If you’re keen to reduce your stress levels and carve out some time to decompress at the end of a long day, the Othership app (opens in new tab) might be a good starting place. Othership is a breathwork app that is easy to use with just the right amount of content to choose from. You can choose from practices to start your day with or ones to help you wind down. There are various instructors who guide the breathing practices, allowing you to vary who you practice with or stick to the person you gel with the most. Their names are usually displayed on the session thumbnail which is handy in helping you decide what practice will suit your mood.
The layout of the app is user-friendly, allowing you to scroll through from daily practices to newer and recently added practices on the homepage. The homepage isn’t cramped with too many options. It gives you one suggestion for ‘Up’, for boosting energy and one for ‘Down’, for relaxing.
There’s a suggested ‘Weekly practice’ which tends to be a longer session, before leading to the newly added sessions. There's also a ‘Recently viewed’ section which is helpful to see what you've previously done. You can keep tabs on your progress and daily practice in the ‘Profile’ part and mark your favorite sessions, too. Shorter practices are common on the app meaning you can easily build your breathing sessions into your daily routine. Some of the shorter practices last only three minutes so there’s really no excuse for taking some time out even from a demanding schedule.
If you’re looking for something with more depth, the ‘Journeys’ function can help you go deeper into your breath practice. The sessions within the ‘Journeys’ section range from a few to 30 minutes. The ‘Journeys’ cover topics such as sleep, wind down and productivity, among others. Within one of these topics, there are a range of practices, helping you to explore the topic in more depth than the single practices offer.
- Feel the zen with the best yoga mats (opens in new tab)
- Get started with your practice with the best yoga pants (opens in new tab)
Othership has an ‘Explore’ function which has 5 categories; up, down, all-around, body and brain allowing you to choose to work on the aspect that most appeals to you. These sessions range from 0-10 min, 10-20 mins and 20-30 mins with only four videos to choose from in some of the categories. Othership seems to have got the balance right; there is more than enough content without it feeling overwhelming. You don’t waste time trying to choose a session and instead feel guided by the app. It takes the decision-making away and this feels like a good thing when you’re most likely using this app to improve your wellbeing, not to add to your stress. They’ve made it as easy as possible to ensure you do a regular session.
I’m used to doing breathwork alone in silence or during a yoga class with a teacher guiding me. Othership offered me a new experience. The app combines music and instructions, appealing to those with little experience of breathwork or spiritual practice. The music helps to make it feel less intimidating, and more fun, while offering the same benefits of developing an awareness of your breath.
Becoming aware of your breath can help you recognise when you’re feeling off balance, which then enables you to choose a practice that can help get you back on track. This is where Othership works well. The use of music is good for people who don’t particularly like silence, especially when they are asked to sit still. This can be scary for some people as they don’t like being left alone with their thoughts. The music takes the pressure off. Although the music is good for opening the app up to those who are unfamiliar with breath practices, it does distract from the practice and it’s sometimes hard to hear the vocal instructions over the music.
The choice of music is nicely matched to the tone of the breath session. For example, during the wind down sessions, the music is calming whereas during the ‘Up’ sessions, the music is much more upbeat. This works well and helps to influence the mood you’re trying to achieve. I definitely felt energized after the ‘Up’ sessions and calm after the ‘Down’ practices.
The thing I like most about this app is the use of the breath recording during the sessions. Let me elaborate; during the session, you can hear someone breathing in and out while the instructor is giving the guidance. This means that when the instructions pause and you’re left alone for a couple of minutes to keep practicing, you can hear the rhythm of the breath through this breath recording. You know if you’re on time and following the pace correctly. I found this really useful and it helped me stay present, especially when the instructions ceased.
One thing I will say is that the guidance isn’t always that clear, especially if you’re new to breathing practices. There are vague instructions before it dives straight into the practice. I feel there could be more explanation at the start of each session to help beginners get to grips with what’s going to happen during the session. Although saying that, there’s a ‘Beginners journeys’ in the ‘Journeys’ section for those new to breathwork to start out with. I also feel more explanation would help people engage in the purpose behind practicing breathwork.
Some of the practices felt rushed like there wasn’t enough time to explore the elements of them. For example, during the ‘Stretch your neck’ practice, I felt the breath was too fast for the neck movements you are asked to also practice but this might just be the yoga teacher in me! More time could be given to certain elements of the practice which would offer a much deeper experience for the user.
Overall, it’s a good app that can introduce people to the practice of breathwork and allow them to explore without having to attend classes with a teacher. This can mean that people build a more regular practice and it’s especially useful if someone is anxious about attending a class. However, there’s a limit as to what the app can show you. It currently has a good selection but naturally cannot cover every topic or theme. It would also run the risk of becoming cluttered if it tried to do so. The Othership breathwork app (opens in new tab) is a great introduction to breathwork and will help you connect to your breath and take back control of your mood.