When we got the Xbox 360 with Kinect, I never dreamed that a month later, I’d be standing in front of the sensor directly behind my mother, gently supporting her as she tries to do some yoga.
That might not seem so impressive, but… trust me, it is.
See, 18 months ago my mother had a pneumonia so severe that it caused a hypoxia-related brain injury that nearly killed her. When she got out of the hospital, she ended up moving in with us. She did well, for a time, but once her physical therapy ended she became somewhat unstable on her feet and began having occasional falls.
Until about a month ago, when she fell twice in a row, and ended up spending another month in the hospital and then a rehab facility.
She came home about a week ago, and she’s fragile. But she’s also suffering horribly from Restless Leg Syndrome (evidence of an evolutionary flaw, in my opinion) and one of the best cures for it is exercise.
One of the Kinect games we have is Your Shape, and there’s a section in it that offers great simple standing yoga routines. They are short, only about seven minutes long, which is just the perfect length of time that my mom can comfortably stand up. Using a couple of chairs and her rollator as support, she can do her best to mimic the poses. One of the best features of the Kinect Your Shape game is that the Kinect tells you when you are correctly positioned; she loves the guidance it provides, and feel reassured that she’s not a complete loser when she can’t quite get there yet.
Once the session is up, she’s tired, but her legs are less restless and she gets a bit of peace.
My dream is that, eventually, she and I will be able to do a full yoga session of an hour long, together, and she will feel the kind of centered strength that yoga can provide. But for right now, the seven minute sessions on this Kinect game are perfect. And they are helping her get better.
I’m very grateful. Thanks, Xbox.
PS: This only scratches the surface of what I do with the Xbox, and doesn’t mention how incredibly awesome it is to control things with my phone using the SmartGlass app, or the movies and shows I stream with Netflix, or how obsessed Tori is with Dance Central – but this is what was on my mind today.