Yoga is a time to restore and rejuvenate, and in order to obtain these benefits you have to be willing to disconnect and turn off the outside world. Be present in the moment, quiet the mind, and take a technology break!
Yoga Is an Escape from Distractions
In today’s world, phones have become an extension of the self. We take them everywhere. We store our lives in them. Cell phones in a yoga class is not a new thing, but since I began teaching, their presence has increased and the focus on them has grown. However, in the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a trend. Many students now arrive to class with their phones in hand, spending the minutes leading up to class engaged with them. As class begins, they’ll leave their phones on the floor beside their mats to be alerted by notifications. It seems like an obvious don’t, but some students do check their cell phones during yoga class, even when holding certain poses! It is disrespectful to the instructor and their fellow yogis. Who knows if they are recording the class or some individual in the class?
Texts and sports scores can wait. Instagram photos should be taken before or after class. I’ll even take it for you if you need me to. Should you need to know the name of the song and artist of the music playing, don’t Shazam it. Ask the instructor after class.
Emergencies are Exceptional
Now there are exceptions to the rule such as an on-call at work or a parent needing to be available for their child. In these situations, the phone is there by necessity for urgent incoming calls and texts, but should be in silent mode. Occasionally someone may forget to switch to silent mode and off goes the ringtone interrupting the flow. Although an annoyance is rare and forgivable, please remind yourselves if you are one of these yogis who have your phone by your mat that you silence them prior to start of class. If you know you may need to leave class to take an urgent call, please place your mat at the back of the room to avoid an even bigger disruption.
Please Don’t Disturb the Flow
Ahh, Savasana, the final asana of the class, the resting pose for which you’ve worked so hard throughout the class and should be respected by all. Lights are off, you’re filled with gratitude, and the person next to you grabs their phone and starts using it. How rude, as the screen light seems to be as bright as the sun, your meditation time ruined, and a disturbance to your fellow yogis. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Yoga is about turning our attention inwards and your cell phone is just a distraction. Please turn them off, or better yet, leave them in your locker. Give your mind a break. Your body (and fellow yogis) will thank you for it.
Tom Feest (a.k.a. yogaman) is a Certified & Registered Yoga Teacher and the director of Exhale Studios for all five Elite Sports Clubs locations throughout the Milwaukee area. Tom instructs many variations of Yoga including Beginners, Restorative, Hot, Vinyasa Flow, and Power Flow which is his favorite. He continues his education regularly attending conferences and additional seminars to stay current with the ever-changing world of yoga.