Can technology help us be a better Yogi?




When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2020, the fitness industry faced many challenges. As lock-downs started to take place all over the world, gyms and yoga studios started to close down, people started losing their jobs. It forced us to find novel and creative ways to tackle these new problems. At-home workouts and virtual classes started to become the norm, drastically transforming the fitness industry. But the innovation does not stop there, we will see more change in the fitness space, brought through the collaboration between human instructors and Artificial Intelligence programs in the coming future.


But what does all this have to do with your Yoga practice? To understand that we first need to talk about the importance of correct posture in yoga.


THE IMPORTANCE OF POSTURE IN YOGA




For most people, yoga is all about postures or Asanas. Different kinds of poses are what come to mind when one thinks about yoga. While Asanas or Yoga poses are not all there is to yoga, it surely is a major part of it. Each Yoga pose is unique and serves a particular purpose.


A lot of people who perform yoga asanas incorrectly, fail to get the complete benefits from their yoga practice, or may even harm themselves. That is why it is very important to have the correct posture and an instructor to guide you through the asanas when you’re beginning to learn yoga.


Proper alignment is necessary for preventing injuries and maximizing the benefits of performing asanas. For example, misalignment of the spine or putting all of one’s weight onto the standing leg when the knee is hyper-extended can cause problems that can get compounded with regular practice.


Even a subtle correction in alignment can make the difference between significant health improvement and chronic health problems. This is where AI comes in…


THE PROMISES OF MACHINE LEARNING




Machine Learning is a field of Artificial Intelligence that enables self-learning from data and then applies that learning without the need for human intervention. Today machine learning is helping solve complex problems in every industry. Let us take an example that concerns us.


Office workers are prone to a sedentary lifestyle and prolonged static sitting, but that's not all, most of these people also have terrible sitting postures. This is causing musculoskeletal disorders such as chronic lower back pain and other complications on a large scale. This problem is being effectively being dealt with by programs that use different machine learning methods such as Neural Networks and Random Forests to create posture detection and posture correction systems. The use of such novel approaches for the accurate assessment of sitting postures and offers insights into the relationship between sitting posture and musculoskeletal disorders.


Virtual Yoga classes can take help from machine learning and computer vision technologies that are able to evaluate vector the geometry of your posture. Doing that will aid you and your instructor in correcting your posture when it goes wrong and provide useful feedback. This is how AI holds the promise of making us better at our postures in Yoga Poses at-home.