Technology has connected us in ways we never anticipated and made our lives more convenient. While technology definitely comes with numerous positive benefits, there are negative sides to it as well that can lead to physical and psychological issues. A 2017 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people within the age group of 19-32 who had higher usage of social media were more likely to feel isolated than those who didnt use social media so often.
Innovative technologies and smart gadgets have made us slaves of the digital era, and there’s an imperative need to get some respite from this dependency and disruption. That’s where yoga and meditation can make a difference. These ancient practices have been part of our civilisation for years and are used to align the body, mind and spirit and bring mental clarity.
Why a Break from the Digital World is Necessary
We are constantly tethered to technology through our smartphones, tablets, computers, and even watches, and companies are pushing our psychological buttons to make us return for more. Constant distractions are ruining our cognitive functions and leaving many prone to anxiety and memory lapses. Overuse of digital media can also have detrimental effects on physical health. Too much smartphone usage can put a lot of pressure on the shoulders, neck, and spine. Technology overuse can also lead to strained injuries of the thumbs, fingers, and wrists. Overexposure to the blue light emitted by smartphones and computers can also interrupt the circadian clock, causing sleep issues.
How Yoga can help
In people who practice yoga on a daily basis, changes occur in the brain structure and new connections are developed. Also, it results in improved cognitive skills like memory and learning. Here are some easy yoga poses to get you started:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose): How to do:
*Stand with the feet together keeping the arms by the side.
* Straighten the legs and tuck the tailbone in while engaging the thigh muscles.
* While inhaling, elongate through the torso and raise the arms.
* Exhale and release the shoulder blades away from the head.
* Take slow breaths and maintain this position for 30 seconds.
Benefits: This pose engages all the major muscle groups and improves concentration and focus.
AdhoMukhaSvanasana: How to do:
* Come onto your hands and knees with the palms just past the shoulder.
* The knees must be kept under the hips.
* Lift the hips and press back to form a V-shape with the body.
* Keep the feet hip-width apart.
* Spread the fingers and move the chest towards your legs.
* Maintain this position for 30 second and gently release.
Benefits: This pose stretches the lower body, improves posture and balances the body and mind.
Balasana (Child’s Pose): How to do:
* Kneel on your mat with the toes tucked under.
* Lower the hips towards the feet and extend your arms forward.
* The stomach should be resting on the thighs and forehead touching the mat
* Maintain this position for 1 minute and release.
Benefits: Apart from releasing tensions in the chest, this pose relaxes the spine and back as well as promotes good sleep.
Savasana: How to do:
* Lie on the back with the arms alongside the body.
* The palms should be facing upwards and the body must be kept completely relaxed including the face.
* Continue with gentle breathing and keep your attention on your breath.
* Stay in this pose for a few minutes and release.
Benefits: This pose calms the nervous system reducing stress and anxiety. It also aids the immune and digestive system.
Achieve Balance with Meditation
Meditation has been a useful tool for ages to maintain control of the mind and transform thoughts. People who incorporate meditation into their daily lives remain more composed during times of adversity and clear-minded. In fact, new studies have revealed that consistent practise of meditation increases GABA levels, which promotes emotional well-being and helps one feel happy.
When combined with yoga and pranayama, meditation can do wonders for our body and mind gradually, and one can see the reflection of the same in their daily lifestyle.
The rapid advancement of technology has certainly led to increased stress and emotional distress driven by rapid reward cycles, exposure to too much information, and simultaneous engagement in different tasks. Meditation and yoga can help us release inner tensions, quiet the mind, and stay focused. Only a few minutes of practise every day can bring a whole world of change, making us happy, healthy, and resilient to stress and burnout. Technology is here to stay and even get more advanced. It rests on us as to how we can adopt these practises as part of our lifestyle to bring a positive change and stay healthy.