There are no two ways around it – Technology is a huge part of our lives. Now, more than ever you have access to a world of information right at your fingertips. While we say that social media and the power of the world wide web connects us – its proving to not be quite that simple.
Here is a mindfulness moment exercise – take out your phone and head over to settings – depending on your phone, select battery or usage and scroll down to the last 24 hours- Now, do your best not to cringe when you see the sheer number of hours you spent on your phone in the last day. Shocking right?
In the last week, have you heard yourself say “I’m so busy”, “I don’t have time”, or declined an invitation because your life is so full? I know I have! My phone on the other hand would prove that I DO have the time, I’m just not using it all wisely.
I feel quite lucky to have little human beings that keep me in the present moment, and also hold me accountable. Recently, my older Daughter has started telling me that I’m, “In phone village” when she sees me logged in and staring at my hand held device. Needless to say, its been an immediate mindful smack that reminds me REAL LIFE is not through the screen of a smartphone. So what was this little exercise for? In so many ways our physical practices and meditations bring awareness to our thoughts and patterns, checking in with how much time (which of course is energy) is being used on social media can keep us accountable to how we use the power of technology that we have been given in this age.
Now, I am not in any way saying that Social Media is bad and you need to rid yourselves of it completely. That is not only unrealistic, but would imply that we are not able to control our impulses and decisions. Your Mind is the most powerful resource available. You can most certainly decide to use media as it is intended and not be a slave to notifications, followers, and the ultra manufactured images you will without a doubt be seeing regularly.
The Yoga world is no exception to this. We’re seeing the super glossy, professional photos of yogis practicing asana in exotic locations, or the edited videos that show the blissful yogini getting out of bed to head to yoga, and we think “Hey, I want THAT” but you know what? Its not REAL either. No one is going to be waiting at your home to record you for your morning practice – Unless you hire them to at least! – So do we completely ignore all the manufactured “enlightenment”? Not if it inspires you to actually get up and practice! Is it important to create a barrier to receive these images and KNOW that it isn’t reality – but marketing? Yes! Its propaganda, and nothing more. Sure, it could create connection in a digital sense, and if it leads you to your mat I’ll go a step further and say it’s a good thing that style of marketing benefits some of us. I know when I started practicing yoga (over a decade ago! That went FAST!) the wallpaper on my desktop was an image of king pigeon pose. It motivated me! Can I still practice that way? Sure, I could force it, but its not my reality anymore.
On the other side of this conversation is the digital content that DOES elevate us. It is there if you look for it. My Teacher Tiaga Prem, (insta handle is @tiagaprem if you’re interested!) holds space every class he teaches on live video platforms of social media. Its such a gift to be able to tune in and listen along from wherever I am. Likewise, many of the Women I admire and am inspired by don’t live anywhere near me – seeing what they’re up to and getting those mindful boosts are so wonderful! The key for me is knowing and recognizing the difference. I keep my home clean for myself and family, I try to keep my digital world clean too. I don’t follow the accounts that create reactions of frustration (which are entirely mine and not the posters responsibility). If I am repeatedly seeing things that create these reactions I unfollow pretty quickly. Its not an “I don’t like you so I’m going to be spiteful” thought, its a mindful decision that is made to keep my mind free and clear.
There is very real science out there that the effects of social media are far reaching into our psyches and experiences here in todays world. While I don’t suggest turning to Google for everything in life, if you’re interested, head over and take a look at some of the studies available (yay for technology making THAT easy!). We can stay connected to real life, while using the tools we have available. We can take ownership of the things we allow into our mental real estate. You get to take the LEAD! If you’ve been struggling with self doubt, feelings of fatigue, stress or anxiety, or just feel you could bring a little more clarity, my invitation to you is this – see if staying unplugged for a day or weekend helps. See if you can notice your tendencies when it comes to scrolling, filtering, and “connecting” through the device. If you aren’t ready to let go of it all entirely, maybe choose one app to delete for 24 hours (I deleted Facebook yesterday!).
And of course, if you’re looking for a place to physically practice and connect with other human beings looking for the same thing – without the smart phone attached – come see us at Seva. We’ll be waiting <3