yoga in a digital world
posted: February 8, 2012
We’re all about honouring our yoga practice but our inner geek is quick to adapt the latest and greatest technologies too. From great yoga apps to cellphones going off during class, Alana shares her Yoga Journal Conference learnings on managing our digital and yoga lives.
yoga and our digital world
After three days of wild and wonderful asana at the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco, I attended a panel called Digital Distractions and Your Practice, where a diverse group of yogis came together to talk about their digital habits. While we were waiting to begin, I shared a photo on Instagram but then sat with my phone in hand for the next hour, fighting the urge several times to slide it open and peek into my digital world.
The day before, a phone began ringing during Elena Brower’s class on Finding Grace. Its owner jumped up and immediately began apologizing but Elena responded calmly: “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s part of the world now.” And just that morning at Janet Stone’s class, we stretched our fingers (along with everything else) in what she jokingly named Textasana.
Clearly, technology is becoming a part of yoga, whether or not you agree that it should be.
tips from the experts on managing your digital life
Be mindful of your breathing as you open your inbox and practice deep breathing. Email apnea occurs when your breath shortens before you open your inbox. – Scott Rosenberg, Grist.org Executive Editor
Don’t use your iPhone as your alarm. If you use your iPhone, you immediately go from sleeping to your digital stream of information with no time in between to wake up in the “real world.” – Congressman Tim Ryan
Meditation > Facebook. The feeling of gratification you get through interactions on a Facebook update could also be achieved through meditation. – Kaitlin Quistgaard, Editor-in-Chief of Yoga Journal and panel moderator
Do one minute of yoga and one minute of mindfulness a day. Why? Because everyone has 60 seconds (and you will likely do more than this naturally). – Gopi Kallayil, Google
All of the panel experts agreed that digital distractions can take you out of your physical body but that embracing technology doesn’t mean it has to rule your life or that you are any less yogic for doing so. In fact, as Gopi pointed out, the very meaning of yoga is “to join”. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (etc) are all ways of connecting with others and extending our worlds out from beyond our screens. The key is to do it mindfully and to be present in your “real” world too.
A great example of technology enabling connection came from panelist Sally Kempton. She holds meditation teleconferences where people dial in from all over the country, just to hold the same space over the phone line together, in silence.
Not checking my phone forced me to be present that day and at the end of the hour I didn’t feel as if I needed to hide it – after all, I had the world-changing possibility of connection with anyone in the world in my hand! That sounds pretty tweetable to me.
Where do you draw the line between your practice and the digital world?