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I Tried a Mixed-Reality Yoga App, the Latest For Meta Quest 3 From Alo Moves

Will 3D mini yoga instructors help you improve your form?

Jessica Rendall Wellness Reporter
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health technology, eye care, nutrition and finding new approaches to chronic health problems. When she's not reporting on health facts, she makes things up in screenplays and short fiction.
Expertise Public health, new wellness technology and health hacks that don't cost money Credentials
  • Added coconut oil to cheap coffee before keto made it cool.
Jessica Rendall
3 min read
A woman doing VR pilates

The new app from Alo Moves allows you to work out directly alongside a real Alo instructor -- including a life-size version of them and two miniatures. 

Alo Moves

Alo Moves, the wellness and fitness platform by the yoga athleisure line Alo, is developing a new mixed-reality app for Meta Quest 3. I got to see how it works it in Alo's store in Manhattan, and it gave me a taste of how virtual reality can sometimes give real-life wellness practices more dimension.

Launching later this year, with beta testing beginning mid-June, the app is being developed by Magnopus, a technology studio started by Oscar-winning visual artists. It offers your choice of Pilates, yoga or meditation practice inside an immersive world, beaming 3D versions of real-life Alo Yoga instructors onto a virtual background. The effect is created using room mapping and volumetric capture technology.

The magic of the mixed-reality app is this: You follow the instructor's movements as closely you would in the front row of a yoga or Pilates class, but you're wearing a VR headset instead. There are two additional "mini" instructors you can literally pick up and move around you, so you can follow along with them from every angle. 

This is all set against a virtual background, allowing you to move in mixed reality with your real-fake instructor(s).  

A woman being mindful with VR

One of the meditation modes on the app. 

Alo Moves

Getting started with the Alo Moves app

The heavy feel of a VR headset on my face felt like the exact opposite of what I'm typically going for when I set out to do yoga, Pilates or any sort of stress-relieving, breath-focused workout. But I quickly got over it when I saw how cool this mixed-reality world is. 

Once you're set up in either Pilates or yoga mode, having a hologram-like life-size instructor right in front of you is a wild experience. Having two mini versions of the same person at your side makes it easier to model your form and movement after the instructor. You can pick up the mini instructors and move them around so you can see better. (As someone who doesn't regularly use VR, I actually felt borderline invasive moving the instructors, given that they're projected 3D versions of real people.) 

These are volumetric captures of real instructors, produced using machine-learning cameras that recorded real classes. The recorded material then went through further processing to create the video-like versions of the instructors that you see on the app.

Doing yoga and meditating with a Meta Quest headset on

I didn't complete a full workout of either the Pilates or yoga function on the current model, so I can't speak for how the movements of the workouts in the app feel in the headset when you're in full exercise mode, but I tested bending my head up and down as you would in typical yoga or Pilates moves and found it a bit unnatural in the headset. Yoga and pilates requires a lot of dipping down and lifting up of the head and the neck as the whole body contorts, so I imagine at least some discomfort for people who practice with the Meta Quest 3. Even if the app is designed to stay away from particularly herky-jerky movements, a little head movement is inevitable. Some of this discomfort may be due to my not being used to VR or adjusting the headset, though. 

A woman doing VR yoga
Alo Moves

Of the three current modes you can toggle between (yoga, Pilates and meditation), I found the mediation mode most exciting. Because the app adds virtual backgrounds and sounds to its meditation mode, I could see a benefit of just sitting in the headset, getting lost in the beautiful, fake background and virtual world. 

There's no final word yet on when exactly this year the app will launch, or how much it will cost when it's out, but you can buy a Meta Quest 3 headset for $500. The app is technically still in development and Alo Moves says more details about the final experience will be shared in the future. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.