Although when thinking about a yoga lifestyle you may think about lululemon leggings, sweaty people, expensive yoga mats, and transformative month-long retreats to Bali, we invite you to consider that it could be much more.
In the era of constant connectivity, where screens dictate our daily rhythm and social media shapes our interactions, the pursuit of a yoga lifestyle encounters a unique intersection with the digital realm.
The fusion of ancient yogic principles with modern digital and online living poses a unique challenge and opportunity.
When I first started delving deeper into the practices of yoga, I quickly learned that there was much more than performing asanas and wearing leggings.
I started to consider the benefits of learning more about the basic yogic principles and trying to bring them into my daily life.
I quickly realized that smartphones, computers, and screens had become omnipresent in all aspects of my life, so, how could I align my digital habits with the foundational aspects of yogic wisdom?
I didn’t come up with a solution, nor do I have a formula for you, but I have gained a good deal of skills and insights as I continue to discover what it is like to embody a yoga lifestyle in the modern world.
Today, I invite you to consider your relationship with technology through the lens of yogic philosophy.Can your digital interactions become a mindfulness practice, almost a form of meditation, enhancing rather than hindering your spiritual journey, and helping you embody a yoga lifestyle?
In this article we’ll discuss:
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yoga lifestyle beyond the mat
In a world dominated by screens and constant connectivity, the challenge arises: How do we reconcile the mindful introspection that yoga encourages while we’re on the mat, with the perpetual hum of the digital realm as soon as we leave it?
Yoga as a physical practice is only the third of 8 limbs of the path of yoga, which means you can continue to practice once you are no longer at the studio.
To live a yoga lifestyle, consider learning more about the other limbs of yoga to foster a deeper connection between mind, body, and spirit way beyond your yoga mat.
The Yamas and Niyamas: Foundation of a Yoga Lifestyle
The two first limbs of yoga are the Yamas and Niyamas, the codes of conduct, so to speak, for living a yoga lifestyle.
These ethical guidelines provide a roadmap for harmonious living and can help you embody a yoga lifestyle.
The Yamas focus on ethical standards in your interactions with the external world, while the Niyamas emphasize self-discipline and inner observances.
In the context of the digital age, these principles offer valuable insights into navigating the challenges posed by constant connectivity.
1# Ahimsa (Non-Violence): Compassion and non-harm
The first Yama, teaches non-violence and compassion. In the digital realm, practicing Ahimsa might involve being mindful of the impact of your online words and actions.
It encourages you to engage with others thoughtfully while in the virtual space, and also to notice how and if you compare yourself to other’s digital self-created images and how that affects your self-love.
Remember to stay compassionate with yourself, first.
2# Satya (Truthfulness): Honesty in thoughts and words
The second Yama, Satya, advocates truthfulness.
In the digital world, where misinformation can spread rapidly, adhering to Satya means being responsible for the information we share and consuming content mindfully.
By promoting truthfulness online, not only showing the highlights of our month, or resharing information that we don’t know if it’s true, you can contribute to a more authentic and trustworthy digital space.
3# Asteya (Non-Stealing): Avoidance of theft and greed
The principle of non-stealing extends beyond physical possessions to include intellectual property and attention.
In the age of constant notifications, Asteya encourages setting boundaries and practicing moderation in your digital consumption, respecting both your time and the time of others.
4# Brahmacharya (Moderation): Balanced, mindful use of energy
Often associated with moderation in sensual and other pleasures, can be translated in the digital context as moderation in screen time and online activities, which will leave time for embracing perhaps more yoga and meditative practices in your life.
This invitation to moderation encourages a balanced approach to technology use, promoting a healthy relationship with the digital realm without letting yourself fall into doomscrolling as soon as your mind goes idle.
5# Aparigraha (Non-Attachment): Detachment from possessions
This principle suggests letting go of the constant need for validation through social media and recognizing the impermanence of online interactions.
Does it truly matter how many likes your last post gets, or how many followers you have on Instagram?
Yogic philosophy says it doesn’t.
Aparigraha encourages a detachment from the virtual world’s nature, inviting you to let go of the end result, and the gratification of likes and follows, which is, in truth, just a dopamine hit.
In addition to the Yamas, the Niyamas offer guidance on personal observances, fostering an internal environment conducive to mindful living and fostering a yoga lifestyle.
6# Saucha (Cleanliness): Purity of body and mind
Saucha emphasizes cleanliness and purity.
When bringing Saucha into your yoga lifestyle, you can work on maintaining a clutter-free digital space and organizing files and apps to create a more serene online environment that aligns with the principles of yogic cleanliness.
You can also get into the habit of deleting duplicate photos, random screenshots, and memes on a weekly or monthly schedule to further bring Saucha into your digital space.
7# Santosha (Contentment): Finding joy in the present
This is the Niyama of contentment, and it fosters finding satisfaction in the present moment rather than constantly seeking external validation or the next digital distraction.
When spending loads of time on social media, you may find yourself in a mindset of lack, and this yogic principle invites you to look at your own life and connect to the plenitude and the abundance of the present moment.
8# Tapas (Discipline): Burning enthusiasm and commitment
Your inner fire can be channeled into developing healthy digital habits.
It encourages the effort required to resist the constant urge to check notifications and invites you to utilize your energy with more purpose and awareness, building habits that support your goals and values.
9# Svadhyaya (Self-Study): Reflective self-examination
Delving into self-study from the yogic perspective invites you to reflect on your relationship with social platforms, and the digital world.
By regularly assessing the role of technology in your life, you can become more self-aware and make informed choices that align with your personal values and goals.
10# Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender): Surrender to a higher power
The last of the Niyamas, emphasizes surrender to a higher power.
Bringing the concept of Ishvara Pranidhana into your yoga lifestyle encourages recognizing the limitations of your control over the online world.
It is important to learn to not take anything seriously and find a balance between engagement and detachment from your digital life.
Balancing Screen Time with Yogic Self-Care
Balancing screen time with yogic self-care when embracing a yoga lifestyle involves a conscious effort to harmonize the demands of the digital world with the principles of holistic well-being.
Yoga philosophy encourages you to view technology as a tool for connection rather than a constant distraction.
Integrating self-care practices inspired by yoga, such as breath awareness, gentle movement, and moments of stillness, can be complicated when getting blasted with notifications on your laptop, phone, or smartwatch.
If you want to live a yoga lifestyle, I invite you to consider an approach that advocates for scheduled breaks, fostering a mindful pause amidst the digital buzz.
One of the things you can do is schedule screen-free time perhaps at the beginning of your day, and start your day with a wellness practice like meditation, yoga, or breathwork instead of checking the news or your emails.
You could also introduce this screen-free time at another time of day, or create screen-free spaces in your home like your bedroom, where you can remove digital distractions.
You can utilize those screen-free spaces and times for self-care, mitigating the potential negative impacts of prolonged screen time, and promoting a balanced and rejuvenating relationship with technology.
In essence, if you want to live a yoga lifestyle, you will have to do a bit more than wear leggings and go to your local studio once a week.
Integrating basic yogic principles like the Yamas and Niyamas into your life can help bridge the gap between the ancient wisdom of yoga and the challenges of the modern, tech-dominated world.
By building more self-awareness around your usage of social apps and technology, you can cultivate a more mindful and balanced relationship with technology, fostering a less tech-dependent life, and recovering a sense of presence and living in the moment.
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