknowledged in the instructions.

There are also some more general glitches that need to be worked out: the quality of the sound recording is less than professional and there are a few poses that are only done on one side. That being said, I think Yoga STRETCH has a lot of potential if the kinks can be adequately fixed. The developers of Yoga STRETCH have a long way to go before the app is appropriate for all levels, but if you are someone well versed in the yogic arts and are comfortable doing the poses on your own but don’t necessarily want to feel alone while doing them, then Yoga STRETCH is for you. After all, the price is pretty cheap as apps go, especially since it is an app that gets you up and moving.

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