Has society forgotten how to socialize? Are we so dependent on our phones, tablets, and the Internet that we are slowly wandering away from interacting with each other?
Have you noticed how it’s normal to be in a room with several other people but no one is talking because they’re connecting with other people on their smart phone via text or some other social media app?
You might even be reading this from your phone. If you are, do yourself a favor, (after you finish this article) put it down and connect with the person next to you. And stop hunching forward – it’s bad for your posture, and your health.
A Close-Hearted Generation?
A fellow yoga instructor and I were talking about how many people we see each day that are more connected to their devices than anyone around them.
“Especially the kids,” she said, asking, “What’s it going to be like for them when they grow up? How are they going to learn to connect with other people in real time – face to face?” That’s when it really hit me – we’re going to have ourselves a really closed-hearted generation if we’re not careful to teach kids the importance of interaction – and that “social” means more than just online media sharing.
And by closed-hearted generation, I also mean a generation of bad spines caused by years of hunching over their smart phones. Think of your physical position while you’re holding your smart phone or tablet: your shoulders are hunched forward; your back is rounding forward; and your chin is dropped to your chest.
Visualize the kyphotic spine of an elderly person on a teenager. That’s where we’re headed.
Body Language Speaks Volumes
In most situations, a rounded spine and shoulders come after years of bad posture, but if this is the way you are growing up through adulthood, chances are, the posture will stick. Visualize the rounded posture in terms of an emotional state and the words sad, inward, depressed, or closed off from others might come to mind.
The organs that are affected in the chest region – the lungs and the heart – are affected energetically and physically. The heart, the seat of love and compassion, is closed in; the breath becomes shallower since the lungs have less room to expand and absorb oxygen, and, in turn, the body loses energy and prana – physically and emotionally.
Face to face contact is social.
So, if we have a generation that only knows smart phones and social media as a way of communication, we are potentially creating a group of people that don’t know how to open up to others in real life.
How Can We Remedy This?
Simple. Stop relying on social media and texting as your main way of socializing. Even schedule lunches, events, get-togethers with friends and agree to put your devices away for the evening.
Another great solution is to open up the heart again with yoga. Lots of heart opening asana and breathwork can help the rounded shoulders and shallow breath; but only the device user can make the decision to change their habits.
A few easy heart-opening asana include:
- Bujangasana (Cobra pose)
- Gomukasana (Cow-face pose)
- Ustrasana (Camel pose)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
- Matsyasana (Fish pose) – gentle version, with legs straight, and the upper back supported by a rolled up blanket place just below the shoulderblades.
- Deep one-to-one ujjayi breathing, with a brief hold at the top of the inhale.
The best pose, however, is downward-facing device. Turn away from it, put it down...and do it often.