Teaching Digitized Yoga

Today, the yoga community’s focus is on a secular practice to push an individual’s body to its limits in the form of the bendiest, most flexible poses. Pop culture has produced many new and inviting yoga classes such as Broga, Hot Yoga, and Acrobatic Yoga. The physical benefits including general fitness, injury prevention, and cross training are the more obvious. Less obvious are the effects on mental health of yoga including stress relief, relaxation, a calming of the mind, and developing a community through the yoga world. For these reasons, I want to become a yoga teacher to spread the proper techniques to achieve the most benefits from this practice.

The Process: Successes and Failures
For this project, I taught two short yoga classes: the first to my mother and the second to two friends at school. I recorded and compiled these into a preview:

The Glass performed much better than I had initially expected. During Thanksgiving break, I used the Glass to film my mother practicing yoga while I instructed her. I ran into some trouble actually getting used to the equipment in terms of taking the videos and sharing them because the Glass wouldn’t connect to internet and I didn’t know that I could upload them directly to my computer. Another obstacle that I had not predicted was that the lens in the Glass pertains to my right eye, which is extremely nearsighted. So when I first used the Glass, I could not read the images on the screen. My thick framed glasses did not really fit underneath the Glass, but I managed to make it work. Ideally, I would have had contacts. I also found myself being very stiff in an attempt to steady the lens and make sure it was pointing directly at my mom so that I wasn’t focusing as much on my teaching.

However, the second time around, when I taught my friends during finals week, knowing the obstacles I might face, I was prepared. This second time, my footage was much more personally helpful because I was more focused on the teaching so when I re-watched it, I could learn from my own errors. The videos were very good quality and surprising not shaky at all.

I also used the structure sensor to make 3D models of my mom in the downward dog, one of the most common yoga poses:

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 4.06.30 PM

The downward dog is also one of the most common poses that people practice incorrectly, which can lead to pulling a hamstring or straining the muscles in the back and shoulders. Using 3D models to demonstrate an improper technique versus a proper one is very helpful because it shows every angle and position of a pose so that someone could recreate it properly.

This project could potentially have a very important impact in the yoga community. For over five thousand years, yoga was practiced and spread through oral traditions. It was generally not taught to a public audience but instead from one teacher to one or two students. Within the last thirty years, as it became popularized in western culture, many new practitioners have picked it up on a whim. In an increasingly digital world, people find yoga videos online and learn on their own. However, certain poses can be dangerous if not performed correctly. Therefore, it is generally safer to have an instructor who can monitor these things, or at least some kind of online Yoga database showing proper alignment models and example videos, which I envision could be achieved using Google Glass videos and 3D models, both digitally and 3D printed.

The Google Glass, if used by many or all yoga teachers, would enable teachers to upload their classes online to be accessed at any time for faster improvement in students or for students who cannot afford or attend a particular class. The Yoga Alliance, a prestigious association of registered Yoga Teachers that offers certifications, could make these videos available online to the public. They could also film teacher training courses such as the one that I am taking now and offer online certification programs. The Glass would also be helpful for aspiring teachers to observe themselves and listen to their pacing to adjust their speech. Furthermore, the GPS function on the Glass could help students locate studios near them with suitable teachers for their level. The map could also help teachers find potential places to hold workshops. By saving the locations where they taught before, teachers could keep a log of their travels and document the progress of the students in a particular region.

The 3D models taken by the structure sensor can be uploaded into an online database so that people who access it can view the image from all angles. This would be an easy and effective way to illustrate still images such as balancing techniques and standing poses. The physiology and anatomy is extremely important in yoga; therefore, it is essential that new students do not practice with poor alignment. The 3D models could also be printed into portable figurines for teachers to take with them to class. They would be a useful portable and compact visual aid for students.




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