Practicing Mindfulness :: Spend a Day Unplugged

I was halfway to Williamsburg when I realized I had forgotten my phone.

It was one of those mornings where everything seemed to be going wrong. My allergies were flaring up, items from my to-do list were swarming through my head, and now I had to make it through the next 9 hours without my main connection to the rest of the world. First world problems, right?

It's no secret that we're addicted to technology, especially cell phones. We know it, yet we ignore it. Sometimes the universe needs to literally rip the phone from our grasp to get us to recognize just how dependent we are.

Being a yogi, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to practice technology-free mindfulness throughout the day. I'll be honest - I was shocked and appalled by the number of times I reached for my phone. When my subway stalled at a stop. When I got the urge to scroll through Instagram. When I was avoiding writing an email. It became clear to me that my habit is to use my phone to avoid being present, to put off doing real work, and to fill moments of quiet and stillness. I decided to use this practice of mindfulness to further explore my habits, both on and off the mat, and I'd like to invite you to do the same.

So here is my challenge for you. For one day, choose to unplug. Turn off your phone, power down the laptop, and walk away from the TV. Pick up a book, go for a walk, or meet up with a friend. You will notice when the urge arises to distract yourself, or your hand instinctively reaches for that phone. You will notice your habits. Instead of judging them, simply observe them without attaching a label or story, and without naming them "good" or "bad".

Before we can make positive and meaningful change in ourselves, we must first take on this role of the witness. This is the practice of mindfulness.

I'd love to hear what comes up for you during this experiment! Leave your comments below, and let me know how else you practice mindfulness.