On Yoga and Digital Relationships

Dandayamana Danurasana. Greenside, Johannesburg. 2016. Photography by Sean Brand.

I don’t know about you, but I am sorta-pissed off about the state of our modern relationships.  I know I’m a yogi and being angry isn’t quite the ideal one has of a yogi.  But I do get super angry-sometimes too, when it counts.  I cannot live inside my phone anymore and have pseudo substitute relationships with the people in my life.  Most communication in our modern relationships is happening online and not face to face anymore.  My heart has had a hard time with this.

For the longest time, I was a culprit.  It was just so much easier to pop a text or email, instead of calling someone and expressing myself with my own voice, and really listening to the other person on the other side.  There is something comforting in hiding your real feelings in carefully typed out words.  Your voice doesn’t lie, though, and neither do your eyes when you’re connecting with someone face to face and heart to heart.  So, I was angry that too many of my relationships were in my phone or online and had not been in my heart.  I did something drastic about it and turned it all around.  You can expect to hear my voice and see my face a lot more.  The wheels are already in motion and in two swift weeks, I have reconnected my heart to the special people in my life.  And it it glorious!  It is true: the magic is in the heart to heart connections.

Backbend and heart opener. Greenside, Johannesburg. 2016. Photography by Sean Brand.

So, what does virtual reality and online pseudo relationships have to do with yoga, though?  I had a conversation with a business friend of mine recently who encouraged me to take teaching yoga to the net and teach virtual classes across the globe.  Financially, it makes sense. If you build up enough of a following, you can teach thousands of people in one go as opposed to forty or sixty per class.  I was horrified.  That is not what yoga is about!  Am I getting that old?  I work in digital media, I know how this stuff works.  However, now that I’ve been teaching yoga, my heart leapt out and declared, hell no!  Yoga is about you connecting to your body, not to your mind.  A good teacher holds the space for you to let go of your mind and get real inside your body.  That is where the magic is.  I don’t think you can translate that magic through a screen for a premium.  Do you?

Thinking about this virtual yoga idea spun my mind left field and I realised that this is the future.  It is just a matter of time before someone takes virtual yoga to the next level.  Are we losing our connection to our humanity? Are we losing the connection to our hearts?  Am I turning into one of those hippies who says hells-no to technology and it’s potential destructive influence on our lives and our relationships?

My answer: it all depends on how you use it.  If you use technology to expand yourself and create solutions for the world, and you’re coming from a love space, go right ahead.  But if you’re using technology that stunts your emotional growth and you’re coming from a fear space, you’re going to have a hard time.  The advertising industry is renowned for monetising people’s feelings.  Movies do too, however it is usually a win/win because you learn something new about yourself through watching other stories and projecting your psyche onto the characters.

I cannot stand for the emotional axing I see around me anymore.  I encourage you to get real and speak to each other face to face, human to human.  Do a group activity and connect to each other at a heart level.  There is power in collective energy and the connection of a shared, lived experience.  Isn’t that what we are all here for?  For the love?  I think so.

Where to now with this particular insight?   Is there a way to merge yoga and technology together in a beautiful and beneficial way?  Watch this space.  YogaTherapy is 80% close to finishing up on a re-brand…

See you class.

xx Eliza



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