Hastily responding to every cell phone beep, email alert ding and news feed notification bing are the familiar ways a lot of us spend our waking hours every day, whether we are at work, or worse, at home spending some down time with family.
“The speed at which information is coming at us can get overwhelming,” says Google’s Gopi Kallayil, a marketing manager for Google+. Kallayil, also a yoga teacher, says she sees more people in Silicon Valley, the heart of the high-tech industry, turning toward yoga and meditation as a way to find a centering reprieve from the stressful blitz of the fast-paced digital world.
With the physical and mental health of these computer-habituated people at risk, many high-tech industries have adopted wellness programs that go beyond a gym membership and a monthly massage. Recognizing the hyperactive tendencies of those caught in the whirlpool of tweets, status posts and microblogs, companies such as Google and Twitter have incorporated “urban-wellness” programs that include yoga and meditation specifically designed to allow people the time to unwind, unclutter, and most importantly, unplug.
“Twitter is really into this,” says Deborah Burkman, meditation teacher for Twitter. “There is a whole mindfulness program they’re trying to build there. Like a lot of companies, they’re concerned about the well-being of their employees and they’re big believers in trying to have people be consciously connected.”
Being consciously connected is an interesting concept when you look at the way we actually do connect in the digital age. Texts and emails have taken the place of phone calls and letters, yet we can stay in touch with more people and connect in a very short amount of time. This advancement in communication can be stressful and cause some to feel scattered and overextended. Others may feel strange, awkward and even lost when away from their Smartphones or PCs.
Yoga and meditation is needed to detach. Kaitlin Quistgaard, editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal said, “With so many distractions in our life, just taking 10 minutes to focus on your breath can be enough to reset your day.”
Yoga Journal recently sponsored a yoga conference in the heart of Silicone Valley. Many of the people in attendance were those responsible for the blueprint that allows us to Tweet, post, text and track the latest news and information 24 hours a day.
Perhaps we need to follow the advice of those who have made spending hours connected to our Smartphones and computer devices possible. It is time for us to unplug, not as a reason to protest the rapid paced digital age, but as a way to take better care of ourselves. We not only need to reset our day, for many of us it may be necessary to hit the reset button on our life so we can reacquaint ourselves with our peaceful inner oasis, far from distractions of attention grabbing dings, beeps and bings.
January 18th, 2012