With these Windows 10 Gem apps
Technology, whether in our hands or at our PC, is not always about distractions, entertainment, or gaming. Using computers also to improve our health is always an exciting venue that lends itself to more scrutiny.
Today, we're taking a look at Yoga Studio, which is one of the biggest names in yoga education. Yoga Studio is a top app on iOS, but it is now also available as a universal app for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. New to the world of yoga? So am! Let's see what Yoga Studio is and why you want to take a look!
What it is
Yoga is one of the oldest "physical, mental, and spiritual" disciplines going back a couple of thousand years to India. Today, the practice has exploded in Western culture as people look for various ways to cope with daily stress and fatigue.
Yoga Studio is an app for Windows 10 PCs and Windows 10 Mobile phones that let you jump into this world at a beginner level all the way up through advanced.
The app lets users pick the class, level, and style (e.g. for runners, or for those with back issues) and teaches you through HD video tutorials how to do the poses though a full-featured class.
Users can schedule classes through their synced calendars to keep on track and progress through the various levels. More advanced users can even create custom classes by mixing and matching preferred poses, styles, and levels.
Why it's awesome
Since Yoga has become all the rage in Western countries, it is not very hard to find a local studio to join. However, like all classes you will be required to fork over monthly membership dues, attend classes as prescribed times on their schedule and, of course, travel to the location. Ironically, spending money, making class time and the travel to and from the studio may add to your stress while the class itself attempts to undo the frustrations of your day.
Yoga Studio lets you work at your pace, wherever and whenever. Normally Yoga Studio runs $3.99, but until March 20th you'll be able to download the app for free — no ads, no nickel-and-diming, just all the classes you'll need to get your yoga on.
Through the app, you can download the HD videos to your phone or PC, add a class to your schedule for a reminder and explore the world of yoga at your own pace in the comfort of your home.
Personally speaking, I have wanted to take yoga for a few years now. I regularly lift weights and do cardio but as I have aged my flexibility (which was always poor) is starting to catch up to me.
Yoga Studio lets me learn and explore this new world right in my apartment without any awkward moments.
Case in point, a few years ago I pulled my back doing simple house chores. Once you do a strain like that you are always susceptible to restraining that injury and in fact, I have done so numerous times. And while I use a standing desk I cannot say my posture is all that I want it to be as I often slump my shoulders. Doing simple stretches in the morning and after working out has helped, but these were always at my discretion, unguided and frankly, uninformed.
Taking yoga is supposed to alleviate not only stress but improve flexibility, help runners, people with back issues and, in general, improve your overall fitness. What many have perceived as a 'girl thing' is now much more widely accepted as common practice for those concerned about health and well-being.
Still, I cannot say that going out and taking a full-fledged yoga class was on the top of my to-do list. Going by myself to a class or fitting it in with my crazy, near non-stop work schedule is also not practical.
Yoga Studio lets me learn and explore this new world right in my apartment without any awkward public moments. Hey, we're not all strong people who feel comfortable doing these things! At the very least, I am using Yoga Studio as a stepping ladder. Once I'm comfortable doing this and have the basics down, maybe I'll go and find a true teacher. It's all about moving in the right direction and for four bucks I am not risking a whole lot here.
Unwind and recharge
Hit us up on Twitter with your favorite way to kick back and relax with your computer or phone, and include the hashtag #Windows10DoesMore!
Yoga Studio on Windows 10
The Yoga Studio apps for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile are true Universal Windows Platforms apps written natively for Microsoft's platform. Running the app on your phone is the same as on your Surface.
The app is very straightforward with a nice introduction tutorial that can be re-visited at any time under settings. From there, you can navigate through the various collections of classes, including essentials for ranging from beginners to advanced, sun salutations, deep relaxation meditations, quick fix yoga, and yoga specifically for runners and back pain.
Within each collection, there are subsets including Ability, Focus, and Duration each with a subgroup of classes.
Users can also skip to just Poses, which is like a visual glossary of the various articulations in yoga along with descriptions, benefits, modifications, advanced variations and things to be careful about when attempting.
All the classes have an associated HD video for the duration of the course. These videos are downloaded to the device and under Settings a user can see how much space Yoga Studio is occupying with these videos and with a touch of a button clear it out as well. Downloaded classes will show up in the Studio section for quick access to subsequent retakes.
Don't like your phone's small display? All videos can also be cast as well so that with your phone you can cast the class to your TV, Xbox One, Roku, or using the Microsoft Display Adapter.
Likewise, all types can be added to your calendar and will appear on the app's built-in calendar for quick reference. Since the app integrates with Outlook Calendar, the information can sync to all your devices and serve as a quick reminder.
Yoga Studio features a rather simple but smart Live Tile that reminds you of your next scheduled class. There is also a detailed search engine to locate specific poses and classes from within the app.
Under settings, there is a very nice allotment of choice to make the app tailored to your desires. For instance, you can change the audio volume. You can also have a narrator (teacher) talk you through the class, just a calling out of the pose (for more advanced users) and for those who have memorized the class you can just hear a chime that lets you know to shift. You can even control the ambient background volume and choose between things like a flute, waves, birds, guitar or none.
For those concerned about cellular data and usage you can optionally turn off downloads when on metered connections (it is off by default).
Both versions of the app run very well on Windows 10 and Mobile with no issues, conflicts, or instability issues. The app maintains a very high 4.9 (out of 5) rating on the Store with very positive feedback as well.
Wrapping it up
Yoga is both a very personal and intriguing hobby and exercise to begin. If you have thought about taking yoga, but simply do not have the time, the money or are just not sure if it is right for you then you need to try Yoga Studio for Windows 10.
Yoga Studio for Windows 10 and Mobile is well designed, easy to follow, well-paced and as a high level of production.
Whether you are new to yoga or have been doing it for years there is something here for everyone and earns a spot on our Windows 10 Gems spotlight!
How to Enter: Log into Windows Central and leave a comment on this post letting us know how you would use a Microsoft Band 2 in your health regimen. At the end of your comment you must also indicate you are posting as an entry into the sweepstakes, or use #sweepstakes.
Full rules and regulations can be found here, but please note that due to sponsor restrictions, the sweepstakes is only open to Windows Central readers in the US and Canada.
The sweepstakes is open until March 31st, and winners will be announced on the blog shortly after the close date.
The Prize: Two super lucky Windows Central readers will take home a Microsoft Band 2!