Resisting the urge to “checkin” with the online “world” after a night of restful and restorative sleep seems to be quite the challenge for a lot of people now days, this does not exclude myself. Lately, I’ve been letting my phone just be a phone or mostly just an alarm clock most mornings. I’ve actually successfully implemented a self-induced 12-hour social media detox. It's important to unplug to be more present in our lives.
Do you ever think back to when we were kids and there were, dare I say, no cell phones to distract us from daily life? I miss that. I truly do. I also admire the fact I can connect with friends and family across the world, so I definitely appreciate certain aspects of technology.
Silent Hours at Yoga Teacher Training
During Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), part of our experience, though not a self-induced part at first, was silent hours. This was a mandatory part of the training.
Prior to YTT, and since working from home, I had already done some social media detoxing; I’ve taken on the “create before you consume” mentality. For me, this means refraining to check and see what the "world" is up to before I wake up in my own world, allowing me to both create my own feelings for the day and within my business.
With that already being a part of my practice, I was still a little uncertain how I would feel about these yoga silent hours. I mean, I wanted to share what was going on while in Yoga Teacher Training with the world, after all, I was in Bali. Wouldn't you? (I also wanted to talk to the man back in the USA at least online.)
Silent hours were a part of a long list of what we were to abstain from during our yoga teacher training. I won’t share all of the list here (I don’t want to unleash the Zuna Yoga secrets).
What this meant is that every single morning from the time we went to bed, got up (for me, that was a 9:00 pm bedtime and 5:00 am wakeup) and through about 11:00 am, we were not to talk to anyone, nor make eye contact, read, journal, listen to music, use our phones, go online, open up social media or be in communication with the outside world.
We were just supposed to BE and sit with ourselves and our thoughts.
Each morning when we woke up, we were challenged (um, it was mandatory) to NOT go onto our phones right away (they were to be off or in airplane mode), not talk to our roommates, not say good morning to our new yoga friends, not elicit a smile to one another and no eye contact. It was SILENT hours.
Mornings started at 5:00 am, followed by yoga from 6:00 - 8:30/9:00 am, then breakfast, concluded by morning lecture, which ended silent hours. We weren’t allowed to talk much in lecture (nor could we have phones in the yoga shala - thank goodness) so silent hours really ended at about lunch time. Honestly, I learned to love the glorious silent hours and I missed them.
Even after silent hours ended each day, I didn’t feel the need to go on my phone, go online or even talk too much (and I can be quite chatty). I really wanted to soak in the whole experience and just be me. (Though I wish I would’ve taken more pictures while there.)
Support Yourself First
Quiet time at breakfast was awkward at first, but then again, it grew on me. It helped me realize that I wasn’t at yoga teacher training to make sure everyone felt supported or take pictures of my breakfast. I was at yoga teacher training to learn to just be, not focus on everyone else and make sure everyone else was happy, but to take care of myself and make sure I was supporting myself first.
While we could talk during lunch and in the evenings, the days went by so quickly and so intensely, the desire to connect with myself and within started taking over as a priority. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love connecting with the others in my YTT, most definitely not - I LOVED that part of it, but it helped give me a different perspective - especially since what I do in my business (and life) is help support and coach others. It truly gave me a break from supporting others and gave me permission not only for myself to just BE, but for me to let others just BE, too.
As I continued with my travels after YTT in Bali and also in Thailand, I tried to incorporate silent hours as much as I could, mostly it was staying off of social media to be present on my own wander-filled journey. When I returned home, I had lost the desire to connect online with others and have been more quiet on social media, but more present in other areas of my life.
However, I do have an online business, so it was important for me to create a balance in being more present and connected in my own life, as well as being connected online with my community and most definitely with friends and family living far away.
12 Hour Social Media Detox
One day, I decided to start experimenting with a 12 hour social media detox at home. I had no rules, except for the fact that I would create my own darn rules and stay off of social media for 12 hours straight. It doesn’t sound that hard, does it? Well, it definitely helps you realize your habits and (mindless) connection to your phone.
In short, my 12 hour social media detox means that each night at whatever time I last checked social media (for me, it’s mostly Facebook and Instagram) would start the 12 hour clock. So, if I checked into facebook at 9:00 pm (and logged off at 9:15 pm), I wasn’t allowed to go onto social media until at least 12 hours later, which in this example would be after 9:15 am.
Since my business is online, I’m not able to stay off of the internet or social media for days, but it also doesn’t mean I have to live online. If I’m living online, then I’m not living offline (or being fully present) in my real life.
Give Yourself Time to Just BE
I can tell you, I’ve loved practicing the daily 12 hour social media detox since I've been home and it’s given me a lot more time to BE, create, enjoy my personal morning practice and also limit my social media time so I can have more ME time (and quality connection time with others) - and be present in all of my little daily adventures.
So, I'm curious...
Would you implement your own silent hours?
Would you try a 12 hour social media detox?
We all have 24 hours in a day, so it’s important to choose what we do with our time wisely; it doesn’t mean no social media, just being more present in your daily life in a way that feels good for you.