Yoga for the Techno-Yogi
When you think of yoga, you’re probably picturing huge ashrams, yogis sitting in the lotus position, and burning incense with ‘ohm’ echoing through your brain… However accurate this picture may be, yoga as a practice and a lifestyle is quickly moving into the 21st century. Yoga studios and organizations are not only using more advanced and interesting marketing techniques to attract students, but students, teachers, and proprietors in the yoga world are connecting like never before.
Blogs, social media sites, and search engines are all contributing to the promotion and popularization of yoga in modern society. With so many different cyber-venues for discussion, definition, and dissemination of yoga and the yoga-inspired lifestyle, it has become a pastime for the athlete, the business casual crowd, the stay-at-home Mom, the stressed out college student, and even the skeptical high school gym class looking for an alternative to dodge ball. With so many different options of studio and styles of yoga being offered, a quick Internet search can lead students to classes of any type. Sometimes, the cyber-world brings yoga to directly to them with detailed instructions on postures and breathing techniques.
Yoga instructors from Ashtanga Vinyasa to Viniyoga can create custom websites for their studios and classes. This gives them a great opportunity to share their individual teaching styles and principles for potential students. They not only market the trade, but connect with one another. Imagine the potential when yoga instructors from the same area get together! Workshops, partnerships, friendships, or advice for more effective classes can all result from a more connected network of contemporary gurus.
But, the biggest questions still remain… If I am a student of yoga, how can technology make my yoga better? How can social media enhance my yoga lifestyle? For the answers to these questions, you simply have to jump onto the nearest browser and (hit) ‘Enter’.
It seems to have taken over the (cyber) world and even its sister sites, like Vkontakte, are in the forefront of social media. In particular, Facebook allows yoga schools to advertise and market their services on ‘Pages’. Practitioners of yoga can find one another by simply searching through Pages and Interests. The ability to quickly send messages, post on the ‘Wall’ of a Page (sharing ideas, opinions, and suggestions), and commiserate with colleagues and classmates make Facebook a powerful tool in enriching the yoga lifestyle.
A few clicks, and you can see when classes are held and with whom, which schools offer what you are looking for, what kind of reputations the schools may have, and whether they are cost effective. You can also see what your fellow yoga practitioners are doing to make their lives more centered and tranquil on and off the yoga mat.
These days, it seems everyone has a blog. Everyone seems to have something to say. Turn this into an advantage! By reading through and following certain yoga-centered blogs, you can learn about the journeys of other yoga practitioners or instructors. Why would you want to do this? Well, sharing in the journey of another student allows you to share in the successes (so you can try the winning method for yourself), learn from the mistakes (avoid the pulled muscles or ineffective yoga classes), and also connect with other people that share the same interests as you do.
Many blogs feature different asana (poses) that you may not have tried yet. Watching videos on how to safely and correctly pose brings yoga directly to you (and your living room). No class necessary. Plus, blogs are an interesting way to gain exposure to different types of yoga and different ways to incorporate it into a balanced lifestyle.
Do you find yourself intensely curious about yoga? Do you want to know more about where it started, how it has evolved, and where it’s going? Are you confused by the hundreds of Sanskrit words that other yoga practitioners and instructors throw around on Facebook? Using search engines to access information about yoga is a great way to feed your mind and satiate your (yoga) soul. Reading scholarly articles, Wikipedia pages, and yoga school websites are all ways to learn more about different styles and practices of yoga.
There are sites with animated instructions for asana and pranayama (breathing techniques), ‘how-to’ videos on Youtube, maps with yoga studios near you, and information about various yoga retreats and getaways. Certainly, you’ll need a discerning eye in what you might accept as legitimate information, but with so much of it out there— you could be the next big guru!
For the busy yogi there are various applications (apps) for mobile devices, such as the iPhone, that can help you streamline yoga into your busy day. Daily tips, postures, and meal plans can all be sent directly to your phone. You can also input your routine, track your progress, and look up any number of yoga combinations for your own personal class. Yoga apps empower students to become their own teachers. They can network, share routines, advice, and encouragement with one another. With an app, yoga can always play a little part in your day.
With all these options, your yoga lifestyle can be enriched and brightened. By browsing sites like this one, you’re already well on your way to becoming a techno-yogi and savoring yoga through the new cyber medium.