by Mark Atherton, E-RYT® 200
Technology and I endure a love hate relationship. It’s been around two weeks since I returned from New Zealand. For 16 days my devices remained off, disconnected from service. Silence was everywhere. My mind wasn’t drawn to the buzzing of my phone or ping of a new email. I loved my simple morning ritual of a cup of tea watching the sun rise, walks after meals, and uninterrupted conversations.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had been disconnected from technology. Disconnected from screens but utterly connected to my surroundings. Since my return I have found myself craving technology free moments, meditating more and leaving my phone at home. My yoga practice feels like an oasis of calm and quiet.
The effect of chronic tech use on our physiology is rather astounding. This article from 2015 discusses in depth the effects of technology on our neurological system. Besides the obvious stress we can feel from this never ending connection, physiologically there are invisible repercussions from these external stressors. By switching from task to task in rapid succession we are taxing our brains and as a result can feel fatigue.
This is where yoga becomes such a phenomenal tool. It’s not possible for most of us to live in a retreat centre (as much as I would love too!), so it’s important to find these tech free moments in our day to day lives. Built in to yoga practice is ‘time out’ from technology. What we offer our students as yoga teachers is pretty revolutionary. We create for students an hour or more of space to be with themselves. For many this may be their only waking time in the week when they are free from devices.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. Thanks to my smartphone I’m able to download and create a playlist for a class moments before I teach, I can connect with students and co-workers and am able find guided meditations at the drop of a hat. There are so many incredible tasks we can accomplish with these devices. It all comes down to balance, balancing newer technology with the ancient technology of yoga.
Do you find it easy to make technology free space in your day?