I got an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas. It can be quite fun. We played music and games. My favorite game is 20 questions. Alexa can also help you with your yoga practice. I downloaded a few promising apps to help you sort through the apps. If you search yoga on you will find 39 skills. For those of you new to the Echo, skills are basically apps for echo.
- Peaceful Habit: Peaceful Habit is my favorite skill to use. There are quite a few meditation skills. Most of them are guided meditations. This skill is a simple time keeper. You can have a 5, 10, 20 or 40 minute meditation. It starts with 3 chimes and end with 3 chimes. For the meditations over 5 minutes it plays one chime every 5 minutes. This is perfect for where I am in my meditation practice. I find it difficult to follow along to a guided meditation. Peaceful Habit allows me to practice whatever meditation I like. I do wish that there was a 15 and 30 minute meditation but I am hoping they will add more soon.
- Yoga Nidra This is another simple skill. It’s a recording of yoga nidra from MIT. The recording is very clear and soothing. It’s 20 minutes long and I always fall asleep right away.
- Zen sounds – Healing Sounds: This app simply plays soothing relaxing music. There are quite a few “sound” skills out there. Eventually they start to get irritating. I find I can listen to this whether I want to focus while working or relax before bed. The sound never gets annoying. It is the perfect background music because it is not intrusive. If you engage another skill or ask Alexa a question the music resumes after you’re done.
Rounding out to 10 I included some other apps that are available but I don’t use them regularly. I include some I don’t really use but I think many people might find useful because yoga is not a one size fits all practice. At the end of the day you need to find the right yoga for you. You need to find the yoga that helps you keep a steady mind, develop equanimity and consistent practice.
- Breathe Therapy: This is a great way to practice breathing. It counts along with you so you don’t have to count. You can customize the breath to as many counts as you like. I find Alexa’s voice a little harsh for this application but I could learn to live with it. I think that before using this skill you might want to speak with a yoga teacher or do some research on breath manipulation. There are medical conditions where the inhale should not be longer than the exhale and vice versa. Otherwise this is a great way to use breathing for relaxation.
- Yoga Studio: This is like having an at home A la carte yoga studio. You can ask for a yoga class by length. You can choose from 10, 20, 30 or 60 minute classes and the skill delivers a random class that length. It’s a great substitute when you can’t make it to class. I suspect that they use classes from YouTube. Yoga studio is definitely a must have skill for any yogi.
- Headspace: Headspace is the gold standard for meditation apps. You can use headspace to learn to meditate, explore meditation by topics or practice the daily meditations. A lot of people swear by headspace. I have tried to use it a few times and it’s not my cup of tea but I would definitly recommend it.
- Meditation Studio: This skill is great for guided meditations. You can explore meditation over 200 meditations by topic, teacher or name. It is also available in the in the Apple and Google stores. I almost love this as much as Peaceful Habit. It may one day turn into my new addiction
- Life Bot: Life Bot is the creator of Easy Yoga. The full app claims to do many things. Right now I am using it to remind me every day to practice breathing and meditation.
- Daily Meditation Reminder: This seems like a great idea but I don’t listen to flash briefing. The flash briefing is a customizable briefing that you can play daily. You can include news, weather etc and the daily meditation reminder encourages you to meditate each day. It’s a good idea if you’re a flash briefing kind of person.
- Ambient Sounds, Ocean Sounds, Sleep Sounds, Relaxation Sounds, Spa Music etc: There are many sound skills rainstorm, ocean, etc. Sounds are very effective for helping you relax and unwind. It’s a great way to use the echo’s speaker system. You’re sure to find one or more sounds that you like.
Although apps and skills cannot replace a knowledgeable and competent instructor they can help fill in the gaps by making yoga convenient and accessible.
Do you use any yoga apps? How are they helpful to you?