Disconnection. It can have more than one meaning, can’t it?
One can be a positive: disconnecting from technology and work in order to enjoy spending time with the people we love. The negative is the opposite: feeling disconnected from the people around us, because we are in a constant state of ‘busyness’, finding ourselves becoming more insular and separate.
Our yoga practise can bring us back to our mats, back to ourselves, back to re-connect with the real life people around us.
Recently, I read a book about digitally detoxing: The Essential Digital Detox Plan by Orianna Fielding-Banks https://www.amazon.co.uk/Essential-Digital-Detox-Plan/dp/1780979053/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1494321358&sr=8-3&keywords=digital+detox
In it, the author refers to the position we have now found ourselves in of being permanently ‘switched on’; available night and day to answer emails, chat to virtual, online friends, and work, work, work. Often, at the detriment of the real-life relationships we are neglecting.
Since reading, I have been trying to incorporate ideas into my life which allow me to switch off, mentally and metaphorically, from the digital clutter that can threaten to fill our lives. Here are some ideas:
- Try a period of ‘letting go’, for example, ‘Unplugged Saturdays’, or deleting apps from Smartphones and putting them back on if you really find them necessary. Often, we turn to scrolling through social media as simply a habit. Try downloading one of The Minimalists wallpaper screensavers as a reminder of what you are trying to achieve: http://www.theminimalists.com/?s=wallpaper
- When with family members or friends, make a conscious effort to unplug, leave the Smartphone in another room, focus on whoever you are spending time with, listening to them and giving them your full attention. You may not be able to convince your whole family or group of friends to do this, but your actions are likely to have a positive effect. Lead by example.
- Remember that when we do receive a notification, update, email, etc, we don’t have to actually deal with this immediately. Practise pausing, taking a breath, controlling the urge to jump to the tune of your devices.
- In her book, Orianna Fielding-Banks suggests asking yourself: If this were your last day on Earth, would you want to spend it scrolling through Facebook or Twitter? Looking at pictures of other people’s lunch on Instagram, or answering countless emails? My guess is no. Take your lead from this.
The truth is, although we often complain about the impact our addictions to digital technology has over our time, if we’re honest, we can see that it is sometimes used as an avoidance technique. These constant distractions can be used to avoid being with ourselves, being alone with our thoughts and quietness. This week’s Yoga pose then, Easy Pose, is a way to reconnect with that inner self that we may be avoiding, for whatever reasons.
The Pose: Come to a seated position, back straight, legs gently crossed in front of the body. If you struggle to maintain a straight back, either sit against a wall, or raised on a cushion or Yoga block. Eyes can be open or closed, but closing them often helps us to focus. Hands rest either palms up, facing the sky, or down, touching the knees. Begin to concentrate simply on breathing, inhalations and exhalations through the nose. If it helps, breathe in for a mental count of four, hold the breath for one second at the top, then out again through the nose for four. The moment when the breath is held at the top is thought to represent bliss, peace, the ultimate release.
Try to aim to do this for a few minutes each day, to simply ‘be’ with yourself, allowing thoughts to come and go. And of course – ensure you remove any digital distractions from the room in which you practise!
Until next time,
Kate (the Yorkshire Yogini)