Five Ways Yogic Philosophy Helps Us Use Social Media Mindfully
Social media is a great way to stay connected, but it’s also addictive. We pop online to update our status and two hours later we’re still scrolling. Luckily the 8 Limbs of Yoga offer exellent tools to guide us on a mindful path.
A little over two thousand years ago Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras, a philosophical text about living our yoga, and the 8 Limbs, a path to freedom, is part of the text.
The first limb is known as the Yamas, or moral restraints, of which there are five. This limb alone can inform our actions in a number of life circumstances — and certainly in areas we’re struggling. Here are five ways to use the Yamas to create mindfulness around your social media use.
Ahimsa means non-violence and practicing it with social media can take many forms. We all have our share of life drama to deal with, shouldn’t our social media posting be positive? We can choose to use Ahimsa and leave people feeling better about themselves and the world. We can also use it as a way to gauge the kindness we are bestowing upon ourselves. When glancing through other people’s photos and posts, do we genuinely feel happy for them or do we compare, wishing our own lives were different? Practicing Ahimsa allows us to instrospect and form strategies to create more joy.
Truthfulness is the best way to translate Satya. Have you ever created an Instagram post that made you look better than you actually are? Seriously? I can’t be alone in this. Most of us want to put our best faces forward in the world and social media is no exception. It gives us the opportunity to put ourselves out there in ways we might not feel comfortable doing in person, but it calls for honesty if we want to live with integrity. Be proud and share about your passions, practices, rituals, children, work, home and life, but let people see the real you. Our stories connect us and social media is an amazing tool when used properly.
“Thou shall not steal” (non-stealing) is one translation of Asteya that we’ve heard before, and it’s a big one for social media. We steal from ourselves and our experience of life any time we waste time online, scrolling — ummmm stalking — other people’s profiles. Set a time limit each day, or choose only certain days to post and view. Another obvious way of practicing Asteya is to not claim other people’s intellectual property as your own.
Brahmacharya translates most closely with celibacy but we can also define it as using our energy wisely. It asks that we not constantly seek pleasure or be caught in sensation or cravings of the body. We are pure energy, and the more we let other things control us, the more energy we leak. We become weak, not the full selves we could be. It asks us to go deeper into ourselves, seeing ourselves as the whole beings we are — mind, body and spirit. Our lives are meant to be lived IRL, in person. Your friends and followers don’t need to know every detail. Put your energy into those in front of you, not those you might reach virtually.
Aparigraha means non-attachment and it asks us to find a balance between doing and being. Do you hook your claws in too deeply? Do you live lovingly without expectation, or do you do things with an end-goal in mind? Aparigraha asks us to do and then release, to not concern ourselves with the outcome. It asks us to be present now. If you have something to share, do it, then let it go.
What do you think? These are five ways to mindfully use the Yamas with social media. What other areas of life can you apply them? This is living your yoga!
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Hi! I’m Heather, a professional writer, yoga educator and digital media consultant from SE Ohio. I help yoga studios, teachers, holistic health and wellness professionals grow their online presence. Check out SAGEmarketing for marketing tips and connect on social media through the links at the top of my website.