There’s no escaping the digital world we live in. Much of daily life requires using the internet, and since mobile devices provide an uninterrupted connection, people use their smartphones and tablets constantly. This perpetual immersion in a digital life not only takes people away from real life interactions, but it’s physically exhausting. Digital addiction can disrupt your desire to meditate, especially for teens. Most notably, digital gadgets disrupt your sleep by suppressing melatonin, keeping your brain alert, and waking you up in the middle of sleep cycles.
It’s time for a break from all things digital, but not just the 24-hour timeout you’d do on a dare. If you’re stressed, overwhelmed, or exhausted, setting down your device for a day won’t help you long-term. You need to move your body, but not with vigorous exercise. You need a low key routine, like restorative yoga, that will invigorate you and fill you with the vital energy the digital world has sucked out of you.
What is restorative yoga?
Restorative yoga is a gentle way of opening your body up by using props so you can benefit from poses you don’t have the energy to hold. This is accomplished by using blankets, bolsters, blocks, and belts to support your body.
Passive supported backbends allow the chest to expand without physical effort and open the body and mind to the stimulating effects of the pose. Regarding forward bends, supported forward bends quiet the mind and body and provide a reprieve from overstimulation by turning the attention of the brain and senses of perception inward. At the same time, because the bolsters and blankets support the organs in the frontal body, the back of the body and kidneys relax and spread, further relieving tension.
Yoga is only effective when you can hold yourself correctly in each pose (asana). The position of your body is what allows energy to move through your body. When you’re extremely fatigued, you don’t have the energy to hold yourself in asanas. When you can’t hold yourself correctly, you won’t benefit from the asana. If you need props, it’s okay to use them. They’re specifically made to support your body.
Don’t be afraid to use props
Using props in yoga isn’t a sign of weakness, nor is it cheating. Props are designed to help you get the benefits of yoga when you need support. When you’re fatigued, you’ll be grateful for your props because without them, you might not be able to do any yoga at all.
Researchers agree yoga reduces stress
A Harvard mental health letter published in 2009 says yoga reduces stress and anxiety by modulating stress response systems. The decrease in physiological arousal reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and eases respiration. The letter also discusses the study done by researchers at the University of Utah that found yoga practitioners had the highest pain tolerance and lowest pain-related brain activity.
Since the 1990s, yoga has become an increasingly popular way to manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Most who start a yoga practice and stick with it end up realizing the additional benefits of increased strength, balance, and flexibility. After eight weeks, flexibility improves by 13%-35%, as does muscular strength and endurance.
Millennials and Gen-Xers will especially benefit from restorative yoga
Millennials, the generation that saw the internet evolve from dial-up to always-on, are more stressed out than any other generation. They’ve also been dubbed the “tired generation.”Similarly, Generation X has been dubbed “exhausted.”They’re also the two generations that use mobile devices the most.
If that sounds like you, your fatigue might be influenced by a dependency on digital devices. Research studies in the last ten years have revealed many people sleep with their mobile devices and answer text messages in the middle of the night. The need for constant interaction and instant gratification is a likely source of sleepless nights.
By practicing restorative yoga, you might not be so tired all the time. Give it a shot. It could easily become a new passion.