Disconnect to Reconnect

My favorite place to work is a coffee shop. I’m a coffee junkie. I love the smell of a good brew and the taste as it lingers on your tongue. On any given day, I can be found typing away on my laptop sipping a cup of what’s sure to be pure deliciousness.  However, spending as much time as I do in a coffee shop, I’ve really noticed some interesting habits. 


People walk in, phone in hand, typing furiously. They approach the counter and look up for about 4 seconds while they determine their drink du jour. Then they immediately look back down at their phone. Many times, they’re reading, scrolling or even typing while placing their order. Stock prices, Facebook, news outlets, Instagram, email, text messages - you name it, they’re looking at it.


Society is connected digitally at all times, or so it seems. These digital platforms allow us to create names, brands and spheres of influence that we’d never have been able to do without the Internet. However, we also seem more disconnected than ever. The problem is, we’re human. We are wired for connection. The connection that goes beyond the screen - a touch, a laugh, an old-fashioned conversation. 


What are ways you can challenge students (and yourself) to disconnect in order to reconnect? Consider the following:


  1. No phone zone - in the studio. At the dinner table. While ordering or checking out at a store. 
  2. 30-day hiatus - from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. All of social media. Listen, I’ve got serious FOMO about this one, but it’s super healthy.
  3. Rise & Shine - A recent survey found 46% of Americans check Facebook before they even get out of bed. Make a commitment to get out of bed and             do sun salutations (maybe even brush your teeth) before logging on.
  4. Power Down - buy yourself an old-fashioned alarm clock and shut your phone completely off at night. Chances are you’ll get better sleep without the constant buzzing from incoming notifications (I’m guilty of this).
  5. Hello, It’s Me - challenge yourself to have conversations on the phone rather than through text. Try it for a week. Heck, try it for a day. There’s something soothing about hearing another person’s voice on the other end of the line.  


In today’s digital world, yoga retreats are an excellent opportunity for students to disconnect in order to reconnect - with themselves, with nature, with their intuition, with each other. And as the teacher, you have the opportunity to connect with them in a deeper, more meaningful way. Have you considered this approach?  I encourage you to give it some thought. 


Emily Hassett