In our teacher training last week, we discussed Brahmacharya. This fifth yama invites us to moderation and to not squander our energy, and hence to exercise our will-power. A lot of us in the class realised how in our modern age, a great deal of our energy leaked through the infinite, colourful, ephemeral and ever so stimulating internet.
I don’t watch TV any more, so nowadays when I’m feeling bored or my energy is low, instead of reaching for the remote, I just open a browser on the laptop, and wander around twitter, facebook or youtube.
A lot of the time, I do learn things, I find inspiring blogs and articles. There is an undeniable educative value to the internet but it can be also a wonderful tool of procrastination. So when do our cyber-musings become a real waste of energy?
To me, it is when I run out of real purposes to connect to the web and I’m anxiously looking for stimulation, something that will distract me from boredom, loneliness, unpleasant tasks, low mood, etc.
How can we exercise our will-power and direct our energies to worthier pursuits?
First, we can monitor our time and use of the internet, and develop awareness to our browsing. Do we need to check my email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. every 10 minutes? Also, we could play with our abilities for delayed gratification and motivate ourselves with an internet break. For example, ‘I’ll watch that video on youtube once I’ve finished this task I really don’t want to do’.
What can we propose ourselves to do instead?
- Lonely: why not call a friend, meet someone for coffee, talk to a co-worker, or just go to a yoga class.
- Bored: maybe think of more creative ways to use our time, like grab a yoga book and read about a posture, a yama, a pranayama, or simply meditate and find out more about the void within.
- Low: why not get the mat out and practice a few twists and backbends, or cook a tasty nutritious meal for your partner, family, friends or just yourself!
- Procrastinating: we all know that the earlier we get over unpleasant but unavoidable stuff to do, the better we feel. So just do it and reward yourself after, not before.
Being mindful of how we spend our time and energy is a way of taking care of ourselves. When we waste our time surfing, there is this latent feeling of letting ourselves down. By entertaining the inner child within in a more productive way, we also connect with our more nurturing self.