While my fitness resolutions tend to be based around the roller derby season rather than New Year's, they remain a popular January tradition. If you're looking for a fitness resolution for the new year, I'm going to suggest something for you right here: Fitstar Yoga.
I picked up Fitstar's original personal training app last year for some basic fitness outside of my skating, and it's remained a great little app for doing just that without the need for a gym or in-house personal trainer. Now, Fitstar's come out with a yoga-themed sequel to its popular fitness app, aptly named Fitstar Yoga.
It's built around yoga teacher Tara Stiles's Strala instruction, which uses a Vinyasa-esque flow to free up your movement and promote weight loss. Though it may not be quite as spiritual or breathing-focused as other yoga techniques, Stiles's technique is remarkably accessible, especially if you don't have previous yoga experience.
The app itself uses the template of the original Fitstar program, stringing together videos of each pose (and pose transitions) to create customized yoga sessions tailored to your abilities.
Like Fitstar, you begin by rating your own ability— Beginner to Expert — then subsequently ranking individual poses after each session. As you rank more poses, Fitstar adjusts the main program to more closely follow your preferences and create a proper difficulty build-up for you throughout your time with the app.
Fitstar Yoga lets you complete one custom session a week for free, along with a few pre-made Freestyle sessions; sign up for Fitstar Premium at $8/month or $30/year, however, and you have access to unlimited sessions. (Note: Fitstar Premium for Yoga is different from Fitstar Premium for the original app — if you're already subscribed to one, you'll have to pay a separate fee for the other.)
As yoga apps go, I've really enjoyed working with Fitstar and I've committed to keeping it around for the year — the sessions are well-built and easy to follow, though you do need a basic understanding of yoga body poses. The sessions focus more on tips to improve each pose, rather than detailed vocal walkthroughs of how to get your body into such a position. Poses generally flow well into one another, though the app occasionally misses vocal cues for switching to the next position. I hope the Fitstar tweaks this in upcoming updates, as vocal cues are vital when doing unassisted yoga — looking at the screen for your next cue isn't always an option, and can pull you out of your rhythm.
It's great to be able to rate difficulty and customize the sessions — I know that I can't do a side-crow, for example, so I can remove that of any sessions in advance. And as a Premium subscriber, I can change both the intensity of the session and its length, in case I want a longer workout or a harder, shorter one.
Fitstar Yoga also supports AirPlay Mirroring, allowing you to easily send it to your television. One note of caution: Make sure your Mute switch is turned off and your volume is up; otherwise AirPlay won't send audio from the app to your TV.
Want an app to help you stay on track with your fitness and get more into yoga? Fitstar's a great option. It's not perfect for true beginners, but for those looking for a customized challenge that encourages you to stay on track and focus on your yoga, it's a great little app.