Wii Fit Coda

WiifitbmiIn my prior post on the Wii Fit, I forgot to mention that it comes with a yoga component. Two video teachers (male or female, take your pick) instruct you in various poses. When it’s your turn, the Wii Fit measures your body movements and center of gravity. If you’re not stock still and precisely balanced in your center line (rather than forward, back, right, or left), a graphic image shows your wavering, wobbling, and off-the-radar position.

I reiterate: It’s impossible to visualize unless you see it in action. You essentially see a yellow circle onscreen with a red dot in the center. You’re the red dot. Perfection means maintaining a bulls-eye position in the center of the circle.

Imagine doing vrksasana (tree pose) and being perfectly still and balanced in your absolute center.

Or imagine simply standing in tadasana. Do you think your red dot would be glued to the bulls-eye?

I was surprised to find my red dot shimmying like a madman. Actually I am quite adept at balance poses, always able to hold vrksasana without falling, even practicing “blind” balance (standing on one foot with my eyes closed). But I am always slightly moving. Slightly swaying, slightly correcting, trying to find my perfect pose.

So I found the Wii Fit measure of success (be stock still and smack-dab centered like a statue) to be annoying.

To me, an Iyengar practitioner, holding an asana by definition entails movement. Some say that Iyengar students need at least a minute in a pose to “find” it. Once, during a workshop taught by Ramanand Patel, we were doing supta padangusthasana. Patel asked us why, even after we’ve stretched to maximum, we can go further 20 or 30 seconds later. The answer was that we’re always fatiguing and then correcting ourselves, returning to that maximum stretch. It is humanly impossible to be totally motionless. If you are, your pose is probably lazy and misaligned. (We’ve all seen folks balancing in a banana-shaped adho mukha vrksasana (handstand).)

That said, the Wii Fit did reveal my tendency (read: bad habit) to stand more on my left foot. (The machine actually measures the percentage of weight borne on each foot.) Watch yourself in the checkout line: Are you standing in that typical, laidback, American stance, on one leg, hips cocked?

The Wii Fit called me on it!

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