How Siri is this? A yoga mat that talks to you – CNET

How Siri is this? A yoga mat that talks to you – CNET

It looks like an ordinary yoga mat, but SmartMat talks to you and even gives you a score at the end. So very of today. SmartMat/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Today marks the Indiegogo campaign launch of the SmartMat. You thought that every single household object and sporting device had already been injected with smartness? Not the yoga mat. Or, at least, not with this much smartness.

SmartMat claims to be “the first comprehensive, portable, AI yoga mat, fit with Bluetooth pressure sensors that track yogis’ alignment/balance and offer real time adjustments seamlessly via SmartMat’s corresponding app for iOS and Android.”

We could all do with real-time adjustment. But are we ready to be get down on our yoga mat, in some tiny corner of our New York garret, and listen to a lady’s dulcet diction discuss our “downward dog?” (This thing hooks up to your phone or tablet.)

SmartMat’s founder Neyma Jahan believes he and his engineers have exercised mind over mat.

He explained: “We built SmartMat because we wanted a way to receive personalized yoga instruction without having to go to an outside class or hire a private teacher. SmartMat synchs with and analyzes each user via a unique calibration process, providing the kind of custom biofeedback once exclusive to private lessons.”

But, wait, I said to Jahan. Doesn’t he fear that yoga teachers will launch staunch, perfectly postured protests?

His answer was predictably serene: “The reception from the yoga community has been amazing. Most yoga practitioners and teachers are excited for a tool that can act as a complementary guide to their practice that helps people deepen their alignment and get closer to their bodies.”

In either case, engineering wins and and he’s proud of SmartMat’s design. He said his engineers had trained the AI by reverse learning.

He told me: “We put 20 SmartMats down in a studio and had a teacher lead a class with people of different abilities and body types. As they do each pose, our engineer records that pose and also records that this is how x, y, z body type/ability performs that pose. This adds to our pose recognition database so the computer can establish a baseline for exactly what a downward dog looks like.”

He got his team together after he began to learn yoga on a Wii and wanted to have something more sophisticated to guide his body at home. Now he’s offering the SmartMat for $247 (a limited offering) and $297 (the standard price).

This is not, he insists, a one-size-fits-all. Instead, it’s able to calibrate to the quirky little package the good Lord gave you in order to be your perfect individual guide.

Still, though, I worry about one more piece of technology trampling all over a sacred human pursuit.

Jahan soothed my temples. He said: “In the original ‘yoga,’ the physical movement aspects was some guy doing shoulder stands in a loincloth to get a break from long hours of meditation. If you showed that guy packed studios with 50 people packed in sweating to music, he would think that is great, but probably would not associate it with his ‘yoga.’”

I wonder, though, how many angry yoga teachers watching their businesses erode like humanity’s other-directedness. Will they adopt the mountain pose and execute a high lunge toward Jahan? I hope he’s well insured.

How Siri is this? A yoga mat that talks to you – CNET.

Source: How Siri is this? A yoga mat that talks to you – CNET

Medicament levitra 20 mg Yoga improves balance and mobility for older people | Reuters

(Reuters Health) – Yoga-based exercise programs can improve mobility among people over age 60 and possibly help prevent falls by improving balance, according to a new review of existing research.


“These results are exciting but not particularly surprising since there is evidence from other research that similar types of exercise programs, Tai Chi, for example, can improve balance and mobility in older people,” said senior author Anne Tiedemann of the George Institute for Global Health at Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, in Australia.


“What is exciting about the results is that significant improvements occurred in balance and mobility as a result of relatively short programs of yoga – the average number of hours offered was 20 hours,” Tiedemann told Reuters Health by email.


The researchers analyzed six trials, with a total of about 300 participants, looking at the effect of physical yoga on balance among men and women age 60 and older.


Five trials included people living in the community while the sixth included people in residential aged-care settings.


Some did not specify the style of yoga tested, but all utilized a certified yoga instructor and props such as blankets, chairs, blocks, pillows, straps and mats. Programs tended to include 60 to 90 minutes of yoga once or twice weekly for a total of two to six months.


Participants attended about 82 percent of classes, which is a high attendance rate compared to many other programs, Tiedemann noted.


Overall, yoga was linked to a small improvement in balance and a medium improvement in mobility – such as walking speed and how easily a person can get out of a chair – though the review authors were especially interested in the effects on balance.


To train balance, you need to undertake activities that challenge your balance and to perform these activities a standing position, Tiedemann said.


Three trials reported minor adverse events during yoga, like knee pain, low back pain or minor muscle strains, according to the report in Age and Ageing.


The researchers did not measure subsequent health events or falls after the yoga trials, so could not conclude that yoga reduces the risk of falls. Further research should investigate this question, the authors note.


Balance and mobility decline with age and the risk of falling increases significantly after the age of 65, Tiedemann said.


In previous research, she found that older people who are unable to quickly stand up from a seated position without using their arms for assistance are about twice as likely to fall in the next year as older people who can perform this task quickly.


“So reduced balance and mobility are linked to falls as well as loss of independence and lower quality of life in older age,” Tiedemann said. “It’s interesting to note that balance and mobility can be trained and improved at any age – it’s never too late to start.”


It’s hard to say whether yoga improves standing or walking balance, and we can’t always tell if these will have any effect on falls, which is the real problem, said Pamela Jeter, a yoga expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, who was not part of the review.


“Balance is regulated by several systems in the body and I believe we need to understand where the deficit is coming from before we can target the intervention,” Jeter told Reuters Health by email. “Yoga is great as a therapeutic approach because it can be modified to the individual need or individual balance deficit.”


Psychological anxiety or fear of falling can also increase the risk, beyond just physical weakness, and the mindfulness component of yoga may be beneficial psychologically, she said.


“We would recommend that older people who are healthy enough to take part in regular physical activity could join a yoga class run by a yoga instructor who has experience with teaching older people,” Tiedemann said. “The type of yoga should be that which focuses on standing balance postures rather than relaxation/ meditation as the focus.”


Those with medical conditions that preclude exercise should consult a doctor before starting a yoga program, she said.


SOURCE: Age and Ageing, online December 25, 2015.

Yoga improves balance and mobility for older people | Reuters.

Source: Yoga improves balance and mobility for older people | Reuters

Zap your way to to Zen with vibrating yoga pants – CNET

Zap your way to to Zen with vibrating yoga pants – CNET

I know nothing about these trousers but I think this is the most ridiculous yoga idea I’ve heard and that’s saying something. Send me a pair to road test please, anyone from Wearable Experiments….

Using vibrating sensors, Nadi pants try to guide you into the correct position for the perfect yoga pose.

Wearable Experiments

Taking a yoga class for the first time can be intimidating, and learning the correct form for yoga positions while breathing properly is harder than it sounds.

Fashion tech company Wearable Experiments hopes to take the guesswork out of doing the perfect downward facing dog with its Nadi smart fitness pants.

The pants release gentle haptic vibrations throughout the fabric to guide the wearer to the correct form and posture for yoga poses.

The Nadi pants have a companion app to show the areas on the body that need to be adjusted. The frequency and intensity of each vibration alters with body angle and position. The correct poses are also shown within the app.

It’s unclear how gentle the pants are when zapping your legs into the right positions to attain yoga enlightenment. Here’s hoping the vibrations aren’t too intense.

“As someone who doesn’t always know the correct form or alignment in poses, I find having that proper guidance is crucial,” Billie Whitehouse, co-­founder and CEO of Wearable Experiments, said Monday in a statement. “As a lifestyle product, Nadi not only acts as that guide, but also integrates into your everyday life ­ reminding you of something as simple as uncrossing your legs while sitting down.”

The app will be available for Apple iOS and Google Android devices later this year. No word yet on sizes, styles or price.

Vibrating yoga pants aren’t the only fashion-forward gear from Wearable Experiments. In 2013, the company developed the Navigate Jacket to guide you around a city via an accompanying phone app that stores destinations and directions. You type in an address, and the jacket’s built-in sensors tap you on the shoulder when you should change direction.

Last year, the company created the Foxtel Alert Shirt that allows wearers to feel the same sensations as their favorite athlete. When you select which team or athlete you’ll be watching, you can feel sensations like heart rate. Real-time sports data is transmitted to the app and then to the electronics within the jersey.

Zap your way to to Zen with vibrating yoga pants – CNET.

Source: Zap your way to to Zen with vibrating yoga pants – CNET