I’m staying with my older brother and his darling wife this week for the family Xmas get-together. They have more video games than God, and one of those systems is the Wii Fit!
I’ve only played a Wii once, and that was the cooking game where you have to turn and shake the controller to crack eggs or saute veggies or roll out ravioli. The Wii Fit has a floor panel that you step on, which measures your balance both left/right and front/back. It’s only about 15″ x 20″, so you’re limited to basic standing poses. In Warrior II you have only the front foot on the panel; in Down Dog you have just your hands on the panel.
The poses are offered individually, not in sequences, like a Hatha class. You mimic the trainer guy or girl on screen, and try to synchronize your breathing to a circle that expands or contracts. (Unfortunately the breathing circle doesn’t really match up with the movements in the pose.) There’s also a little balance indicator — a dot within a circle — that you try and keep centered by centering your weight.
It’s super interesting to see where your balance actually lies. In the last few months I’ve realized that my left leg and arm are noticably weaker than my right, and the Wii Fit agreed — I consistently had my weight around 52% on the right side, 48% on the left, even after watching the dial and trying to fix my imbalance. If there was a full-size yoga mat with balance sensors, that would be REALLY interesting.
Of course the game is totally different than a real yoga practice; it actually made me MORE tense because once I hit my mark, I didn’t want to move or breathe and lose points. The pose alignments are also weird; in Warrior II the demo guy has his front knee in front of his ankle, which is not generally regarded as safe for beginners. But the balance info is really cool. And the Wii system is really designed for sedentary people, so it’s definitely a good way to get off the couch. Where else can you alternate yoga with slalom skiing and hula hooping?
Note: I’ll be back home on New Year’s Eve, posting for the New Year!