Why you should care
Because it can stop your Warrior from waning.
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Many Americans have a love-hate relationship with yoga. We love the idea of it, but we hate doing it — well, those of us who don’t know if our Downward-Facing Dog is downward enough do. Like me. In the past 15 years, I have tried to commit to a yoga practice at least a half-dozen times, but I’ve always failed to make it to more than one or two classes.
Enter smart yoga pants, which might just help realign that Toppling Tree. Nadi X pants use five Bluetooth-enabled sensors to determine, in real time, what yoga pose you are in — from beginner to intermediate and advanced poses — and then provide audio instruction via a smartphone app in addition to gentle vibrations at the hips, knees and ankles. If, after several nudges, your alignment still isn’t correct, the app prompts you to look at the screen for positioning assistance.
The more you wear them, they more they understand you and your version of Downward-Facing Dog.
Billie Whitehouse, CEO, Wearable X
The technology incorporates artificial intelligence to help users improve their poses over time. “The more you wear them, they more they understand you and your version of Downward-Facing Dog,” explains Billie Whitehouse, CEO of Wearable X. “It’s not about doing the best yoga but about being the best you.”
The Sydney-born Whitehouse created the pants to make yoga more accessible. “If more people did yoga, the world would be a better place,” says Whitehouse, who now lives in New York City. This attitude is reflected in the whimsical illustrations by artist Anouk Colantoni featured on the pants’ packaging that show a woman attempting challenging poses and going from beginner to guru. The illustrations give the yoga pants a personal touch and bring a sense of humor to the technology, Whitehouse explains.
It took two and a half years for Nadi X to go from ideation to shipment. The biggest change, Whitehouse says, was the switch to flexible sensors (the rigid ones didn’t wash well). Along the way, she brought in more than 50 people to test the pants, ranging from yoga instructors to occasional dabblers. Whitehouse is no stranger to design — she’s been experimenting with chip-enabled clothing since 2013. Her first product? Chip-enabled undies that allowed long-distance lovers to virtually touch each other using an app.
The pants are sleek and comfortable enough to wear while running errands, though I would definitely recommend removing the pulse, which clips into the pants behind the left knee, before leaving the house. They will set you back $179, with the option for a $10 monthly subscription, which includes additional poses (the base app covers 30 poses).
Eventually the app will allow you to use Nadi X at your favorite yoga studio, but for now, the focus is on at-home practice. And Whitehouse hopes to use the technology to do more than just instruct people on yoga poses. She is working on post-surgery and post-injury applications as well as ways athletes could use the pants to improve their form when biking or running.
As for me, while it’s unlikely I’ll ever achieve guru status, the pants did improve my poses and took the guesswork out of practicing yoga at home. I might just keep it up.