Choosing Therapy’s Scoring Criteria for Yoga Apps
If you’re looking to add yoga to your wellness routine, Choosing Therapy can guide you in the right direction by providing thorough reviews and star ratings of the current yoga apps available. Choosing Therapy’s in-depth, unbiased reviews that are based on careful research, expert interviews, and first-hand product testing can help you find the best yoga app for you.
Below we review our scoring criteria for yoga apps, including definitions of key characteristics and features and a breakdown of the star rating system used in our yoga app reviews.
Beginner Yoga Classes
A quality yoga app should have a clear path for beginners. Beginners’ classes are important because they don’t alienate or intimidate users who are excited about trying yoga for the first time. We define a beginner as someone who has never participated in a yoga class before.
Many yoga apps will promote ‘entry level’ yoga classes, but some of those classes are still too difficult for someone stepping into their first yoga pose or attempting their first sun salutation. A true beginner’s class should start by explaining yoga fundamentals, like breathwork and why it’s important to be mindful of your body throughout each movement to prevent injury.
We also look at the number of options for beginners. For instance, does the app have beginner classes for each discipline of yoga? Is there a path, program, or series of beginner classes? It’s important to note that if a yoga app states explicitly in its name that it’s designed for intermediate to advanced yogis, we wouldn’t unfairly deduct points. Yoga apps made for advanced users or yoga teachers would be rated with a different set of criteria. The following criteria are for general yoga apps that advertise classes for all levels.
Star Ratings for a Beginner Yoga Classes
5 Stars: Users who register as beginners are guided directly to several yoga classes that cover yoga fundamentals. They also have premade paths or curated programs for beginners to follow. Beginners feel confident and comfortable following along with the instruction.
3 Stars: The app offers entry-level yoga classes but doesn’t address the fundamentals necessary for users trying yoga for the first time.
1 Star: The app does not ask the user about their yoga experience or label classes by difficulty level.
Variety of Yoga Styles & Size Library
When rating yoga apps, we look for there to be a variety of yoga styles offered, as well as a high volume of content available. When an app offers several different forms of yoga, such as Ashtanga, Hatha, Kundalini, and Vinyasa, it gives the user a better understanding of the many forms of yoga that exist. There should also be a large library of classes to choose from for each yoga discipline. Having options helps users find a yoga flow that they enjoy, keep their practice fresh, and help them stay committed.
In addition to a range of yoga styles and a sizable volume of content, we’re looking at yoga for different focus areas, intentions, and duration. While users may be geared toward a particular style of yoga, they can also benefit from learning different postures that target anatomy, reduce stress, or enhance sleep. For example, does the yoga app provide classes that stretch the lower back, open the hips, or increase relaxation?
Lastly, a user should also be able to find classes that are 5 -10 minutes to fit into a busy day and full-length 60 – 90 minute classes that offer comprehensive instruction.
Star Ratings for Variety of Yoga Styles & Size of Library
5 Stars: The app offers a large library of content with a wide range of yoga styles and disciplines. It provides yoga classes designed for several different areas of focus, such as anatomy or mastering specific yoga poses. It includes yoga classes for intentions, like yoga classes for reducing stress or enhancing sleep. The app has yoga classes that range from 5-minutes to 120-minutes
3 Stars: The app offers a moderate library of content with different yoga styles but lacks popular forms, such as restorative yoga or prenatal yoga, or popular disciplines, like Vinyasa or Hatha. It has a limited duration spectrum (e.g., only 30 – 60-minute classes).
1 Star: The app provides a limited library of content, limited number of yoga styles, and has no areas of focus or yoga for specific intentions. There is no variety in the duration of classes (e.g., only 30-minute classes).
Interface Design & User Experience
A yoga app’s interface should be easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. A key reason why many users choose a yoga app over joining a yoga studio is ease and convenience. If it’s challenging to find a yoga class, save a favorite class, or search for a specific teacher or style, it will result in a deduction of points. We’re looking for elements like intuitive recommendations that match the user’s goals and filtration tools that are easy to use and produce the right results. Users of every age should be able to navigate the app successfully.
In addition, a yoga app should also be visually inviting with attractive designs. A yoga studio that’s cluttered and messy with loud colors wouldn’t attract many members, and the same goes for a yoga app. The interface should be proportional, balanced, have clean lines, organized features, and appealing colors.
Star Ratings for Interface Design and User Experience
5 Stars: The app is easy-to-navigate, intuitive, and users of any age can quickly figure out how to use it. It also has pleasing designs, colors, and exceptional organization.
3 Stars: The app offers a mediocre user experience, it’s somewhat tricky to navigate, and it takes more time to understand how to use the tools or find the yoga classes you want. The design, style, and organization aren’t as appealing as other yoga apps.
1 Star: The app is difficult to use, poorly organized, and has an unappealing design.
We believe the ability to personalize your experience is a notable element in quality yoga apps. When someone registers for a subscription, the yoga app should begin the onboarding process by taking an interest in the user.
The app should ask questions like:
- What are your goals?
- What would you like to focus on?
- What style of yoga do you prefer?
- What’s your level of experience?
- What’s your preferred teaching style?
The app can then provide recommendations and gear the user towards a yoga program to help them achieve their goals. A yoga app may be penalized for pushing classes that don’t match the user’s answers to the onboarding questions.
There should be options to customize a yoga practice by providing organizational tools like a Library or Saved Classes section. If users enjoy a specific class, they shouldn’t have to search for it every time they open the app. Some helpful characteristics of personalized libraries include sections for saving favorite yoga classes, meditations, and teachers.
A yoga app will also score better in the personalization category if it tracks progress, utilizes gamification tools to keep users motivated, and provides curated challenges or programs to help users advance their practice.
Star Ratings for Personalization
5 Stars: It feels like this yoga app was specifically designed for you! It’s intuitive and makes recommendations that match your preferences, goals, and lifestyle. You can customize your entire experience, create your own library of classes for easy access, and tag your favorite teachers. It tracks your progress, challenges you, and motivates you to stay committed to your practice.
3 Stars: The app recommends classes that are off-target. The app includes a Library/Saved Classes section but has limited tools or categories. The app documents when you’ve completed a particular class but doesn’t track progress or motivate you to challenge yourself or achieve new goals.
1 Star: The yoga app does not make recommendations and lacks customization tools.
Viewing Options on Multiple Devices
Many current yoga apps make it easier for users to view videos by making the app compatible with tablets, laptops, and TVs. Yoga apps that don’t have additional viewing options will be penalized, and apps that offer TV channels, chromecasting, or AirPlay capabilities will score higher. The app should also be able to sync successfully across all devices and showcase the same content on all platforms.
Star Ratings for Viewing Options Category
5 Stars: You can view yoga classes on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and TV. Your information syncs across all your devices, and the content is the same on every platform.
3 Stars: You can view yoga classes on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet but can’t view them on your TV. You have trouble syncing information, and/or the content is inconsistent across each platform.
1 Star: You can only view yoga classes on your smartphone.
Yoga is much more than exercise. It has a deep and rich history, philosophy, and it’s strongly connected to mindfulness. To be true to yoga’s roots, it’s important to provide extras beyond yoga workouts. Yoga apps that offer things like meditation, pranayama (breathwork), and educational elements will score higher on our rating system. Users should be able to build a meditation practice alongside their yoga practice and learn about the meaning of yoga for an authentic experience.
Yoga apps that provide other fitness options will also score higher. Nowadays, many yoga studios also have pilates, barre, and strength training classes, and we’re looking for yoga apps that reflect that type of program.
Lastly, we include community engagement in this extra features category because many users want to connect with other yoga enthusiasts and share their experiences, even though they’re building a yoga practice at home. We’re looking for community boards, chats, member blogs, or other elements that encourage users to interact.
Star Ratings for Extra Classes, Features, & Resources
5 Stars: The app gives you access to an array of guided meditations, breathwork exercises, and other fitness classes, like pilates or HIIT. An extensive library of educational resources provides articles, tutorials, workshops, and lectures on several topics related to yoga and mindfulness. The app invites users to connect and participate in community events online.
3 Stars: Users have access to guided meditations, but there are no other fitness classes available (or vice versa). There is a limited number of educational resources, and it lacks community engagement.
1 Star: The app provides very few to no extra resources beyond yoga instruction.
Cost & Free Trial Periods
One of our goals is to protect consumers from costly apps that don’t meet expectations or quality standards. Some yoga apps will cost more than others, and we want to identify how companies support each price tag. An affordable yoga app will not necessarily be rated higher than an expensive app, and vice versa. The cost should be reflective of what the app offers. In other words, are you getting what you paid for?
The transparency of pricing is another important factor in this category. Yoga apps that provide clear costs, cancellation policies, and refund policies will score higher in our rating system. A user should know an exact price before a purchase without facing any unknown costs or additional fees. Apps commonly charge different prices depending on the platform, which will not result in a lower rating. We’re looking for clarity, honesty, and fairness when it comes to cost.
We also think it’s important for users to be able to have a trial period before committing to a monthly or annual subscription. If there’s no free trial offered, there should be a free version of the app available. For example, in place of a free trial, an app may have a free basic version with access to a selection of yoga classes and guided meditations. Overall, you should be allowed to look around the app, sample the user experience, view the options, and use the tools before making a purchase.
Star Ratings for Cost & Free Trial Periods
5 Stars: The yoga app’s cost is directly reflected in its quality, and the company makes the pricing clear to the user. You’re getting exactly what you paid for, and there are no surprise costs or additional fees. Members get a free trial for at least seven days to learn about the app and try yoga classes before purchasing. If there’s no free trial, there is a free basic version that gives users a solid idea of what the app offers.
3 Stars: The price of the app doesn’t directly match the quality. It was somewhat difficult to find an exact price or cancellation/refund policy. You can point to other yoga apps that provide more for less. There’s a limited free trial of fewer than seven days or a limited free version that does not show a clear picture of what the app has to offer.
1 Star: The price does not match the quality of the app. Price wasn’t clearly listed and/or cancellation/refund policy was not listed. It’s entirely too expensive for what users are getting. There is no free trial and no free version.
As with any app, the quality of a yoga app’s customer service is a significant rating factor. Yoga apps may be penalized if it’s difficult to find support contact information, connect with a representative, or if it lacks channels of communication (e.g., only has email, no phone numbers listed). We also take into consideration user reviews when scoring for customer service. We research and analyze positive and negative reviews that mention customer service and track when app developers respond to complaints in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Star Ratings for Customer Service
5 Stars: The app offers excellent customer service. There are multiple channels to communicate with a representative, including email, text, chat, and phone. Responses to issues and complaints are completed within 24 hours. There are very few, if any, customer complaints in reviews online. When issues are reported in reviews online, the app developers respond efficiently and effectively.
3 Stars: The app provides an average level of customer service. There are limited channels to communicate with a representative. Response time takes more than 72 hours. App developers sometimes respond to issues reported in reviews online.
1 Star: The app provides poor customer service. You can only reach a representative through one channel. Response time takes over a week and many issues are left unresolved. App developers do not respond to reported issues in reviews online.
To make our scoring system more balanced, we collect an average of star ratings from reviewers from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. This ensures that we’re quantifying an objective perspective on the yoga app and not just grading solely on the experiences of our reviewers.
Summary of Scoring for User Review Category
The average score of the rating system will be recorded in our overall rating system. For example, if a yoga app has 4.5 stars out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store and 3.5 stars out of 5 stars in the Google Play Store (8 stars / 10 stars = 80%) which would be 4-stars in our rating system.
5 Stars: 90 – 100
4 Stars: 80 – 90
3 Stars: 70 – 80
2 Stars: 60 – 70
1 Star: 50 – 60
Reliability & Longevity
Our reliability and longevity score will be determined by how long an app has been around, how many reviews it has, how often upgrades or updates are conducted, and how often they produce new content. While it may seem unfair that a newly released app has fewer points because it lacks credibility, remember that our goal is to protect the consumer.
We want to direct users toward apps that will continue to grow and won’t disappear or phase out after a user purchases an annual subscription. It’s important to note that we also conduct updates to our yoga app reviews, so a newly released app may receive a higher score after they prove its credibility over time.
Star Ratings for Reliability & Longevity
5 Stars: The app has existed for more than two years and has collected at least 1K reviews. The developers conduct regular updates, routine upgrades, and new content is uploaded weekly.
3 Stars: The app has existed for less than a year and has collected at least 500 reviews. The developers have conducted only one or two updates or upgrades. It’s been a few months since new content has been added.
1 Star: The yoga app has less than 200 reviews and has existed for less than a year. OR the app has existed for many years but has limited reviews, no upgrades or updates have been made, and it’s been over a year since new content has been added.
Credibility & Expertise
When learning a new skill, we look to those with expertise and credibility to teach us. When reviewing yoga apps, we look not only at the levels of experience and expertise of the content creators, such as the app developers, yoga instructors, and mindfulness experts, but also at the quality of the content they produce. We want to make sure that the yoga instruction and information is valuable, scientifically sound, and both produced and taught by professionals. This means examining the company history, its founders, advisory teams, developers, yoga instructors, and the content offered to ensure they meet the above criteria. Any company that lacks expertise, pushes unscientific or baseless information, and has inadequate yoga instruction from uncertified/untrained teachers will score low on our scale.
Star Ratings for Credibility & Expertise
5 Stars: App was developed and informed by experts, has trained/certified yoga and mindfulness instructors, and high-quality, evidenced-based content.
3 Stars: App developers and/or yoga and mindfulness instructors lack experience, content provided lacks scientific support.
1 Star: App developers and yoga/mindfulness instructors have little to no experience, content provided has no scientific support.
Privacy & Security
Digital privacy and security are important to consider when choosing an app. An ideal yoga app keeps the user’s account information, such as credit card numbers, email addresses, or other identifying data, private and protected at all times. When ranking for this category, our objective is to promote companies that have transparent and ethical privacy and security policies, as well as data sharing practices, and who consistently meet users’ privacy expectations. Companies that are unclear about these policies and/or exhibit unethical actions regarding privacy, security, and data sharing, will receive lower scores.
Star Ratings for Privacy & Security
5 Stars: Privacy policies are easy to find, clearly stated, and specific. The company is transparent about data sharing practices and consistently meets users’ expectations. There are no reports of security issues, such as personal information or credit card information being stolen.
3 Stars: Privacy policies and data sharing practices are difficult to find and/or generic and unspecific. There have been some incidents of users facing security issues with private information.