Can Yoga and Technology Be Friends?

Can yoga and technology work together?

 

When you think of yoga and technology, do they occupy separate areas of your life? Do you think technology has a place in the yoga world?

I personally enjoy being geeky and use a lot of technology to manage my life and business efficiently, but I also use tools specific to my yoga and spiritual practice. I use Reminders to say a mantra at a specific time each day. I have an asana app that I use when traveling for a quick guided practice. I use pranayama timers to practice different ways and paces of breathing. And if I want to do a freeform meditation practice, I have a timer that gently lets me know when it’s time to wrap it up. Voice memos allow me to create custom meditations for clients, and I can even teach a class on the other side of the world through my phone.

I was delighted to hear that Stanford University now has a Calming Technology Lab, an inter-disciplinary group of scholars, designers, and builders that are inventing and evaluating technologies that create states of calm. This team draws on Stanford’s research groups in human-computer interaction, persuasive design, the psychophysiology of stress, the science of compassion, and social & cognitive psychology. Some of their current projects include calm breathing patterns to use at your computer, motivating text messages, daily resolutions, and much more.

I think we all agree that technology such as cell phones should be left at the door when practicing in a yoga studio or sitting down to meditate. Part of the discipline of a practice is learning to be calm and centered in the midst of distractions, but we don’t have to add to the chatter in our already busy minds. Technology can help you stay motivated and on track, just use it wisely.

Here are a few of my favorite free apps, all available through iTunes:

1. All-In Yoga

Over 300 asanas that you can break down individually or combine in a class. Lots of ready-made classes tailored to your needs. Perfect for practicing on the beach or on the go.

2. Universal Breathing

Guided pranayama that is progressively paced. Great for beginners.  I love that it animates the areas of the body in use during particular breath work.

3. Yogic Breath

Another good pranayama app that offers step-by-step instructions and either a video or audio practice.

4. Sadhana Touch

This app has timer functions to pace your meditations. You can use it to count mantras, and to pace pranayama practice.

More for-fee apps:

Stillness Buddy provides timed prompts to stretch, meditate, or do a breathing exercise. Great if you sit at a desk all day and need reminders to take a break!

f.lux dims your computer screen as bedtime approaches to remind you to unplug and get ready to sleep.
I would love to hear about any other applications you’re using to enhance your yoga and spiritual practice.

Be well!

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