Yoga on the Wii

I am in the midst of some serious research: I’m testing the yoga segment of the new Wii Fit.

My initial questions include:

1) Can a beginner get a good idea of what yoga is about through the Wii? (yes-ish)
2) Can a beginner seriously harm themselves on the Wii? (And how can that be prevented?) (yes, see “Wii Knees” entry!)
3) Are the poses represented properly? (Warrior is not. I haven’t unlocked enough poses to know about the others.)
4) What modifications / suggestions would be useful for beginners? (learn Tadasana – mountain pose – with active legs, lifted arches and a tucked pelvis. This will help you master the center of gravity.)
5) What should a Wii Yogi expect to be different should they show up to a studio? (that may have to wait for an article)

In addition to industriously opening and unlocking poses so I can review some of the more advanced ones (it terrifies me to think of Wii gamers attempting shoulder stand!), I’m also testing out modifications, alternate poses (e.g. What the Wii calls “Warrior” pose is actually “Warrior 2” in a yoga class. “Warrior 1” is easily substituted using the balance board with a nice effect, and a stretch you don’t really get otherwise….) and compiling safety notes.

Next is to recruit someone to try the yoga poses for me who has never done yoga before so I can see how they interpret the Wii’s instruction without prior understanding or knowledge.

Future explorations:

I’ve actually already been asked for a “Wii Yoga Routine” – one of the Suite 101 writers said her biggest beef with the Wii Fit is that the “trainer” doesn’t suggest a routine to follow, you have to figure that out for yourself as you go. So she requested a yoga sequence using the Wii as a tool. I think I can do this, sprinkling in some of the strength poses that were borrowed from yoga (side plank!) and changing it up a bit (both Warrior one and Warrior two!)

The other thing I’m already making notes on is how to get a better score on your Wii Fit.

Yes, one of the yoga problems with the Wii Fit is that you are rated and ranked in a competetive scoring system for every pose you do. This makes it difficult for people to let go of ego, understand that some days are balanced better than others, or some times one leg is better than the other. This reduces the mindful practice of yoga to mindless competition. Yep, yep and yep.

But face it. Part of the reason people will do Wii fit more than once is because it’s a little competetive. I guarantee that’s what will take Brett back to it (that, and the graphs) and it will be what Ethan likes about it.

So, in the spirit of gaming, I’m going to put together some yogi tricks to improve your wii fit score. ….

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