When offered the opportunity to review YogaDownload, I jumped at the chance to try it. I was provided with a 3-month trial in exchange for my review. I have always loved running, barre, and spin, but haven’t balanced those activities out with enough stretching and yoga. Now that I am pregnant, I stopped running because of back pain and discomfort. Several friends recommended prenatal yoga, so I started going to O2 Yoga (which offers a 7:00 p.m. Sunday class with Barrett in Somerville and a 5:45 p.m. Wednesday class with Devon in Cambridge). I liked the idea of supplementing these studio classes with an at-home practice via YogaDownload (projected from my computer via AppleTV onto my living room TV). I already have a yoga mat, blanket, blocks, strap, weights, and a decent size space in my living room to do workouts.
As a teacher, I have to be at work by 7:30 a.m. Most morning studio classes are just finishing at 7:30 a.m. or later, so it’s not possible to attend these, shower, and eat breakfast prior to school. With YogaDownload, I can finish a class in my living room by 6:15 a.m. and still get out the door by 7:00 a.m. I also like that YogaDownload is convenient for maternity leave and for when my baby will be in daycare and I won’t be able to attend as many studio classes as I did pre-pregnancy.
YogaDownload offers a wide variety of styles and easy ways to find classes to fit your needs. I was initially most interested in the following:
- Prenatal Yoga
- Postnatal Yoga
- Yin Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
I ended up doing mostly prenatal classes to alleviate back and hip pain. During pregnancy, I’ve attended yoga and Pilates classes at soul.train as well as barre classes at Pure Barre and FlyBarre. At those classes, I have asked the instructors for modifications, but don’t feel confident enough to make modifications for these classes on YogaDownload. I was also nervous about doing some of the yin and restorative poses after hearing that I’m not supposed to lie flat on my back for extended periods of time.
What I Liked
- The class times vary from 12 minutes to 80 minutes, so it is a lot easier to fit in shorter classes than it is to block out time for a 75 minute or 90 minute studio class (not to mention the travel time to and from the studio).
- Each video is summarized in an easy-to-read way. Especially helpful for prenatal: each class has a description that explains its purpose (e.g., alleviating back pain, positioning baby).
- Users can download classes (up to 5 per month with subscription, or pay by download). Though I used the AppleTV to project videos, I would appreciate this feature if I were taking my computer on a business trip and wanted to do yoga in my hotel room. Similarly, the options for audio-only classes or audio with slides classes would be good for travel yoga via phone (if not taking the computer).
- Users can select favorites, create a wish list, read reviews from other users, and make notes on specific videos. This makes planning a workout schedule and searching through the multitude of classes a lot easier.
- Other features: printable pose guides, a blog, free online classes, channels, and playlists.
I think the monthly membership would be optimal for users who are exploring lots of new yoga styles or have the discipline to do an at-home practice. The options to purchase specific classes or packages seem like they would work best for a user who already knows what he/she likes or only needs a few videos at a time. For example, I would recommend the Prenatal Yoga Package for pregnancy followed by a monthly subscription for postnatal yoga and getting back to a regular yoga routine (vinyasa, etc.).