The big news this week in the yogasphere is about a teacher who was contracted to teach for Facebook employees who was fired after glaring at a woman who checked her cell phone during class. The instructor was in the middle of demonstrating the next pose and instantly came out of the pose to glare at the woman, who then walked out, as the instructor got back into the pose and continued to teach the the class. A few days later, the instructor was fired. Now, the instructor has admitted that she was told as an employee to let the clients do whatever they want, including use their cellphones and I feel bad that she lost a huge source of her income, but she did know from the beginning that she was never truly in control of the class.

But what about the woman who could not resist her cell phone for even an hour? Do we really live in a world where the thought of unplugging from technology is too much? I do ask that cellphones are turned off and preferable left out of the asana room. So far, only one phone has gone off in class, and I goaded the culprit into admitting it was his and turning it off. We moved on, no one was hurt, and no one was fired. But there are also teachers at my studio who have strict cell phone policies in their classes. If your phone rings – regardless if you pick it up – you will be asked to leave. I have no problem with this as I would much rather experience a class without the distraction of technology. One of the reasons I don’t have a similar policy in my own classes is that I don’t think I could enforce it (with out the help of the rest of the class), so I turn it more of a joke.

But back to the main issue – UNPLUG YOURSELF FROM TECHNOLOGY! Your yoga practice and your mat are a sacred space where all you have to do is breathe. You don’t even have to move on your mat if your practice is just Savasana, but is it really too much to ask to take a break from your electronics? We are surrounded by technology – fancy fridges with screens to let you know what your ice levels are at, cars that talk to you, and of course the upbiqutius smart phone in every pocket or purse. Yes, I love technology as much as anyone else (probably more, actually), but we need to give our brains a break. If we constantly rely on technology to remind, alert, and schedule us, not only will our brains get lazy (rule of the body is “Use it or lose it”) but we will never learn relaxation. Even without technology, my brain is always making lists of things to do or follow up on, or reflecting on the last episode of True Blood. The only quiet time I have is on my mat so I put all my energy into making it worthwhile.

If the rest of us could take the time to focus on the breath at least once a week, I truly believe the world could be a better place. By slowing down to notice the world around you, not only will you gain a greater appreciation for your surroundings, but you will also learn how to be an observer instead of a reactor. Far too often we react to things by making a snap judgment or allowing the truth to be clouded by emotion, and what was just a minor concern becomes a huge issue.

So do yourself a favor and make mandatory technology free times in your week. Your brain will thank you. And PLEASE do your peers a favor and leave the cell phones out of the asana room.

Ok, done ranting. Have a great week!!