Attack of the Information!
This tidbit just blew my mind: according to December 2014 issue of Women's Health Magazine the number of facts the "...average person fields each day is likely 100 times higher than what people encountered in an entire lifetime a century ago." Let that sink in for a moment. As a matter of fact, go back and read it again.
That means potentially in just one year of your life you are being exposed to about 36,000 times more info than people did in their entire lives.
My first thought when I came read that was, "No wonder."
No wonder I know so many women who experience chronic fatigue. No wonder I know so many women who complain about insomnia. No wonder the number of women with chronic illness is on the rise. No wonder more and more women come to class telling me about back, neck and shoulder pain. No wonder.....
It's like we're being bombarded with info, real or not, to inform, entertain, irritate, agitate, notify, whatever - all the time. Non-stop noise, flashes, attention getters, movement.
Next I got all passionate about how we need to reduce the amount of stuff that distracts from your ability to go inward, focus or concentrate. It would probably surprise most people how much time I spend without background noise in my life. I work from home alone in the mornings 5 - 6 days a week with no music, and no tv. No oils diffusing. No laundry running. I limit phone alerts to ring tone for incoming calls and a soft alert for incoming messages. All other sounds are turned off and I keep my phone turned over so I can't see the flashing lights. No sneak peeks at Facebook or random searching on Pinterst.
But I know so many women who feel they must leave the tv on all the time or they need to keep looking at their phone or they simply can't live without some essential oil or another on their body every moment of the day. Constant input. And again I thought, "No wonder..."
And then I got closer to the truth, what we need now more than ever is our practice. Our lives and our vitality depend upon us getting away, stepping out, turning off and tuning inward each day. For just a few minutes.
In a yoga practice, this is known as pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses. It means taking some time to purposefully disengage your 5 senses to the best of your ability. Close your eyes so that you can't see. Turn off all the sounds - tv, phone, radio, etc. Sit or lie comfortably so that physical sensation lessens. Choose to not take a sip of your beverage. While you can't turn off your sense of smell you can limit your exposure to scents by not lighting candles, diffusing oils or cooking during this time.
Try this for 10 minutes today. If 10 feels like too much then try 5.
Don't think you have even 5 minutes? Try this experiment - set a timer the next time you are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. How much time did you spend there? The next day, set your timer for half of that and first have some stillness and quiet, then re-set your timer for half and go and enjoy your social media.
Yes, it might be uncomfortable or awkward at first. So was the first time you did lots of things, like drive a car or try pole dancing. But like those things, over time they became familiar and then comfortable and maybe you even grew to love them. Pratyahara will most likely feel like that for a bit so give yourself permission to feel weird or uncomfortable and then try again. And again. And again. Recognize that like anything else it takes time and practice and you will get better at it, it will begin to feel easy and familiar.
You might discover that it is actually pleasant, that you start to feel inspired, creative, or gain some insight into some thing that has been bugging you for a while. You may feel more relaxed or at ease. You may realize you don't need all of the stuff that has been coming in. You could begin to move through your day actively calm and calmly active.
All those good things come when we remove ourselves for a bit from outside distraction and focus inward - that's where all the answers lie.
The Divine dwells within each of us, in the Light within our hearts. We can all tap into that Universal goodness. All we need to do is practice - in a studio or on our own.
Our lives and our vitality depend on it.
If you enjoyed or were inspired by what you read, please comment below, Like, Share, Pin and Tweet. With Gratitude, Cathy