Perhaps you’ve already seen a growing trend among yogis who want to stay connected at all times. Leading apparel manufacturers are now adding cellphone-sized pockets onto the thighs of their yoga pants. You’ll no longer have to worry about bending into the standing forward fold while holding a smartphone in your hand. From now on, you can be connected at all times.
However, this phenomenon really begs the question of whether this degree of connectedness is healthy.
One of the main aspects of yogic philosophy is to center yourself and clear your mind. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras clearly outline this principle in one of the first sutras. It’s written that yoga is really the ability to calm down or stop the “fluctuations of the mind.”
Yogis have achieved this through many avenues over the centuries, including a rigorous practice, a gentler practice, and even mindful meditation. Yogis should be able to clear their minds in order to receive the benefits and experiences that the universe is attempting to offer them.
When you’re attached to your cellphone constantly, you lose the ability to remain connected to your true self. Your yoga practice becomes another item on your to-do list, a distraction from the daily activities that typically consume your attention. You may be moving your body through the prescribed asanas, but your mind is darting in a thousand different directions.
Can you really feel centered and calm if you feel your phone vibrating as you hold a steady gaze in the Warrior III?
It’s unhealthy to feel your mind pulled in all of the directions that our constant phone use requires. Social media, work emails, text messages, and phone calls all interrupt our ability to practice self-love and self-care. These distractions hardly ever supply us with the true rest and relaxation that should be inherent to an avid yoga practice.
That distraction can come at a very high cost, both mentally and physically.
You need total concentration if you are reaching into a pose that is challenging for your body, such as the forearm balance or the crow pose. Most yogis won’t be able to tune out the incessant chime or buzzing of a cellphone emanating from their yoga leggings. Taking your focus off of the correct alignment and balance can lead to physical injury in the yoga practice.
It’s important to find a healthy balance between maintaining your relationships and taking care of yourself. While a cellphone pocket on your yoga leggings may be a great choice if you plan to wear them around the town, you should consider leaving it empty during your time on the mat.
Take the time for your yoga practice, allowing it to help you calm your mind while caring for your body. Time spent on your yoga mat should be held as a sacred space where you can focus on your intentions. Leave the distractions and the cellphone somewhere where you won’t be tempted to check your messages for just this short period of time.