EA Sports has a built a reputation by making all sorts of things that are not yoga apps. The games developer has created many male-centric sports games like the popular Madden Football series and other licensed games with the NBA, NHL, FIFA, UFC, and more.
So Yogify, the developer's newest project, comes as a bit of a surprise. Yogify is a mobile app for iOS devices meant to bring yoga to the masses with a simple interface and guided instruction. Mobile is a natural extension for EA, but is yoga the right answer?
What's the Deal
Yogify is like a tiny, well-designed yogi in your pocket. The app comes loaded with 275 poses and three tiered levels meant to appeal to beginners, enthusiasts, and pros alike. The app is organized into "programs," which contain several classes each. Each program focuses on specific goals, such as balance, strength, and flexibility. The programs include guided sequences demonstrated by Yogify's yoga guru, Alex Mazerolle. Users can also check out individual poses to improve their technique. The app comes with five free classes, but additional programs need to be purchased.
There's some wiggle room for users to tailor their yoga practice, but purchasing programs can quickly add up (individual programs cost $1.99, while a tiered difficulty level of program costs $3.99). It costs $9.99 to buy the whole range of programs, which, while expensive for an app, is about par for a beginner yoga class.
The app allows users to pick their own soundtracks and share their progress with friends through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Why It Matters
So it's another yoga app; what's the big deal, right? Yogify is one of the first yoga-based apps from a major developer like EA. While this doesn't bode well for the indie developers out there, it's further proof that health and fitness are intersecting with technology.
Microsoft's Kinect, for example, has a series of games focused on fitness, including "Your Shape: Fitness Evolved" and Nike+ Kinect Training. Nintendo's Wii released a special digital balance board mean to compliment its Wii Fit game.
Yogify might not be the first, but it's the most impressive step forward by eschewing the game element entirely in favor of a fitness app. It's the first of its kind for EA and likely won't be the last.
Is It Legit?
For sure. EA has some serious street cred when it comes to programming, and they smartly recruited Alex Mazerolle to back up their yoga karma. Mazerolle is a yoga teacher, ambassador for Lululemon, and she started an organization that teaches yoga to young women as a way to empower them.
While the price is a little steep, it's not unreasonable when compared to an in-person yoga class. Of course, Yogify is limited by some big problems, namely that you're on your own for each class. No video or app can substitute for in-person guidance and the tailored approach of a real, present teacher. That said, the app is meant to augment a current practice and may even bring new people to the practice that might have been intimidated to jump in.
Yogify is not the only answer to mobile yoga — it faces a marketplace of similarly cool apps — but it is a sign that major developers, even ones known for football games, aren't afraid to tackle health and fitness.
Is it good that a big developer like EA is making a yoga app, or will it push out smaller companies? Sound off in the comments or tweet the author at @zsniderman.