Be honest – what’s the first thing you do when you leave the tranquility of your yoga class? If you said check your phone, you’re not alone. At one time, we’re all guilty of this bliss breaking habit.
If you think about what your smart phone symbolises, what it holds, what it can do, the reach it has then everytime you pick up your phone within seconds of leaving the mat, you’re telling yourself that it’s IMPERATIVE that you connect back into that world.
The hour or two that you are in a yoga class is a dedication to the self. It’s a time when you are saying ‘yes self, I am giving you my all right now – all my focus, attention and effort’. And then we leave class and abruptedly retract that dedication via our actions.
Consider the benefits of holding that peace and stillness achieved in class or practise if it were to extend into every area of your life and not just for those minutes you spend on the mat. Imagine the richness that would permeate your job, time with family and friends and even your relaxation time alone. How often has your “yoga buzz” been destroyed by checking your phone after class and realising there is an urgent email that will cause you more work when you hit the office first thing in the morning? Or that there are people complaining on Facebook?
It would be hypocritical and remiss of us to demand you never connect with your phone but we’d like to remind you of the value of using it mindfully and allowing yourself time to have breaks away from it.
There are lots of benefits of having a mobile device that can connect to all areas in your life that lives in your pocket and sometimes, we’d be lost without them but notice how liberated you feel without having a phone to check or demand your attention. What other things fill that space where your attention is more free and available?
Allow the benefits of the class to be with you in its fullness, in your life (off the mat) and into your next experience. After class your energy channels are open and you may be more present to feelings and sensations. A distraction of the phone will ruthlessly pull you away from this. Often the very reason we seek external sources of distraction is because deep down we don’t wish to deal with what is rising and this isn’t just when it comes to the distraction of our phones.
‘Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.’ Thich Nhat Hanh
Dealing with anything that may be rising within, during or after class requires mindfulness in itself. You can apply this mindfulness by recognising and acknowledging whatever is there for you. Welcome and observe it without judgement and allow it to pass, almost as if you were watching a movie.
‘Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t),’ James Baraz
Why not experiment with leaving your phone at home next time you attend class, then it gives you the space between the end of class and arriving home to settle and enjoy that peace and stillness that you have worked hard to achieve. Or even better make an agreement with yourself to not turn your phone on until thirty minutes after class. If thirty minutes is too daunting, why not start with five and build up from there?
And don’t forget to share with us how you find this experiment!
When our pain is held by mindfulness it loses some of its strength… mindfulness recognizes what is there, and concentration allows you to be deeply present with whatever it is. Concentration is the ground ofhappiness. Thich Nhat Hanh