Now, a rating for your asana


A new study and method developed by the IISc tells you how perfect your asana is


If you have been in a yoga class, your teacher will watch you get into an asana and straighten your back, tilt your torso, elongate the stretch, correct the position of your feet, ask you to draw your body up like an imaginary string were pulling it… Sounds familiar? Now, a hand-held device could be telling you if your Vrikshasana is right or not. Or if your downward dog is good enough.

It’s long been established that yoga benefits the body, mind and soul. But for those who want proof with numbers, here is a study and a method that evaluates the efficacy of yoga while also indicating if the asana has been performed correctly or not.

Dr S N Omkar, a yoga teacher and also the chief research scientist of the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) told Bangalore Mirror that through this study they have established a framework to analyse the muscle activity in any posture.



“We wanted to check whether muscle activity can be detected and a well-known methodology to do so is by mounting a surface EMG (Surface Electrom­yography) to measure the muscle activity,” Omkar said. This will quantify how perfect the asana is in terms of stability and steadiness.

The sEMG signals will measure the electrical activity of muscle at rest and while performing the asana. To measure the electrical activity, one or many electrodes are placed on different parts of the skin above the muscles.

This study was done as part of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (STYAM) programme by Omkar and Dr Ramesh D V, associate professor, Ramaiah Medical College

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Omkar further said that apart from helping the yoga practitioner to perfect his asanas it will also help in standardisation and provide more insights to the medical practitioner.

“There are two things which emerge from this research. One is a standard way of defining the posture. Two, you can classify the asanas in terms of muscle activity and intensity,” said Omkar.

When asked if they would be developing an App in the future, Omkar said that once a database is developed an App is being planned. “Now we have to develop the database. Once this is completely matured, then we will think of an app. Once we make an app, the user can look at the posture which will give all the details of the movements involved,” he said.

Sixty men and women between 21 and 60 participated in the study. The participants were first trained to perform a set of asanas like Trikonasana, Vrikshasana, Veerabhadrasana-1, Veerabhadrasana-2, Veerabha­dra­sana-3, and Parsvakonasana.

The data was collected in the final 20 seconds of the pose when each participant was relaxed and breathing normally. Both experts and novices were tested using the method and sEMGs. The study has been published in the ‘International Journal of Yoga’.

This technology will help practitioners perform yoga in the right way to derive its maximum benefits. The STYAM programme of DST supported sixteen projects in the year 2018-19. These projects will explore the effects of yoga and meditation on diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, motor function, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy,

drug addiction and mild cognitive impairment.



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Sagar Biswas

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