I was always a bit of tech girl. I do like a cool gadget if it does the job well. My reaction to the prospect of having to buy a new iPad after mine took a bit of a hit recently? — Squee!!! But yoga’s changing me a bit. I’m actually starting to have second thoughts about the place of technology in my life. The new iPad is tempting (though not to my wallet) but for now it’s taped up with some sticky stuff and I’ll see if we can grow older together for a while yet. Now that I’m not in danger of lacerating my finger tips with each swipe, it’s OK! I don’t need newer and better.
My job is a pretty techy and I spend most of my working days behind a few screens, so time on the mat feels gloriously ‘off-grid’ and lo-tech. Nor have I ever got into yoga videos or all the fancy meditation apps that are so popular. Sometimes I like the familiarity of my teachers’ recordings, but mostly it’s just me and what ever’s going on inside.
But lo-tech yoga, where even a mat is optional really, isn’t going to make anyone big bucks. And the marketing beasts have spotted the gap in the market. Not only are there a plethora of yoga apps out there, but hi-tech yoga mats are being designed. Smart mats use haptic technology (sensors in the mat detecting weight) to offer personalised feedback. I was particularly amused by the ‘zen mode’ — turning the feedback off! And let’s not forget the self rolling mats too.
So I guess it’s just a small (but perfectly aligned) step to vibrating yoga pants. They apparently contain motion sensors at the hips, knees, and ankles that send vibrating feedback to the wearer if they’re not in alignment. And can be washed up to 25 times… Well that’s good to hear!
This is all quite amusing to watch from the sidelines. OK, I admit I’m nerdily intrigued and would love to try this stuff out just once. But just supposing that it was powerful and actually worked and helped achieve a more correctly aligned asana, where would that get anyone? There’s a lot more going on in any asana than just hands and feet in the right place. And isn’t yoga about figuring this stuff out for yourself? I’m currently wallowing in a small obsession with hip articulation as I start to explore experientially the relationship between my feet and my hips, glutes, lower back, and on and up…. I will go on feeling around until something clicks (metaphorically) and I’ll ask my teacher when I’ve tied myself in (metaphorical, again) knots!
My only alignment feedback is the taped line I have done the centre of my mat, or my teacher’s capable hands suggesting some refinements, or — wait for it — actually focusing inwards while I do my asana practice and feeling for my steady and comfy position, the sthira sukham āsanam that Patañjali advocated more than a millennium before any kickstarter funding supported his cool yoga sutras project.
image source: laptop