Despite it’s current trendy reputation, the art of yoga is truly ancient. To go ahead and state the obvious, it pre-dates yoga mats and yoga pants and yoga socks and yoga studios. It’s been around since before the Internet and telephones and books.
Before there was Lululemon and yoga instructors and juice bars, there were yogis and yoginis practicing yoga in private, perfecting the art through paying close attention to their bodies, their muscles, their ‘chi’. Despite its low-impact nature, yoga can be a difficult and immensely physical activity, an art of measured, precise movements and positions. As such, it can be difficult to do yoga properly or to progress on your own. Even with the endless videos and podcasts and tutorials, it’s nearly impossible to know if you’re optimizing your yoga session without any feedback on your posture. For that reason, doing yoga at home is a challenge to do well and do consistently.
Fortunately for all the would-be yogis in the crowd, SmartMat is looking to change that.
Through their IndieGoGo crowdfunding project, SmartMat is gathering funds to make the first sensor-equipped responsive yoga mat a reality.
SmartMat will be the world’s first yoga mat capable of gathering workout information and providing feedback. Using pressure sensors placed between the top and bottom layer of the mat, SmartMat will be able to analyze metrics like weight distribution and even a yoga heat map to give you a better idea of the quality of your posture in different positions.
SmartMat works with a companion app that will be able to provide you with feedback when and how you need it. You can choose either a sort of digital private class, with a complete walkthrough and posture feedback throughout; the semi hands-off approach, with feedback provided only when you need it; or no feedback at all until after you’ve finished your workout (for maximum zen, of course).
At time of writing, SmartMat has achieved and exceeded its fundraising goal on IndieGoGo with over $185k in the Zen Coffer. The first tier Early Bird pre-sale perks are sold out, but mats can still be pre-ordered for well under retail price through the IndieGoGo campaign.
SmartMat, a plethora of health and workout-focused wearables and the rise of lifestyle companions through Health Kit provide some encouraging projections for the future of health consciousness and independent fitness. We live in a busy world, one where there isn’t always time to attend a yoga class between commuting, working, taking meetings, and trying to find a moment to take a breath. SmartMat could let us stay active, practice the art of yoga, and progress in our mastery of the positions on our own time from the comfort of our own homes.
Your own private yoga classes with personalized feedback whenever you can find time and wherever you find comfortable, all in one sleek, rollable package? That’s a beautiful thing.