This past Friday I tried Wii Fit for the first time. My friend Stephanie, previously mentioned in this post, has a Wii and offered it up for our post-dinner entertainment. I was eager to try the Yoga section – I am always way behind in trying new technology, so it’s no surprise that practically everyone in the world did the Wii version of Tree Pose before I did.
The first thing I did on Wii Fit was enter my height. The Wii balance board weighed me, and immediately pronounced me overweight. In flashing red text. On a bar graph.
Thanks a lot, Wii, I don’t remember asking you for your opinion. *glare*
So after the Wii was finished insulting me (or so I thought), we moved on to the yoga part. It’s not in a class format, so the poses aren’t linked together in any way, you just select which ones you want to do. Your trainer shows you how to do the pose, then you do them together. Some of them use the balance board, but some of them you just do on the floor.
The most interesting thing about the whole experience was the emphasis the game (because that’s what it is, in my opinion) puts on balance. The balance board is a sensitive, amazing tool that can detect incredibly slight shifts in balance. It depicts your balance on screen as a red dot, and gives you a goal range to keep it in (a yellow circle, a blue rectangle, etc). The more balanced you are, the more still and focused your dot will be.
It’s a really great way to help beginners turn their awareness to the four corners of their feet. They also have balance games, which I’m not as good at. I’m better at holding my balance than using it to shift slightly and “steer” in the balance games, but they’re fun nonetheless.
The first couple of poses I did, I didn’t really get what I was trying to do, and the Wii declared me a “Yoga Newcomer”. With the “overweight” still ringing in my ears, of course I couldn’t stand for that. I had to kick it into high gear.
After a while I got the hang of it, but I never reached the coveted “four star” rank. I did end up earning the “Yoga Trainer” title (three stars), so I guess that’s good enough!
I enjoyed the Wii version of yoga because it was really cool to see a visual depiction of my center of balance, but I also think there a couple of serious flaws with the thing. First of all, I don’t know that the balance it has you strive toward in the postures is always correct. I admit that my down dog might not be perfect, but in order to find the right posture according to the game, I had to come halfway into plank pose. It was awkward.
Also, some of the poses they offer are really advanced. Their “triangle” is actually revolved triangle, which is tough (especially after two Friday night cocktails). It’s crazy to think a “Yoga Newcomer” could actually come into revolved triangle as quickly and easily as the strangely colorless Wii trainer coaches us to.
All in all, I think the Wii Fit yoga is a cool introduction to yoga for someone who knows nothing about it. At times, it sets impossibly high standards, and it certainly can’t replace a knowledgeable teacher. But if it gets people interested, then I’m not going to complain. : )