Top 10 Reasons Why Yoga Professionals Are Empowered By Technology

Mac Girl

I am a yoga teacher and I love technology. I believe both of these are art forms: elegant, evocative, empowering and ultimately transformational. As yogis we step into yoga practices and philosophy to basically feel good, and to make deeper connections both to ourselves and to each other. Technology can also serve us in the same manner.

Yes, technology can be very intimidating. I remember when I used a computer to get online for the first time and my absolute PANIC that I was going to break it. There was so much fear wrapped up in my experience of this completely new 'thing'. In fact, it reminded me of the first time I stepped into a yoga studio and took my first yoga class. What with all the chanting, and the whole just laying-on-the floor-on-your-back-and-closing-your-eyes-with-a-bunch-of-strangers-thing! Seriously, that was freaky! But in spite of my fear and awkwardness I kept on going to yoga and recognized it's power. It changed me in ways that I can never truly explain. In fact in facilitated my love for all things tech ;)

So I got a computer. That relationship, just like yoga, took time to blossom, once again, exactly like my yoga practice. It took me quite some time to get over the psychological block that I had regarding dropping back into Urdhva Dhanurasana. In fact I practiced a lot and needed a lot of encouragement and support from my kula and I finally did it. Working with a new gadget, learning it's process, seeing the connections, recognizing it's ease, is just like a yoga practice. You need to do it, develop a consistent and steady practice of dealing with it and get support from the kula. This time, from the geek kula :)

Random commentary: Oh yea, and switching from a PC to a Mac...'nough said ;)

Top 10 reasons why Yogis are empowered by technology

In random order

1. Inspiration

Stepping into the pulse of humanity via social networks and new media always provides an endless amount of inspiration to the heart of the yogi.

3 examples of that inspiration via new media.

  • Cooking up a Story- one of my favorite video series. So well made, so accessible, so timely and the producers are some of the best folks I've had the pleasure of getting to know via social media!
  • Shutter Sisters- I adore the way these women engage the community via photographs, blog posts and Flickr. Every time I check out a new post, I'm reminded of countless moments of inspiration.

2. Svadhyaya

The process of learning about computers, programs, applications, gadgets, cellphones, etc. always forces yogis to use a different part of the brain, a part of the brain and consciousness that we may not necessarily view as 'yogic' at times. Choosing to step into a place that is not comfortable always creates a deep amount of growth, a deeper knowledge of the self. A new understanding of knowing yourself in ever more unique ways.

This same willingness to embrace a new technology always brings you in contact with others, so as much as we are knowing ourselves, we are also growing ourselves by studying that which we do not know and in turn makes us more effective yoga teachers.

3 ways of how I began my path to geekdom using tech tools!:

  • Harvard Extension Classes: Computer Science E1-Understanding Computers and the Internet. An absolutely fantastic way to 'go back to college'. I learned so very much from this class, especially since I got to listen at my own time.
  • ScreenCastOnline This is very Mac-centric. Don McCallister is an incredible teacher. You cannot get better clarity when it comes to learning about your Mac and all sorts of fantastic software.
  • The Commoncraft Show Sweet, short and effective videos explaining thing to the rest of us. You must check them out.

3. Studentship

My teacher John Friend speaks about adhikara a lot. Adhikara, studentship is one of the most beautiful qualities that a yogi can harvest. When we take the seat of the teacher we often disconnect from the sweetness of studentship. We may not remember fully how it felt to do a down dog for the first time. We may not remember the richness of simply allowing yourself to be with your mentor/teacher and listen. Trying your hand at blogging, editing a sound file, twittering on the iPhone may just help you remember how to be a student again. It will make you sparkle and at the same time rip your hair out ;) There are so many podcasting, blogging, Twitter gurus that are so yogic in their approach, it's shocking at times. They are also, incredibly accessible!

3 excellent tech/new media Gurus:

  • Liz Strauss-Every time I read one of her posts I often feel like I've just taken a yoga philosophy workshop. I especially love the way that she builds community, and takes blogging into the realm of the heart./
  • Victor Cajiao. He is my podcasting Guru. One of the best human beings I've ever met. He held my hand as I dove into podcasting and showed my how to trouble shoot and to be less fearful of the unknown world. Love him.
  • Zadi Diaz, co-creator and host of EPIC FU-She's an incredible woman/new media producer and all around great person. Her essence is strong and sweet. Her integrity in all she touches is tangible. I learn simply by observing her navigate through her life online.

4. Connection

I remember when my favorite teacher Naime Jezzeny first came back to LA to teach a workshop after having moved to Pennsylvania he told us that he had us all with him whenever he practiced, whenever he taught a class. I found that deeply moving. Now that I have moved away from the LA Kula, Social Media has made the transition less painful. I get to see pictures of all my yogi friends. I'm also incredibly excited to have so many of those guys on Twitter! Some yoga teachers have to travel a lot. Some students have to travel a lot. Social Media is a way to weave the connections closer together even as distance takes you apart.

3 ways to keep the connection

  • Quik-Seriously, the coolest streaming LIVE from your cell phone. Been wanting to do this for soooo long. Once I get a compatible phone, I'm diving in!
  • Update all of your statuses and blogs, and whatever else ALL AT ONCE. Talk about efficiency!
  • brightkite-Have just recently started to play with this one. The possibilities are endless!

5. Support

I have experienced first hand how a 'stranger', someone that I've never physically gotten to know can provide the support that I needed simply because I chose to reveal myself creatively through new media or I happen to have consumed independent content that spoke straight to my heart. One of the gifts of new media is being able to express thoughts, feelings, ideas, and questions. I've written posts that has gotten a lot of people giving me support and I've also published podcast episodes that have given support to those that may have needed to hear exactly what I was saying

3 ways that yoga professionals can support

  • Create a videos responding to your students inquiries
  • Comment on a blog post that touches your heart
  • Offer value, beauty or play via 140 characters aka twittering ;)

6. Community

We all have so many things in common. We all have hearts that truly need to connect. There are times that we yearn to connect but just cannot. This may be do to emotional life, physical location, or physical impediment. All our little gadgets help us keep a hand on the pulse of humanity when we feel the separation. The energy that we as yogis bring to these inanimate objects (cellphones, computers, media files, text, etc.) is absolutely felt across time and space. As my philosophy teacher Douglas Brooks says: "yoga is a practice of ear to ear, not from mouth to ear." Whatever you hear, read, see you were meant to at that moment, whether it be through a YouTube video, a blog post, or a twitter update. That is your yoga.

3 ways to deepen your community

  • Ning- Build your own social network! How cools is that?

7. Expansion

As uniquely ourselves as we are, in our own little home, in our own little life, we have the option of expanding far and wide to reach out to each other. Technology helps us expand both in our minds and hearts. Every time that I see a new gadget I feel wow! wonderment or abhuta in Sanskrit. There is so much possible that we simply did not know was possible. I'm in awe. The same amazement that I feel when I watch some of my fellow anusara yogis dance in asana.

This expansion isn't just about asana but how we can expand the heart of the yogi to as many places as we can.

3 ways to expand

  • Share your community with other yogis via Facebook, Twitter or any other online social media site
  • Create a Podcast or other forms of media to include those that may not be able to physically be present
  • Stream yourself or your community Live! via, The Hub or any other fun live streaming site out there.

8. Individuality

There is plenty of room ;) Each and every one of us as yoga professionals, healers, teachers, therapists, seekers have so much to offer the world. We are each an individual jewel whose voice is unparalleled. When the voice, the expression comes from the heart it will resonate. Technology, social media, the blogsphere is ultimately a place for self expression and self reflection. At times it calls out for community action and other times it's there simply to live on it's own.

3 questions to ask to distill yourself

  • How do you want to serve?
  • Who do you want to serve?
  • What value or beauty do you have to offer?

Which now takes me to 9 and 10, which are also my favorite. :)

9. Value

We can raise the vibration of the community simply by allowing ourselves to give meaning to the time we spend with our gadgets, and to recognize that the mindfulness with which we express and also listen matters greatly. There are so many people out there that don't have the understanding of what a physical yoga asana practice is. They don't know about the power of pranayama and meditation. They sit at computers, talk on cell phones, listen to MP3 players all day long, without a deeper understanding of what it does to your energy body. We all need to become more sensitive in recognizing how our actions, and our intentions absolutely affect those around us and our devices. Part of my YoGeek philosophy is taking our knowledge of yoga, especially of the subtle body and share it's value. We start this with the value that we bring to our own tech and our interaction with our tech.

3 value exercises

  • Create a sacred space for your computer/gadget. We have ritual when we practice asana, meditation, pranayama, etc. We may light incense, a candle, we may chant, or maybe simply putting out our mat creates that sacred space for us. Can we bring that clarity to our time online? How would that increase the value of your interactions?
  • Affirm and support each other. It's so easy to say things online that you wouldn't otherwise, as you are in a way 'cloaked'.Words are absolutely powerful, and they STAY THERE. As far as I know, there is no way to delete a tweet you've put out there into the world. Do your comments, posts, tweets reflect the deep integrity of your heart?
  • Step away from the technology! Give yourself at least a day a week to let go of the 'stuff' and cultivate a deeper connection to Yourself. Tune in to the bigger picture! When you come back, oh, are you going to be grateful to play with your tech toys!

10. Play

I love to play with my tech toys. I love new gadgets. I love pretty gadgets. I'm pretty fired up about software also, for no other reason than just because. I play for the sake of playing, and in doing so it inspires others to play also. Come on and play with me it's fun!

3 ways to play

  • Evernote, my absolute FAVORITE application ever in the world, and it's crossplatform!
  • iPhone 3G- OK so I don't HAVE ONE, but goodness me the HOURS of play that puppy can give us all. *sigh* A girl can always dream.
  • Macbook- Yes, my preference. All I need really for a day of discovering the endless possibilities :D

If you have anything else to add to this list, please feel free. Share how you are empowered by technology! Be YoGeek!