Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Your life is wherever you place your attention.

The study linked to the title of this post assesses the way people of different ages use the internet. Basically, a lot.

It might be said that the internet allows us to tap into a cosmic consciousness, fueled and supported by all of us, albeit an electronically created one. I have heard that some pioneers of internet technology see it as a dream come true, if we could all leave our bodies behind, and somehow upload our consciousness into the ether. Doesn't this actually happen when we are, at times, absorbed in using the internet?

Yoga practice acknowledges that our body and breath are our vehicle to stay alive, and engage in this project of life. The apparent natural and built world around us is called Prakriti in yoga philosophy. Although in ordinary life we are occupied by day to day concerns and activities, through yoga practice we may get glimpses--or ultimately an unbroken awareness of-- the basis that underlies this changeable and fluctuating world in which we live, Purusha.

The internet is a world within that world of Prakriti. As the manifest world around us draws our attention from the source that underlies it all, the internet also draws our attention even further out, into a world within a world.

Consequently, the effect may be that excessive absorption in the external serves to deplete our vitality and our sense of center. Of course we would feel less grounded, if we spend a lot of time absorbed in the ether! Considering that the components of the internet necessarily seek to draw our attention for their own survival (who cares about a website that no one visits), they are most often driven to a certain extent by marketing, capitalism, and a desire for power, in the form of attention, prosperity, and gain.

Yoga practice seeks to reduce our complete occupation with the most apparent, physical world, by reducing greed related activity and impulses. Through moderation in all thing, including yoga practice but also eating, socializing, exercising, and whatever else we need and feel compelled to do, we can grasp the earthly world a bit more loosely, leaving room for awareness of other aspects of ourselves.

So while the internet is now essential to modern life, (and so convenient!) it's something to keep in mind: how much are you being drawn off center, or being absorbed in it, rather than feeling your own life experience and spending time being absorbed in that?

Like running: everything in moderation.

Running barefoot teaches you how to run.

Click the title above for an article on a study of how wearing cushioned running shoes allows people to land on their feet in various ways that they would be less likely to do if they were barefoot; in particular, landing on the heel. Note that running injuries have not decreased, despite continuous innovation in footwear.

A person used to running in shoes, though, is habituated to landing heel-first, so if you try running barefoot, be gradual! (and actually, I don't recommend running, in general)...
But I know some of you do it!

More pertinent to yoga practice, we have experienced that working barefoot gives you much more feedback and sensitivity to the structure of your stance and body.
Going barefoot when possible, such as inside your house, and when weather permits outdoors, also help to keep the feet strong and support the body; and you may find it energizing to put your feet on the earth, beach or a smooth path, when you have a chance. Reconnect to the earth, and your feet.