I wake up and the first thing I do is roll over and check my phone. Then I login into my email, followed by Facebook, then Instagram and perhaps some of my favorite blogs. I the put on my apple watch so it can start logging my steps. All of this before I even make it to the kitchen to brew my pre-coffee (my small cup of coffee that I drink before I head to whichever coffee shop I feel like to get my real coffee). Maybe your routine is different, but chances are that to start your day you connect to your technology. Most of us might turn around and drive back to our houses to get our cell phones if we realize we forgot it. Most of us would probably reach for our laptops or our iPhones after our family and pets are safe in an evacuation. I am guilty of all of this. I will be the first to admit my love for social media and that on a Friday night I am probably scrolling thru random feeds while watching Hulu with a glass of wine. However I also have a long standing practice of purposefully disconnecting.
I started purposefully disconnecting about three years ago at the peak of insane work schedule. My phone was my life line to work and it was always going off. Like so many of you, my work emails started at around 6am and ended sometime way, way past dinner. It wasn’t just work it was also my co-workers and my friends. We all had crazy schedules that allowed for a group text to essentially never end. Being connected was not only important for my work but also for my life. When I took a 40 day yoga challenge one of the requirements was to purposefully disconnect from all technology for 6 hours a week. It could be one hour a night or during a 4 hour hike on the weekend. It didn’t matter how you split it up all that mattered was that you found the time. Boy was it hard! The first week I spent the first 30 mins of each hour resisting the urge to check my phone. I was so use to reaching for my phone whenever I felt the lull of what to do. It was admittedly a very uncomfortable experience to start off with. Spending time with yourself can very eye opening.
After about the first week I started getting more confortable with this exercise. I stopped silently freaking out when I had to tuck my phone away in the cubby for yoga. I went on my first solo hike around Mt. Tam and kept my phone on airplane mode ( I didn’t leave it in the car because I had visions of me turning into the plot of 127 Hours). Purposefully disconnecting gave me much needed time to actually be with myself and listen. It was a meditation on self-awareness. It was time of undistracted listening. One of the reasons I still practice and teach yoga is because it forces me to disconnect. I get to connect with people and with myself without the distraction of technology or the anticipation of something going off that will need your attention.
This can transfer over to even your fitness life. I know people who don’t even like to hear themselves breathe. Imagine what would happen if you disconnected while you worked out and instead focused on connecting with your body. You might actually create body awareness that so many of us lack. You might have the mental focus that you need to PR. You might be a little less stressed.
Though yoga is a great way to practice disconnecting to connecting there are an array of ways that you can try this out. Some of the ways I like are simple. You can set a timer for a small chunk of time and just be. Make sure to turn everything off and not fall asleep. Sometimes I go and hike the Forest at Niesene Marks, there is no reception so its easy, but if you have another favorite place try it out and use airplane mode if you have to. Sometimes me and a friend will do dinner and make sure it’s a place without a TV and leave our phones in the car. If you are strapped for time to disconnect try seeing if you can sneak in 10 mins in the bathroom, (my friend with three kids did this during our 6 hour a week challenge). However you chose to try out disconnecting, just try it out more than once. Let me know how it goes, I love to hear feedback when you try something new.
Posted on 11/02/2015 at 06:49:00 PM