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6 best smart mats and equipment for yoga

At first blush, yoga and technology might be two very disparate things. Yoga is about listening to your body, freeing your mind, and relaxing your inner being while strengthening your outside appearance. Technology is all about connection, doing things faster, better, and more productively. So, is it possible for yoga and technology to not just coexist, but to complement each other? As you’ll see from some advancements in yoga tech, the answer seems to be yes.

Yoga tech is still a growing field, and the pool isn’t too deep when it comes to technology, equipment, and accessories that can help improve your practice. There are plenty of great yoga apps out there that you can use for guided sessions, but here is a roundup of some of the best of unions of tech and equipment for a mindful practice.

The best at a glance

YogiFi smart mat
Liform
Upright Go 2
Pivot Connected Yoga Clothing
Muse 2 Brain Sensing Headband

YogiFi Smart Yoga Mat

YogiFi Smart Mat with app.

Another connected yoga mat, YogiFi claims it can help you learn new postures using Artificial Intelligence to track your motions and make suggestions to improve posture. The YogiFi system will even send you a post-session report on your performance — not that you’re competing against anyone but yourself in yoga, right?

Alongside a companion app, YogiFi’s mat will generate corrections to your poses and take you through guided sessions. You will need to have your phone or tablet right in front of you, so you can see what’s going on (or try airplaying it on a larger screen).

Liforme Yoga Mat

The Liforme yoga mat ready for action.

You could call Liforme yoga mats the lowest-tech option of the bunch, but hear us out. Liforme uses a lot of knowledge (chakras, anyone?) and aims to harness the power of your mind to improve your yoga sessions. With unique alignment lines printed directly on the mat, it’s a low-tech way to maintain your form. The “intelligent markers” printed on the mat are there to be a DIY resource — use them as much or as little as you need.

Liforme mats are also designed to be non-slip, PVC-free, and will actually biodegrade within 1-5 years in normal landfill conditions. How’s that for giving back to the planet?

Upright Go 2

Upright go being worn using adhesive on the back.

Form and posture in yoga is important, yes, but it’s also key for those of us who sit a lot or work on our feet. Poor posture can not only make you look like there’s a hunch in your back, but it can affect your muscles, joints, and contribute to long-term health problems. Good posture in daily life contributes to strong posture when practicing yoga, too.

Bad posture is something we’re all guilty of, mainly because we don’t realize we’re doing it. Upright Pose has created the Upright Go 2 and a few other similar devices to combat the problem. These products will alert you when you start to lean.

The thumb-sized device can be stuck to your skin with the gentle adhesive, or use the lanyard option. If it detects you curling over, it vibrates gently to let you know to straighten up.

Pivot connected yoga clothing

Pivot connected yoga clothing.

Part of the fun of starting a new fitness ritual is getting new duds to make you look your best while you’re working out. With Pivot connected yoga leggings, these pants are both a fashion choice and a workout monitor, too.

Pivot Yoga works by wearing special clothes that have sensors sewn inside. These sensors tell the Pivot app wirelessly the exact position of your body. Get dressed and choose a Pivot Yoga class to take. There are options, from on-demand classes where you can watch yourself practice alongside a video of your teacher to a class with other students that’s led live by an instructor. Either way, feedback on your pose is always just a question away, promises Pivot. The company’s site doesn’t really explain exactly how wearing its clothes provides the feedback, so we’ll reserve judgement for a possible future review.

Muse 2 Brain Sensing Headband

Meditating with the Muse 2 headband and app.

Sometimes we all need to chill out, but how can you quiet your brain? With meditation, naturally, which is often a key component of any yoga session cool-down.

Muse 2 is a multi-sensor meditation device that provides real-time feedback on your brain activity, heart rate, breathing, and body movements to help you build a consistent meditation practice.

With Muse, you put on the headset, which looks a little like a prop from Star Trek, then put on one of the company’s guided meditations, close your eyes, and let your mind follow along. Soft sound tones will help you calm your breath and focus your mind on that calming breath. After a session, you should feel oxygenated and refreshed.

Yoga has always been ideal for looking inward and restoring calm to your brain and heart. While you don’t need an armful of wearables or a net of wires and sensors hanging off you during your practice, there are several great ways to let technology improve your posture and poses. Whether you’re all solo Warrior I at home in the living room or doing small sessions online, take some of the newest yoga technology out for a spin.

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