I started teaching a dry-land course about a month ago. We meet twice a week for an hour. The goal is simple: develop exercise skills that encourage a healthy lifestyle and complements the training that takes place in the water.
I quickly realized that part of this course was going to include a different type of stress management and sport psychology – aka dealing with cell phone dependency. I was going to have to teach my students how to exist on land, for a whole hour, without direct contact with the virtual or cellular world.
OK, I realize that this may seem a bit extreme – almost selfish – but hear me out! My reasons are as follows:
- Physical activity is a personal-mind-body experience. ….as long as we maintain that connection between our mind and our body.
- We have the ability to push ourselves beyond our limits – every day….as long as we focus on ourselves and not the latest post on Facebook.
- Athletic passion and drive can inspire, support and encourage our friends, teammates and loved ones….. unless we obliviously check e-mail while out friend/training partner is sprinting on the treadmill next to us.
- Disconnecting from the constant demand of today’s world allows for the opportunity to reconnect with our physical selves. Creating the time to care for our own physical health is necessary in order to maintain and promote emotional and spiritual well-being.
This connection is recognized by the legendary Buddhist monks of Mt. Hiei, Japan. The spiritual athlete, known as a “gyoja”, seeks awakening through the practice of running. They run anywhere from 40 – 54 Kilometers each day for 100 days. (The Spiritual Athlete’s Path to Enlightenment, by Holly A. Schmid)
I doubt they would get very far on their path if they were always using their cell phones.
Next time you go to the gym, the pool or go for a run, do yourself a favor – leave your phone/ipod/electronic device at home.
Keep on Swimming,