As the world evolves, two paths have emerged that appear to be seemingly irreconcilable. There are those who are moving forward through science and technology, and others who are seeking ancient wisdom and inner experience. In light of these two viewpoints, however, a third path has emerged.
There are a number of people who are desperately trying to find balance between an advancing technological world and the serenity of a life focused on consciousness and awareness. Thankfully, this is a time when the divide between the old, beneficial practices and current advancements in yoga is disappearing.
For yoga enthusiasts, there have been several products introduced to the market which intend to enhance your practice through technology. Aside from apps and websites dedicated to yoga, there are hardware devices which can also help you. Here are a few technological advances that are making waves within the yogi community. Even though some of these products haven’t been released yet, their development is promising for the future of the yogic lifestyle and consciousness-based medicine.
Techy Yoga Clothes
One of the mergers between yoga and technology has been the creation of interactive clothing. A few innovative companies are weaving sensors into common garments, such as yoga pants, shirts, and even shoe inserts, to give you feedback about your body and positioning. These clothes are designed to be paired with a corresponding app on your smartphone or tablet, which receives and translates the data for your use. Some of the more ambitious brands go so far as to actually give you guidance about your practice.
For example, Wearable X has launched their Nadi X yoga pants, which provide gentle vibration during your yoga flow to let you know when you are out of alignment. Imagine the progress you could make in your at-home practice if your yoga pants “told” you where your imbalances are. The Nadi X can be pre-ordered via their website and is scheduled to ship as early as August 2017.
Another upcoming release is Move by Electricfoxy, an app which will allow you to:
- Set specific goals
- Challenge friends
- Share progress
Move also uses sensations from your garment to correct inconsistencies in your movements. If this particular product holds up to it promises, you will be able to receive direction from your instructor or other experts via the app on specifics of your practice.
Another company taking advantage of this kind of technology is Athos, a brand which offers activated apparel for athletes of all kinds. While their clothing is not specifically geared toward yoga, their usefulness in giving detailed feedback is something to get excited about. Athos gear works similarly to the aforementioned clothes, while also monitoring your heart rate and real-time muscle activity. They have even partnered with professional athletes and organizations to aid in player injuries. While you may not be an NFL player or tennis pro, this kind of data can be useful in rehabilitation efforts and for those yogis who face specific physical challenges.
Intelligent Yoga Mats
Intelligent yoga mats may be the most promising future technology on the horizon for yogis. Once again, using sensors synced to your smartphone or tablet, these products could really be a boost to your yoga practice when used correctly. Several forward-thinking companies have been looking into producing a yoga mat that will not only guide you in your yoga flow, but also correct the inconsistencies in your balance and posture. While most of these are still “in the works,” you may see them at your local yoga studio sooner than you think.
One of these products in development is the SmartMat. Currently available for pre-ordering, this mat boasts real-time feedback and guidance, while allowing you to track and store your progress through the app. The Tera fitness mat by Lunar, a European tech company, can track your movement during several exercises you can perform at home, including:
- Tae Bo
The app offers guidance and feedback on your movements and body pressure. This mat is round and lights up (think Simon game from the ‘80s) to show you where to move next and whether your posture is in sync with the guided flow.
Yoga-centered apps for your smartphone or tablet are another form of technology already available on the market. There are many options out there, but a few stand-outs have a lot of promise. For the most part, these apps are very similar. They all offer guidance from experts with pictures or videos to support your practice. Three effective apps to explore include:
Since this form of yoga technology has been developing for some years now, there are many apps to check out. When selecting the app that’s right for you, take into account important things such as:
- Validity of information
- Feedback features
- Logging personal information
- Tracking progress
While you are exploring yoga-centric apps, you might also consider using Muse during meditation. This headband uses brain-sensing technology to measure whether your mind is calm or active, and translates those signals into guiding sounds. Through the iOS app, you can choose sessions based on Dr. Deepak Chopra’s teachings around essential nature, breath, and inner quiet. Learning how to calm your mind is an important tool for improving your yoga practice, and can do wonders for Savasana.
Dr. Deepak Chopra also co-founded an app with Poonacha Machaiah called Jiyo, which yogis will find especially helpful. While it is not specifically asana-focused, this app works by syncing with your phone and/or fitness trackers to help you monitor your health in a holistic way. Depending on your condition and activity, Jiyo will suggest:
- Materials for you to read or watch for guidance
- Yoga postures to try
- Foods to eat
- Other relevant practices to help you bring about your best health
With this and other similar apps being developed, you can spend less time thinking about your health practices and focus more on living them.
There are a lot of promising technological advancements coming your way soon or already available to enhance your yoga practice. Take some time to check them out to see if they support your practice. While these developments may not tend toward the traditional ways of a yogic lifestyle, technology may soon make these principles accessible to a wider audience. The marriage of modern-day technology with valuable ancient wisdom traditions may one day prove to be a key element in the evolution of humanity.
Want to use technology to go deeper in your meditation practice? Try Muse, the brain-sensing headband that will elevate your meditation experience. It's like a personal meditation assistant. Get yours today at the Chopra Center Marketplace.