Digital Detox and Ayurveda at The Best Retreat in Rishikesh, India
Digital Detox and Ayurveda at Veda5, The Best Retreat in Rishikesh, INDIA
Nowadays, our smartphones are the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we check before going to bed. Now technology is managing us instead of us managing technology. In fact, smartphone addiction now has a clinical name ‘Nomophobia’ the fear of being without or away from a mobile phone. If someone is connected to his Smartphone and laptop all 7 days of the week, he would feel physically burnt out, fatigued, stressed, will lose sleep, forget things, will be unable to manage work and be highly unmotivated. If he gradually reduces the amount of time on his tech devices, it would make a huge difference and he’ll be able to avoid the above listed problems. Everyone knows that they are addicted to some extent but many don’t know that the amount they spend on their technology is doing a lot of harms.
What is digital detox?
A digital detox is switching off all mobiles, smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers for a certain length of time.
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world and connection with nature in the physical world.
Digital detox claimed benefits include increased mindfulness, lowered anxiety, and an overall better appreciation of one’s environment. The best way to detox is by going into nature. Studies have shown that blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, depression, anger and aggressiveness are reduced in green environments and ADHD symptoms in children reduce when they play in green settings.
Tech-addiction problem in India is just as bad as the rest of the world. Although the amounts of accessories are less, in more developed countries, people will possess a tablet, smartphones, laptop, wearable tech, etc. There is no clear data or study on the extent of addiction to digital devices, but the number of people whose lifestyle is compromised due to online time is significantly increasing. In the last few years, the number of patients seeking to detoxify themselves has gone up multiple times. According to a study, 42 percent of employees reported feeling obligated to check their email during vacation, while 26 percent felt guilty even using all of their vacation time.
Constant online connectivity may have a negative impact on the users’ experience with electronic connecting devices and result in a wish to temporarily refrain from communication technology usage. In other cases, users see the technology as a distracting factor that consumes time and energy, and want to take back control over their everyday lives. Some people have moral, ethical, or political reasons to refrain from technology usage, such as fear of violation of their privacy. Constant engagement with digital connecting devices at the workplace claims to result in increased stress levels and reduced productivity.
Technology may be incredibly useful and educational and it undoubtedly allows us much creativity, connectivity and enjoyment. But if it begins to distract you from doing what you should be doing like your job or your education or it negatively affects your relationships, or costs you more money than you can afford, then it starts to become dangerous. If it is negatively impacting your life you need to evaluate what you do online, when and with whom.
Technology Addiction Treatment
- Make a rule of keeping phones on silent during mealtimes, while having conversations with your family, or establish cyber free weekends. No exceptions. This way you’re sending a strong message that being connected to your family comes first, everything else can wait and is of less importance.
- Establish a maximum time your kids are allowed to spend with their electronic device Restricting the time kids spend with their cell phones, smartphones, laptops or other electronic devices is crucial in fight against technology addiction and prevention of further continuation of unhealthy dependence.
- Good sleep means no technology in bedrooms. Our ability to think, verbalise, memorise, understand and learn depends on how much sleep we get at night.
- Make a gadget list before you commit to a detox. Try making two lists. Firstly, list all of your gadgets. This will show you how dependent you are on technology. Secondly, make a list of all the things that you enjoy doing in life, but aren’t doing presently. Making a list will show you how dependent you are on technology. This will help you realise that if you cut down your technology use, you’ll gain back hours of time to do things that you find considerably more meaningful than constantly checking social media.
- Don’t set unachievable targets. Although an allowance is important, digital detoxes are something one needs to ease into. Try not to overwhelm yourself with unattainable targets. In order to completely sever your dependency, it would be a good idea to first simply set small limits for each day.
- Commit to changing one habit at a time. Don’t attempt to give up your tablet, laptop and smartphone all at once. Choose one technology habit to change at a time. This may include banning all devices from the dining table, or from the bedroom, or only checking emails every two hours. Choose one technology habit to change at a time, and make sure that you stick to it for at least a week no matter what, and then move onto tackling another habit.
- Find a detox buddy. Things are always easier when you team up, so why not pair up with a ‘detox buddy’? With this support, you can discuss your progress, encourage each other to keep going on and spend time together face-to-face rather than messaging through a screen.
- Switch to a real alarm clock, and when it buzzes, give yourself 10 to 20 minutes, or even an hour, to ignore your devices as you prep for the day. You’ll be able to start your day on your own terms and not someone else’s and moreover feel more inspired, rested and less anxious.
- Repeat a Mantra. Whether you’re sitting at home and know a party’s going on, or you’re lying in bed and yoga class started five minutes ago, be okay with where you are. Tell yourself, “Wherever I am is exactly where I need to be.” Remember that the choice you made is the right one for you at that time. Later when you turn on your phone and are flooded with party pictures on Facebook and Instagram montages of fun-filled weekends, remind yourself that social media shows only the highlights of others’ lives.
Benefits of digital detox
- Good mental health : There is a growing concern among scientists that indulging in these ceaseless disruptions caused by digital devices is not good for our brains in much way that excessive sugar or fat and other things we tend to crave are not good for our bodies.
- Better human relationships : With digital detox, it is possible to maintain a better relationship. Many people have bad breakups because of a cultural shift from face-face communication and shorter attention span.
- Increased Productivity : Mobile devices and gadgets often cause distractions at work leading to poor performance, carelessness, absent-mindedness and failure.
- Good Posture : The physical effect of too much technology will be reduced. Such effects include wrist, arm and shoulder pain, ears roaring, eye strain, and lack of sleep.
Digital detoxing is no longer a concept but a reality as people and organisations have started adopting it in order to achieve a balance in the digital age. Device-free events such as retreats and holiday camps are now being planned for people to get away and relax. According to a recent report majority of people would rather go without food and other daily staples than be without their mobile devices; therefore, digital detoxing is not as simple as it sounds.
Veda5 Ayurveda and Yoga wellness retreat on the Himalayan foothills in Rishikesh, India can help you do digital detox in an Ayurvedic way.
We are all made of a combination of vata, pitta and kapha dosha. Each Dosha has its own set of functions in the body. The amicable and harmonious team work of all doshas in the body gives us a body in a state of health and balance and Mano gunas (mental traits) which are cheerful, positive and in control.
When Vata dosha is in balance, the body has the ability of speed, lightness, mobility and the willingness to accept change.
When Vata dosha is over-used, it imbalances rather dramatically, leaving you with insomnia, panic attacks, mood swings and depressive states, inability to fall asleep easily, tendency to wake up in the middle of the night several times, etc. Apart from other issues, it also leads to catches in the muscular skeletal system, porosity of bones, weak teeth, etc. as the air in these parts increases due to excitation of Vata.
There is a growing body of research in Ayurveda which links the over-use of smart phones and social media to imbalance in the Vata dosha.
Due to this subtle excitation of cells, and due to the nature of the signals passed by these devices, and their nature of proving interesting and fresh stimulation to the mind, the overall Vata dosha in the head and body is excited.
In fact in many kinds of addiction (binge watching of television, alcohol, smoking, shopping, binge-eating etc), we can see the excitation of Vata dosha as a cyclical cause of the addiction. The addiction excites Vata dosha which gives us the “crack cocaine effect” which in turn leads to further addictive behaviour. Thus, we keep on steadily unbalancing and aggravating Vata dosha.
So best way to do digital detox is balance your dosha, especially, Vata dosha.
Ayurveda tells us that the smooth governing of the Indriyas (5 sense organs) is only done by Vata dosha. The skin, which is an important sense organ is completely governed by Vata dosha.
Therefore, an important ayurvedic practice to help balance Vata dosha is to cut down the use of the 5 sense organs. This can be done by a daily sensory deprivation practice.
Veda5 has the ultimate sensory deprivation technique which is followed in the Ayurvedic Kutir praveshika method, an ancient rejuvenation technique as described in the Charaka Samhita. In this method, the patient enters a solitary hut, which has been constructed on Ayurvedic and Vastu principles. In this hut, by the special construction methods used, light, air, sound, aroma and touch inputs are strictly controlled. The Kutir/hut is usually constructed in a solitary, well-chosen place without any strong flow of wind. This treatment is for a period of one month. It is called as a rejuvenation treatment that is almost like a “re-birth”.
Veda5 provides Ayurvedic treatments like the Panchakarma which helps to flush out accumulated toxins from your system and thus, harmonise the imbalanced bio-energies. The oil therapy used is known as Snehana. All of the treatments listed below are designed to rejuvenate and instil more vitality to the senses as well as de-stress and calm our minds. These key oleation (oil) therapies recommended in Ayurveda for digital detox include:
- Abhyanga massage – body massage with medicated herbs
- Karna purana – instilling and oleating the ears with medicated oil
- Shirodhara – nurturing the head with warm medicated oil
- Akshi tarpana – an eye bath with medicated ghee/herb infusions
- Kavala – swishing of medicated oil in the mouth
- Nasya – medicated nasal drops
If you want to detox the Ayurveda way, practice slow mindful movements like yoga asana, pranayama and meditation. Veda5 provides the best yoga classes with world class reputed yoga practitioners.
The key to good health has always been doing everything in moderation. We recommend to increase positive mental energy (Sattva) by bringing down the excess mental activity (Rajas) and overcoming mental fatigue (Tamas). This can be achieved by eating food that is rich in Sattva energy (fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, mung beans) and avoiding non-vegetarian food, pungent spices like red chillies, garlic, onion, canned, processed and micro-waved food.
This Nidana parivarjana – staying away from the impulses is of vital importance when it comes to a digital detox.
We recommend you to retreat in nature, walk in nature, and breathe fully in nature…
So at Veda5, you will not only live this life changing moment, but also learn all these fundamental Ayurveda concepts of Healthy living.
You will leave Veda5 feeling detoxed, refreshed, open and energized, and ready to launch into your life with renewed confidence and clarity.
You are welcome to see some of our successful digital detox retreats here.
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