As you may remember from my first learning project post, I chose to learn yoga because I wanted to start living a healthier lifestyle. Part of living a healthier lifestyle included becoming more active and eating healthier foods more often. While I have been practicing yoga often, I have been feeling lately like I need to include more physical activity in my life. I was telling this to a friend, and she recommended trying an app called Sworkit. Sworkit is a free fitness app that allows users to follow along with customized workout videos. I have been using it for about a week and am loving it! I have been using it for all different types of workouts, but the other day I decided to try the yoga portion of the app. Read on to learn what I believe are the benefits and drawbacks to this app.
- The app is customizable. Users can choose between four types of workouts: strength, cardio, yoga, and stretching.They can then either create their own workouts, or choose from premade workouts, and from there can customize how long they want to work out for. I love that I can create a workout that fits my lifestyle and ability level.
- The videos are fairly easy to follow. I have tried just printing out workout plans and taking them to the gym with me, but a lot of the time I worry that I am not following the exercises correctly. By following along with a video, I am able to see exactly what I should be doing. This has made my workouts much more effective, as previously I would often give up or spend a lot of time just trying to figure out what I was doing. There are transitions between each exercise, and during transition time the screen shows what exercise to do next. I really like this feature, as it keeps me feeling prepared and motivated.
- It’s free. I considered trying the Beach Body program or something similar, but honestly I’m just not willing to spend the money right now. Sworkit allows me to work out anywhere, at any time, in a way that works best for me.
While I am loving using Sworkit for MOST of my workouts, I did not love the yoga portion of the app. Here are the drawbacks I found.
- The yoga video felt very disjointed. What I love about yoga is the flow from one pose to the next. This seems to make the poses easier and allows me to relax. I used Sworkit’s “Yoga Full Sequence” as part of my learning project, and it just seemed like they thought of as many yoga poses as they could and put them together. It’s hard to follow a yoga video where the videos are recorded by pose, not sequence. So for example, one pose would have me laying down and the next I would be standing up, without any flow from laying to standing.
- There was no natural progression. I like when poses build on each other and progress from basic to more difficult. With this video, I never knew what would happen next. I found a lot of the poses to be very basic and below my ability level, but then they would randomly throw in a super challenging pose without any buildup to it… I’m embarrassed to admit that I hurt myself trying to follow some of the poses!
- It was not soothing. As my learning project progresses, it has become less about getting in shape and flexible, and more about using yoga as a relaxation tool. It’s tough to relax when there isn’t a calm, reassuring voice explaining each pose, which brings me to my next point…
- It was hard to follow. My favourite yoga videos that I have used throughout this project are partially my favourite because of the instructors. I have learned that I enjoy having someone explain the poses to me in a calm, quiet voice. This sets the tone for my yoga sessions. Sworkit does not have someone explaining each move.
The Verdict/General Musings
What I love about this project is that it is allowing me to try out a variety of resources that I otherwise would not have. It’s pushing me outside of my comfort zone. In the past when I worked out or practiced yoga, I would find one resource and just stick to it, whether I thought it was very effective or not. This project has made me see the multitude of resources that exist for practicing yoga, and I am loving finding new ones!
While I enjoy Sworkit for my cardio and strength workouts, I was not impressed with the yoga feature. I will continue to use it regularly, but hope to find better yoga resources. Besides the drawbacks I listed, I just wasn’t challenged enough. I love that I can feel myself getting stronger, and also love that I am continuing to enjoy yoga and all of the benefits it has to offer!
While using Sworkit, I also discovered that playing music greatly benefitted my yoga session. I am constantly practicing yoga in different rooms and places (I don’t stay in one house or city for too long before going somewhere else), but wanted to see how I could make the environment more calming. I didn’t want dim lights because I wanted to take video, but decided to try playing some slow music and was pleased with the results!
Does anyone have any tried and true yoga apps, videos, resources, etc. that they can recommend? I am always willing to try something new!