This Smart Yoga Mat Can Talk To You And Adjust Your Poses
An Indiegogo campaign has launched to finance SmartMat, a yoga mat that talks to you and corrects your posture. It looks like your average yoga mat, but it’s equipped with seven pounds’ worth of sensors and technology that connect with a SmartMat phone app via Bluetooth. The app adjusts its measurements based on things like your gender, height and weight. Then — and this is the cool part — the mat instructs you through a private yoga practice in your own home.
The mat can teach you new poses and track your progress on mastering them. Working toward a measurable goal makes hobbies more fun for me, and if I’m being honest, there’s nothing I love more than a good competition against myself. It would be pretty sweet to have the mat tell me how my posture today has improved from my posture the week before. What concerns me about this, though, is that yoga strives not to about competition or perfection. Correcting a yoga student’s pose for safety is one thing, but it’s another entirely if it’s about doing it “better” than everyone else. At the end of the day, the practice is a meditation, not a contest. In the words of Ami (who is a certified yoga teacher), “There is no such thing as being ‘good’ at yoga. But if there were to be a such thing as being ‘good’ at yoga it would include: practicing regularly, breathing through the entire class, and not comparing yourself to others. It would have nothing to do with how you look while doing the poses. ” In that context, it seems a little off base to receive a daily numerical score like you’d get from the SmartMat.
While pros are insisting the mat can’t be a replacement for class, especially if you’re new to yoga, I still can’t help but see it as a kickass way to get some zen on without leaving the house. A team of yoga teachers helped to develop the gadget, but it still may not necessarily be wise to attempt a challenging new pose alone on the mat, especially when many of our bodies require specific adjustments that only an instructor could help with. I have to wonder, though, is it really all that more unsafe than following along with a yoga instructor on a YouTube video, which lots of us do all the time anyway? If someone did choose to substitute the mat for class, it could make for a lot of money and time saved in the long haul.
The SmartMat isn’t cheap; early contributors on IndieGoGo will get one for $297, and it will ultimately sell for $447. Even with that steep price, if someone were to use it every day instead of commuting to an expensive class, it would pay for itself over time. Of course, worth noting that there’s a reason people haul their asses to yoga studios while it’s still dark out to get there before work – it can be an uplifting group experience, and instructors are there to guide you and make sure things are being done safely. Yoga in a classroom makes for more of a retreat from the busy outside world. A fancy SmartMat can’t replace that! What it can do, though, is offer a way to get some namaste in your life on days when you’re short on time, out of town, or just don’t feel like leaving your apartment. You can even take it to class with you, in an “in-class-assist” mode, or zen mode which silently tracks your progress to be viewed later. I’m sort of thinking about saving up for one of these things. I hope that when it reaches final production, they’ll offer a way for shoppers to test drive it before committing — it’s a pretty big deal to spend almost $500 on something that’s never been tried before! If you think this thing sounds as cool as I do, you can pre-order one or just support the cause on their Indiegogo page.