Tuesday morning I went to a yoga class. That seems like a pretty ordinary thing but for me, it was a Big Deal. It’s been over a decade since I’ve done yoga. I’m not sure why it’s been so long, other than I went to a few bad classes many years ago and just stopped going. Then, I had a kid and you know the rest – time flies!
It felt good to be back on the yoga mat – breathing and feeling my body. But here’s what surprised me: many of the attendees brought their cell phone to class. I do not remember this being the case over ten years ago or maybe I was oblivious. One lady’s phone would ding. She’d leave her pose to check her text messages. I heard another phone ring twice and then a door open and shut each time. Not sure if it was the same person or two different ones.
And I’m in my pose or resting, thinking to myself, “Namaste, motherfuckers.”
Because when I was at the height of my cell phone use and super engaged with social media, I would NOT have brought my phone to a freaking yoga class!!!
Tell me, is this a thing now? Am I that out of the loop? I mean, who in the holy fuck needs their phone during a yoga class? No one is that important. And if you are, then hire a private yoga instructor, stay at home, do your poses with your cell phone in your bra, and radiate the fuck out of yourself AND your teacher, ok?
Think about it for a moment: I got rid of my cell phone when I realized its effects on my cardiovascular and nervous systems. I could feel my cell phone affecting my heart and making me sweat. Isn’t yoga a heart-based practice? I go to a goddamn yoga class to relax. Tune into my body. Breathe. Be present. And calm my heart. Not to be assaulted in a small space by your invisible secondhand smoke called wireless radiation.
So the question swimming through my head is this: will I have the guts at the next class to ask the instructor to tell people to put their phone in airplane mode so that the environment will be safer? And does asking even matter? Because addicts are fucking liars.
After all, at the end of the day, we are all a bunch of cell phone and screen addicts. We can’t help ourselves; technology has hijacked our brains. That is, until it doesn’t and we wake up…
Now, I’m going to take a minute to hit the pause button in our little one-way conversation to say that a few months ago, I was completely unaware of the health hazards of wireless technology. I know that. But can you put yourself in my shoes and empathize with my newfound anger?
My cell phone made my heart skip beats. It made it race. It made it thump. It made it flutter.
My cell phone made me sweat. It made me anxious.
My cell phone gave me a rising feeling in my chest of trapped energy that had nowhere to go.
My cell phone made my body buzz.
My cell phone gave me sleep onset insomnia and made my legs squirmy at night.
My cell phone gave me dark thoughts of impending doom.
So I got rid of it, almost all of the above symptoms have resolved and hopefully now you can see why I don’t want your phone anywhere fucking near me…especially in a yoga class, or in a car, on a train, or on a bus, or on a plane!
Excuse the fuck out of me if I sound preachy, but this isn’t just about me…
It’s estimated that 35% of the population is moderately electrically sensitive (and probably don’t know it, like me) and that 3% are disabled by electrohypersensitivity (EHS) – that’s 115 million and 10 million in the US, respectively. So I know I’m not alone in that yoga class or in the world.
Arthur Firstenberg, author of The Invisible Rainbow, says it best: “How many will it take before people no longer feel too alone to say, ‘Your cell phone is killing me,’ instead of ‘I’m electrically sensitive?” (p367).
In the spirit of asserting that enough is enough, I want to share an excerpt from a book I just started reading – In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology & the Survival of Indian Nations by Jerry Mander. He keeps these statements posted in his bathroom to remind him to stay skeptical. If we all took these into account, we probably wouldn’t be in our current predicament – with our cell phones and iPads or with our genetically modified foods and fake meat products.
10 Recommended Attitudes About Technology
- “Since most of what we are told about new technology comes from its proponents, be deeply skeptical of all claims.
- Assume all technology “guilty until proven innocent.”
- Eschew the idea that technology is neutral or “value free.” Every technology has inherent and identifiable social, political, and environmental consequences.
- The fact that technology has a natural flash and appeal is meaningless. Negative attributes are slow to emerge.
- Never judge a technology by the way it benefits you personally. Seek a holistic view of its impacts. The operative question is not whether it benefits you, but who benefits most? And to what end?
- Keep in mind that an individual technology is only one piece of a larger web of technologies, “megatechnology.” The operative question here is how the individual technology fits into the larger one.
- Make distinctions between technologies that primarily serve the individual or small community (eg solar energy) and those that operate on a scale outside of community control (eg nuclear energy). The latter kind is the major problem of the day.
- When it is argued that the benefits of the technological lifeway are worthwhile despite harmful outcomes, recall that Lewis Mumford referred to these alleged benefits as “bribery.” Cite the figures about crime, suicide, alienation, drug abuse, as well as environmental and cultural degradation.
- Do not accept the homily that “once the genie is out of the bottle you cannot put it back,” or that rejecting a technology is impossible. Such attitudes induce passivity and confirm victimization.
- In thinking about technology with the present climate of technological worship, emphasize the negative. This brings balance. Negativity is positive” (p49-50).
Thought provoking, yes? #9 is my jam. Watch me shove that genie right back in that fucking bottle. Done.
While each one of us continues to evaluate our relationship with our devices, can we at least agree to leave our cell phones in our cars when attending a yoga class? I think that’s a decent start.
Just think of me, my heart skipping a beat in response to your device, and leave that phone behind. Do you WANT to hurt the people around you? Better yet, forget about me – think about your future health. Because what’s happened to me and what’s happened to countless others, can happen to anyone.
Reflect in peace, my friends.
PS – How about some good news for herbal medicine? In a long, drawn out court case against three herbalists, the herbalists won. Long story short, a company that used to call themselves Shire City Herbals wanted to trademark the name Fire Cider. The court said that they can’t do that. Yippee! Justice has been served. You can read and listen to more about the situation here.
Thanks for reading!