Whether you’re in it for mental health, better sleep, spirituality, flexibility, balance, or strength, yoga has something for just about everyone. And with dozens of yoga apps to pick from, you can easily (and affordably) bring the studio experience into your home, your hotel room, or even your office. While nothing can replace the experience of practicing yoga in community, for app enthusiasts, the trade-offs —including affordability, convenience, and a wide variety of classes (think: meditation, HIIT, barre, and Pilates)—are more than worth it.
If you’re sold on the concept of a yoga app subscription but intimidated by the myriad options, we feel you. We spent hours testing five of the most popular options, taking meticulous notes along the way to find out which ones are worth your time and money.
By the end, we narrowed our top picks down to Alo Moves for its high quality instructors, user-friendliness, and wide class range. We also liked Down Dog Yoga’s smooth user experience, seemingly limitless class selection, and budget-friendly pricing.
Here’s how the best yoga apps stack up:
- Alo Moves
- Down Dog Yoga
- Asana Rebel
- Yoga Studio
The Best Yoga Apps
- Wide range of yoga styles taught by a rotating crew of experts
- 4.9-star rating on iOS
- 4.2-star rating on Google Play
While most of the apps I tested were more than adequate, Alo Moves stood out for its clean design, easy-to-navigate user interface, and unique offerings. These include kids yoga and classes that focus on developing skills such as handstands, inversions, splits, backbends, how to teach certain poses, and more. For the price, I don’t think you can beat it.
The first thing I noticed about Alo Moves was how easy it was to find my way around the app. The four main types of classes are yoga, Pilates & barre, and fitness (which includes both Pilates and barre as well as other modalities such as HIIT, resistance training, and sculpting). Users can filter by any and all of the following: instructor, style of class, setting your intention, difficulty level, intensity, and duration.
If you’d rather not make all those decisions, a selection of new classes, new “series” (classes that build on each other over days or weeks), popular classes, and a collection of curated classes are easily accessible directly from the home page.
Alo’s instructors are consistently excellent. They give great cues, aren’t overly chatty, and are clear in the way they give instructions. Many of the classes are shot at picturesque outdoor locations with professional-sounding audio. Teachers consistently start each class with a brief explanation of what to expect for props and what the class entails. In every class I took, teachers gave verbal cues while demonstrating the poses (as opposed to demonstrating with a voiceover).
Alo Moves got lots of points for variety. Once you select yoga among the four main types of workouts, you can choose from:
- Vinyasa (a breath-per-movement class, often centered around sun salutations, a series of poses that move the body quickly)
- Restorative (rest-focused practice)
- Hatha (a slower-paced class that holds poses for long periods of time without necessarily flowing together),
- Ashtanga (an athletic style of yoga based on a set structure of six sequences that progress sequentially)
- Prenatal (pregnancy-friendly flows)
- Kundalini (a style that combines movement, sound, breath, and meditation)
Meanwhile, there are more than 80 instructors, which makes Alo number one of all the apps we tested for instructor variety. Even if each teacher only recorded ten videos, that’s more than 800 classes in the archives, with new ones being released all the time.
Its monthly price of $19.99 is more than some other options, but I felt Alo Moves was more than worth the price. I appreciated the free two-week trial period, but like most apps, once you download the app and create a login (which you are required to do in order to take any classes), you’ll be paying for the app with whatever credit card is associated with your App store or Google Play account when the trial period is up by default. (In other words, you need to take action to avoid getting charged if you decide it’s not for you.)
Alo Moves didn’t blow me away for its commitment to inclusivity, but to be honest, none of the apps I tested stood out in that department. Among its more than 80-member team, all but one have a very thin, muscular physique. And although I didn’t hear any overt diet talk, I took off a point for Alo’s “sculpt” classes, which tend to promote the falsehood that you can effectively “spot treat” specific body parts. I also subtracted points for the fact that I rarely, if ever noticed my instructors offering modifications. Its lack of closed captioning and adjustable playback speed options is also a bummer.
Still, as yoga apps go, it doesn’t get much better than Alo Moves.
Down Dog Yoga
- AI-based app that delivers surprisingly fresh, engaging yoga flows
- 4.9-star rating on iOS
- 4.9-star rating on Google Play
Total transparency: I thought I was going to hate this app. Given its price point and cartoon dog logo, I assumed Down Dog was a watered-down generic version of the “real” yoga apps I tested. While Down Dog isn’t like the other apps, it surpassed the others (and my expectations) in many ways, most notably in its number of choices and simple user interface.
Finding your way around Down Dog is a piece of cake. Once you choose the type of practice you want (options include restorative, full vinyasa practice, guided meditation, Hatha, slow-paced Yin flows, chair yoga, Ashtanga, sun salutations, and more), you’re prompted to select your desired class duration, level, pace, savasana, or “corpse pose” duration, voice (there are multiple human voices that narrate the model’s poses), music genre, and one “boost” or class focus (including options like hip stretches, glute strength, and core strength).
Unlike other apps, Down Dog doesn’t offer “classes” to choose from. Instead, the app uses the preferences you filtered to autogenerate a sequence of poses for you. The “teacher” is the same every time, but you can choose one of any of the 12 available voices. And with the multiple music choices and the ability to select how much cueing you hear from the voiceover, the experience offers a lot more warmth than I expected. Although I preferred some voices over others, all were clear and easy to follow.
If you crave variety and control, Down Dog Yoga is by far the best app for you. The combinations and opportunities to create the type and duration of class you want are almost limitless. And unlike other apps, which have soundtracks that consist exclusively of Muzak, if you choose the acoustic category on Down Dog, you can listen to “real” songs with lyrics. Once you start taking a class, you can advance the track if you’re not loving the current song, a feature that was unique to this app.
Down Dog would be a great choice for anyone, but at $9.99/month, its budget-friendliness is super appealing. That said, if you want to access prenatal yoga, you have to download another one of the brand’s apps, Prenatal Yoga. We don’t love that prenatal classes aren’t offered automatically, but we’ve tested (and loved) Prenatal Yoga in our test of best pregnancy workout apps.
As far as inclusivity, Down Dog isn’t getting any points for instructor diversity. Its one instructor is a white-appearing, thin woman. The app also doesn’t do a great job of offering modifications for participants who might need them. It does, however, do a good job of leaving diet culture out of the conversation and giving users the options to show subtitles, adjust the playback speed, and choose the level of detail desired in verbal instructions.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that comes from India. Practice often involves setting intentions before or during class or chanting “om,” which is defined in Hindu literature as the primordial sound of creation. Featuring movement sequences that include an element of breathwork (for example, you might bend forward at your hips on the exhale and extend your torso skyward on the inhale), it’s known for making practitioners feel more grounded and relaxed.
If yoga is part of your routine, you’ll know its stress-melting, health-promoting power. And so does science. A large body of research The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine “The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies” View Source shows that yoga can improve your health by regulating your body’s stress response, circumventing a variety of negative outcomes that are triggered by stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine (the same ones that are responsible for sending you into “fight or flight” mode).
One study found that yoga can also decrease blood sugar, heart rate, blood pressure, and markers of inflammation The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine “The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies” View Source . That same study found that yoga was just as or more effective than exercise in relieving symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, menopause, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, and schizophrenia, to name a few. More recent research Taylor & Francis Online “Yoga and eating disorder prevention and treatment: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis” View Source suggests yoga may even help prevent and aid in treating eating disorders.
Yoga can also improve neck, back, and knee pain National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health “Yoga: What You Need To Know” View Source , anxiety, and can help people quit smoking, manage chronic illness, and more. A 2020 study ScienceDirect “Exploring how different types of yoga change psychological resources and emotional well-being across a single session” View Source suggests yoga can even improve your mood, decrease your fatigue level, and help with headaches. Best of all, the safety risks of practicing yoga are very limited PubMed.gov “The Safety of Yoga: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials” View Source . (Though it’s always best to go slow, steady, and favor beginner-friendly classes when you’re starting out.)
Are Yoga Apps Worth It?
Most yoga studios offer one-hour classes for a fee of about $20-$25 per session a few times a day (if you’re lucky). Yoga apps let you pick the length of your class (often ranging from as short as five minutes up to an hour), the intensity, the style of yoga, and in some cases, the background music. With the exception of the Down Dog app, every app we tested also offered mindfulness or meditation sessions. Many also offered other types of classes, like HIIT, barre, Pilates, and resistance training.
For people on a time crunch (read: everyone), squeezing a 20-minute class in on your lunch break, between meetings, or during your toddler’s nap time makes complete sense when fighting traffic and spending an hour in the studio just isn’t an option.
With dozens of classes available to stream, you can take whatever class you want whenever it suits your schedule, zero planning (or parking) required. Plus, for about $10-$20 per month, you can experience all of yoga’s health and wellness benefits for a fraction of the price you’d pay at your local yoga studio.
All of that said, a yoga app alone won’t offer you any of yoga’s many benefits if you don’t use it. For some, the flexibility of “anytime you want” effectively means “never.” If you’re the type of person who craves structure and relies on having the 7 PM class on your calendar to get you out the door and ready to roll out your mat, an app-based yoga class might not be your best option.
The Yoga App Buying Guide
Who Should Use a Yoga App?
Yoga apps are perfect for anyone who wants to include yoga in their routine but doesn’t have the time, flexibility, or the budget to attend studio yoga classes. They’re also ideal for anyone who can’t afford to lay low while they wait to see if the cough or sniffle they picked up at their yoga class is a cold or COVID-19. While most people who practice yoga are women ages 30-49, other folks seeking yoga classes include:
- All-around wellness enthusiasts
- Those seeking to improve flexibility and balance (for quality of life and for athletic performance)
- Parents of young children and other caregivers for whom a lack of childcare makes it difficult or impossible to make it a yoga studio
- People who are looking for holistic options to improve their mood
Yoga apps make it possible to attend a yoga class at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for a studio class, no matter where you are, even if you only have 10 minutes. Even if you don’t have WiFi, many of the apps I tested allow you to download classes for future use.
Should You Use a Yoga App as a Total Beginner?
If you’re totally new to yoga, an app is a great way to familiarize yourself with a practice in the comfort of your own home. The one thing you won’t get from an app, however, is real-time feedback from an instructor. This can be vital when you’re just starting out and may need adjustments from instructors to ensure you’re getting into poses correctly so as to not get injured.
If you decide to use an app as a beginner, look for one that offers beginner-friendly classes—ideally in a series that allows you to learn certain sequences and poses at a rate that makes sense for newbies. You’ll find this on Alo Move, Yoga Studio, Glo, and Downward Dog.
No matter what you choose, make sure to go at your own pace and take a break if you feel pain. Most yoga poses are a stretch, but they shouldn’t hurt.
What Kind of Equipment Do You Need for Yoga?
The great thing about practicing yoga is that you don’t need a ton of gear to do it. But if you’re planning on setting up a long-term home practice, some things certainly help. Below, descending order of importance, is what we recommend.
- Comfy clothes: Choose breathable clothes that are stretchy and easy to move in. For most people, this usually involves legging or yoga pants and an athletic-style shirt. Look for one that’s close-fitting enough that it doesn’t fall over your head in certain poses, but not so tight that it feels uncomfortable. If you wear bras, you can opt for a low-impact style (as opposed to a tight, high-impact sports bra intended for running) or a shirt with a built-in bra.
- A yoga mat: This is helpful for all home workouts, from yoga to Pilates to strength training. A great yoga mat provides a soft—but not too soft—surface that allows you to sink comfortably into certain poses with plenty of grip to prevent slipping when practice gets sweaty. We like Lululemon’s Reversible mat and Heathyoga’s yoga mat, both of which excelled in our tests for grip and comfort.
- Yoga blocks: These accessories can enhance positions by making certain poses more accessible. For example, if your instructor calls out a half moon pose and the ground feels a little too far away, a block can help you get there without toppling over or straining your muscles. We’ve tested a bunch of yoga blocks and love Manduka’s cork block. It provides sturdy, easy-to-grip support (and looks pretty good, too).
- A yoga strap: Like a block, this prop serves as an extension of the hand or foot. It can help you work into new poses you aren’t as familiar with yet or just add some support wherever it’s needed. Our favorite yoga strap is Manduka’s Align strap, which is a little wider and thicker than others, making it more comfortable to use.
Which Features Matter Most for Yoga Apps?
- Instructor quality: Do the instructors offer clear instructions and seem to be knowledgeable about the practice of yoga? Do they bring warmth and an authentic love of teaching to their classes?
- User-friendly app design: How easy is it to apply filters and find classes, adjust volume, download classes for later, and just generally navigate the app?
- Class variety (intensity, duration, class type): Do you get plenty of choices in terms of class intensity, type, duration, and instructors?
- Pricing: How much value do you get for the price?
- Inclusivity: Do the instructors represent a diversity of races and sizes? Is their language inclusive or does it include gender binaries and an assumption that thinner bodies are healthier? Do they offer modifications, and if so, are they clear in their language? Does the app include options to adjust the playback speed or display subtitles?
How We Found the Best Yoga Apps
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I personally tested each and every app in this roundup. I started taking yoga with my mom when I was in high school. This was in the ’90s, when you had to know someone to find out about the class, and almost a decade before yoga pants were even a thing. I’ve taken dozens, if not hundreds of classes since then.
Today, I’m a health and fitness junkie and freelance journalist. Before becoming a freelance writer, I was an occupational therapist. For more than a decade, I worked in a variety of healthcare settings (mostly hospitals), helping people with chronic and acute medical conditions function as fully as possible. This meant designing treatments that helped my patients grow stronger, more coordinated, and more self-aware. I also educated patients and their families on how to make their homes as safe as possible.
In addition to my healthcare experience, I’m an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, certified intuitive eating counselor, and a women’s health and fitness podcast host. Although my first love is endurance sports—I’ve completed six marathons and two Ironmans—I’ve also dabbled in CrossFit and weightlifting. As a group fitness instructor, I teach indoor cycling.
Over the years, yoga has been an excellent complement to my athletic pursuits.
Our Testing Process
Before I even thought about rolling out my mat, I spent hours researching yoga apps to figure out which ones are most popular right now. That included reading other roundups and reviews and spending a lot of time looking at ratings for various apps.
I submitted ten potential apps to the Ness team and eventually landed on the final five we felt made the most sense to test. The bulk of my testing process consisted of taking at least two classes from each app. After that, I sampled at least half a dozen more classes in each app, either participating in or watching at least 10 minutes’ worth of each class, making sure my selections included different styles and teachers in an attempt to get a solid feel for the overall quality and feel of each app. I paused each class multiple times to take notes on my observations. In total, I spent about ten hours testing yoga apps. We mostly focused on on movements and poses, rather than the meditation, breathwork, or philosophy-based aspects of the practice, but we paid attention to those too.
For more on how we found the best yoga apps, read the test notes.
Other Yoga Apps To Consider
- Stellar instructors and wide class variety at a steep price
- 4.9-star rating on iOS
- 4.8-star rating on Google Play
- Quality instructors
- Great variety of classes, including strength, barre, and HIIT
- A breeze to navigate
- Live classes available
- Inconsistent audio and video quality
Glo offers excellent instructors, tons of variety, and one of the smoothest class selection experiences of all the apps I tried. However, I had to knock off a few points for its inconsistent video quality. While many videos looked very professional, others—usually classes that had been filmed live—didn’t, and some had an echoey sound.
Not only does Glo have plenty of classes to choose from, there are tons of filters. There are the expected options (duration, skill level, intensity, style, and teacher), as well as focus, which offers options like morning (an energizing practice) or evening (to help you wind down), class goal (including options like core, strength, calm, and balance), body part focus, and necessary props. And if you’re not a fan of the less produced videos, you can select “don’t show live classes.”
Given that it was the priciest app I tried, I was a little disappointed that its subtitle feature didn’t work. For the price, I also expected some of the “extras” that other apps offered, like Alo’s skill-centered series.
Yoga Apps You Can Skip
- Not-so-yoga-focused app with a disappointing emphasis on weight loss
- 4.7-star rating on iOS
- 4.5-star rating on Google Play
- High quality audio and visuals
- Strong diet culture messaging
- Limited variety of instructors and classes
- Hard to navigate
If you’re looking to deepen your yoga practice, Asana Rebel is not the app for you. In fact, the app’s name is the most yoga-forward thing about it. One of the blanks I was made to fill in after creating a login was “goal weight,” which set the tone for the entire experience.
While some of the other apps allowed me to select weight loss goals, Asana Rebel was the only one where weight loss and physique goals took center stage. Workout options included 14-day six pack abs, 21-day challenge for weight loss, and a “beach body” challenge. Every workout included an option to skip the warm-up and included the jarring sound of a bell ringing immediately before the cooldown (even during the classes that were billed as being “yoga focused” or relaxing).
Even if you come to Asana Rebel with the express goal of losing weight, I still wouldn’t recommend this app. I didn’t enjoy the repetitive music, it was awkward to navigate when selecting a class, and with only five instructors, there isn’t a lot of variety. Meanwhile, some of what the app shares is inaccurate. For example, the instructors frequently mention sculpting and toning, implying you can “spot treat” body parts, when in fact, that’s not how fat loss works PubMed.gov “Effect of abdominal resistance exercise on abdominal subcutaneous fat of obese women: a randomized controlled trial using ultrasound imaging assessments” View Source .
And on top of everything else, the app’s messaging led me to believe my monthly subscription fee would be $15.99/mo. But my App Store receipt indicated a monthly fee of $25.98, which put Asana Rebel in first place for two categories: most expensive and least enjoyable.
- AI-driven app with a limited amount of classes
- 4.1-star rating on iOS
- 4.1-star rating on Google Play
- Instructors give clear, concise directions
- Good video quality
- Limited variety
- Clunky navigation
While Yoga Studio is completely serviceable, Down Dog offers significantly more variety and a much better user experience for the same price. Both apps feature a model demonstrating the poses with a voiceover in the background. But where Down Dog offers almost virtually endless class options, Yoga Studio offered significantly fewer classes than any other app I tried, with the exception of Asana Rebel.
It’s also difficult to find your way around this app. Setting multiple filters to select classes wasn’t an intuitive process. Once I selected the class I wanted to try, I couldn’t just hit play and start; I had to navigate to a different screen and find it in my downloads before hitting play.
- Research shows yoga can improve your health by down-regulating your stress response: “The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies,” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (January 2010).
- Yoga can improve your mood and decrease your fatigue level: “Exploring how different types of yoga change psychological resources and emotional well-being across a single session,” Complementary Therapies in Medicine (March 2020).
- Recent research suggests yoga is a powerful eating disorder recovery tool and may even help prevent and treat eating disorders: “Yoga and eating disorder prevention and treatment: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis,” The Journal of Treatment & Prevention (September 2020).
- Yoga can improve neck, back, and knee pain, anxiety, and depression can help people quit smoking, manage chronic illness, and more: “Yoga: What You Need To Know,” NCCIH (no date).
- Yoga’s safety risks are very limited: “The Safety of Yoga: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials,” American journal of epidemiology (August 2015).