May 29, 2011

So disconnected

An admitted tech addict abandons her email, Facebook and iPhone, and turns inward.

By BARBARA ORTUTAY The Associated Press

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Cellphone and Internet reception are nonexistent at this secluded yoga retreat in Franklin, N.Y. Inside, visitors lay on their mats, listen to chirping birds, the softly tapping rain or breezes in the trees, and breathe in the serenity.

The Associated Press

So what did we do, without news, Twitter and email in the Catskill Mountains? Yoga, and lots of it.

Our teacher instructed us to turn inward. That's especially difficult to do in the age of social media, when many of us seek validation even for the most minute actions and passing thoughts of our lives. Why do I need to tell my Facebook friends that it's raining again? And when someone responds, why do I feel weirdly validated in my existence?

I won't call it addiction, but for the first few hours of the retreat, I found myself regularly reaching for my iPhone -- for what, I don't know. It was like a phantom limb, unnerving in its absence.

By the second day, the feeling was gone, thanks to vigorous exercise, yogic breathing and our beautiful surroundings. We dined on homemade vegetarian dishes, another break from my regular days as an avid carnivore.

I also brought a book with me, printed on real paper. It's called "Living Dead in Dallas," part of a series about Southern vampires that is now a show on HBO. It helps me relax, OK?

At night we sat by the campfire, roasted marshmallows and drank wine. Then sleep, breakfast and more yoga.

I don't advocate disconnecting forever from the Internet or social media, and I admit a weekend was just enough. We needed GPS to find our way back to the city, for one thing. Some email addresses were exchanged, too.

And as we left, we promised our newfound yoga friends: "I'll find you on Facebook."


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