I Tried Mixed-Reality Yoga on a New Meta Quest 3 App From 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 try it in Alo’s store in Manhattan, and it gave me a taste of how virtual reality can make real-life wellness practices feel more personal.

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, but I’ll note that I felt borderline invasive doing that, given that they’re projected 3D versions of real instructors. 

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 say for certain how a complete session will feel, but I found it uncomfortable to dip my head down with the headset on. 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.