Wii Fit, a new video game from Nintendo, is really causing a stir. I actually haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but I do know that there is a yoga module, which was reviewed recently by Cyndi Lee, founder of Om Yoga. She doesn’t seem to have very good things to say about Wii Fit, at least not with respect to its yoga module, but I am still very intrigued by the idea of a yoga video game.
Yoga DVDs are huge now, but one obvious flaw is that DVDs do not allow for the user to “advance” to more difficult levels, vary the sequencing from session to session, or change the music or style of visual presentation. With a DVD, you pretty much have what’s on the DVD, and that’s it. ‘
With a video game, especially one that is interactive/adaptive, there’s a lot more potential for making each session more personalized. I think this is especially true if the game goes online, and a live yoga teacher/advisor can help give advice, answer questions, offer encouragement, etc. I can even imagine a whole group of people taking a virtual yoga class together, each person in his/her own room, meeting online via the Wii at some specified time for “class” with a live (or virtual) teacher.
Of course, a live yoga class in a studio will always reign supreme, but a yoga video game might do a lot to bring yoga to people who can’t afford yoga classes, who might not be ready to venture out to a studio, or who live in places where it’s difficult to find a good yoga class. It doesn’t sound like Wii Fit has done full justice to all the possibilities of a yoga video game, but by simply introducing the Wii Fit, Nintendo is changing the way people think about video games, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before we see “Wii Yoga with Shiva Rea”.