FitStar Yoga With Tara Stiles App Review

FitStar Yoga With Tara Stiles
FitStar Yoga With Tara Stiles. Photo Courtesy of FitStar

FitStar Yoga is a yoga app from the folks behind the popular FitStar personal training app. The yoga iteration features instruction from Strala Yoga founder Tara Stiles. This app stands out from the crowd for several reasons. Most notable is the app's ability to create personalized session for you, though there is also the option to choose preexisting routines. The other innovation is that the app is fully integrated into online social networking sites.

Getting Started

The initial download of FitStar Yoga is free, but it becomes clear pretty quickly that you only get access to a small fraction of the app’s features unless you upgrade to the premium level, which costs $7.99 per months or $39.99 for a year. 

Upon logging in to the app (which you can do through Facebook, though I suggest you read the Terms of Service carefully if you are concerned about your privacy), you are prompted to select your level of yoga experience: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or expert. You are then led into a 20-minute introductory sequence to gauge if you’ve selected the right experience level. (You can put this off if you’re not able to launch into yoga right then.)  I chose an advanced level practice and found the intensity to be pretty spot on. This intro session offers a good taster of what the customized yoga classes will be like and it runs pretty smoothly, a marked improvement over previous attempts at this kind of technology.

Throughout the session, there are opportunities to indicate if particular poses are too hard, too easy, or just right, but don’t worry if you miss these cues since you get another chance to review the selected poses at the end of the workout. After this initial evaluation, it’s time to decide if you want to pony up for the premium level version of the app.

How It Works

There are two kinds of sessions on FitStar Yoga: Personalized and Freestyle. The Personalized workouts take into account your level of practice, including how you have rated challenging poses on your previous sessions. The Freestyle sequences, which will be augmented monthly, are preset (meaning the same for everyone) and focus on popular themes like hips, core, balance, and before bed.

At the Basic (free) level, you get only one 20-minute personalized yoga session per week, plus access to one Freestyle session of your choice. At the Premium level, you get unlimited access to everything, plus the ability to customize your Personalized sessions by changing the duration and intensity to fit your schedule and needs. Personalized sessions are sequenced for you based on your response to previous classes. 

Community

The FitStar Yoga app offers many opportunities to connect with the community of users for motivation and advice. You can connect the app to your existing social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter to keep everyone updated on when you do yoga or to fitness tracking technology like Fitbit, MyFitnessPal or UP by Jawbone.

 Just as importantly, for introverts like me, you can opt out of sharing pretty easily. There's an internal system of badges that are awarded when sessions are completed if you're motivated by that kind of thing. You can also set the app to remind you to work out and to alert you to your friends' activities if you want to. 

Should You Get It?

FitStar Yoga is the realization of the kind of personalized in-home virtual yoga teacher that some of us have been imagining since Wii Fit Yoga was introduced in 2008. The technology has finally caught up with the dream in many ways. It's definitely the most integrated, seamless app of its kind that I've tried. It could be a real boon to people who want to do yoga at home, particularly those with at least a little yoga experience. I wasn't able to see the beginner level sequences, but I usually feel like more hands-on time with a teacher is necessary for absolute beginners. This app could certainly augment any existing yoga routine, however. The social/motivational aspects are not really important to me, but they are there for people who want them. My advice is to download the app and try the initial session. It will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. If you're still on the fence after that, you can always stay with the basic version and upgrade later if you find it useful. 

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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