AI-assisted Yoga

“Bixby, I want to practice Vinyasa flow today.”

“Bixby, I’m feeling a bit stiff, let’s try some Yin yoga stretch.”

“Bixby, tell me the third precepts of Niyama?”

“Bixby, can you play some music for meditatition?”

These are just some the questions or instructions that human can tell to the android AI assistant through speech-recognition to create a sequence for vinyasa flow, changing yoga style from flow to any yoga style desired and getting a reminder of what we should observe in our daily moral practice by Patanjali’s first limb of Yama in the Yoga Sutra and to playback dedicated music for specific mode of practice. It can guide us on doing pranayama as well as meditation. It might even be able to teach us Sanskrit, for example “Shiram sushma asanas” and tell us thousands of captivating stories from the Vedas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding in all areas from financial analysis, stock trading, medical diagnosis, transportation, creative are such as arts and music and many more. It is inevitable that AI will also converge at one point with the discipline of yoga one day. In my opinion, to resist the advance of AI into yoga practice is futile and I would be more open-minded to accept what it can offer in a positive manner. 

AI will help us to learn and progress faster since it is like an encyclopaedia contains vast knowledge available in the world about yoga aspects. Not only it can give us the answers directly but will also be able to suggest smart variations base on the level of the person in yaga, tailor each practice by taking into consideration of individual body conditions, injuries, medical history and customise total duration of each session. Sequencing poses to poses with harmony, giving precise and clear instructions of getting in and out of the pose, at the same time calibrating the breathing counts depending on the preferred styles (Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin and so on) that you choose. It will also sing us the soothing and relaxing yoga nidra towards the end of the practice when we are lying down in Savasana pose.

It seems to look all very pretty what AI can do but there is also some area where AI can still not be able to replace human in terms of human touch – adjustment. For example, we could be doing a headstand but AI can’t hold us up and help to keep us balancing without falling. It won’t be able to align if your hips are not squared when holding in Trikonasana or giving your the extra gentle push when you need a little weight when bending forward in Upavistha Konasana unless the technology is advanced enough for a humanoid robot to be fitted with AI and can move like a human to give us that assistant. AI won’t be able to know whether we have reach Samadhi and are union with our consciousness. As much helpful as a guide and a database of knowledge, AI has it’s limitation. It will be many more years for the ultimate evolution of AI to materialise. At least, I don’t foresee that to be happening anytime soon and thankfully we, the yoga teachers can still keep our job for a little while.