6 ways to combat digital distraction
Yoga Sutra 1:2 - Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha
There’s an age old saying that ‘Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind’ but what does that actually mean, and is it even possible in this new age world of COVID, lockdown laws and the ever increasing need for digital distraction?
Connection is more important than ever before and with the looming extension of lockdown in Victoria we are required to rely more heavily on technology to facilitate family dinners and Friday night hangs. Society had to pivot from human connection in real life to online. Sure there’s going to be implications. The rate at which we now unknowingly demand our minds to process information has increased exponentially. While the line between work and home life, rest and play are becoming more and more blurred.
We know that increased screen time has some seriously negative effects on our mind-body, especially our sleep-wake cycle but in saying that the adverse effects that a lack of connection in isolation would have on my mental health is not something I’m willing to compromise on.
And so we’re left in a situation where yoga classes have never been more accessible yet it seems near impossible to tell the fluctuations of my mind to ‘cease!’
It’s almost become a daily practice to remind myself that stopping the thinking process is not the goal of yoga, the end game is not to liberate my mind from thought, to be honest there is no end game. Yoga and meditation is a continual process of steadying the mind, checking in and connecting with our internal and external environments.
6 ways to combat digital distraction and settle the mind during Lockdown:
PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN WHEN YOU DON’T NEED IT!
Walk into your garden with bare feet (maybe wait til the sun comes out first), notice what grass feels like under your toes and how it feels to be directly connected to the earth. If the sun doesn't come out, close your eyes and listen to the rain.
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing Practice), the winter season is the perfect time of year for breath and pranayama practices. Not only does this technique bring balance back to both sides of the brain, it gives the thinking mind a non digital focal point.
For my friends in Geelong, head to the beach for your daily exercise! Being by the water is an instant soul soother. If you’re in Melbourne, find a local park within 5km of your house and get amongst nature on your daily walk.
Try falling asleep to a meditation instead of Netflix, Insight Timer has a plethora of great sleep meditations even on the free version of their app. Or, if falling asleep without Netflix is a nightmare (don’t worry I’m with you some nights!) set a timer on your TV so once you do fall asleep the light doesn’t draw you out of your REM sleep
Limit confusion and re-define your work / home life boundaries. Set a timer for every hour that you work. Focus on work without distraction for an hour, then step away from your laptop and do something homely; Spend 5 minutes in your backyard, make a snack, clean your room, water your indoor plants etc before going back to your laptop.
In these strange times, all we can really do is to be present in as much of our day as we can. Know that sometimes this isn’t going to be easy or even possible and that's completely okay, that's just life!
Here is a short 20 minute meditation I’ve created that could be particularly useful for you during these times.