Phoning It In

Have you ever had something you really wanted to say and yet you couldn’t get it out? That’s me on the topic of mobile phones in yoga class. I’ve been trying to write about this for months now but keep getting hung up by trying to be all nice and yogic about something that really pushes my buttons. Here’s the unvarnished truth.

When I teach yoga, I usually announce “Phones off and at the back of the room” at the beginning of class. Recently, I forgot and had to whisper to a student texting during class to turn off her phone. She looked chagrined but obliged. But two days later, in another class, I was met with resistance from a young woman who flat out refused.

“But I’m on call. I might have to jump up and run out of class.”

“Then maybe this isn’t the best place for you to be tonight.”

That response got me the death glare. But when she came back the next week, there was no phone and she was much more present.

Present is what I’m asking my students to be. Present to themselves and their yoga experience. You cannot be present to yoga if you are texting or emailing or anxiously awaiting a call. And neither can anyone around you. Invariably, if one phone is out, multiple pairs of eyes are drawn to it. And then other phones start to appear. Forget the fact that you’re missing the class you paid for; you’re at risk of losing your balance and hurting yourself or someone else due to inattention. Or disturbing someone else’s moment of peace and stillness with the clicking of your  keys.

So please, do yourself and everyone around you, this teacher included, a favor and turn your phone off and put it away before you unroll your yoga mat. If you truly are on call, think hard before you come to class. Can you pay attention to the class and your phone? If you need to leave suddenly, can you do it without disrupting everyone around you? Are you by the door or in the middle of a crowded class? Or do you really need to be somewhere other than yoga class?

Be present for yourself, wherever you need to be.


  1. Arleen Reyell says:

    Julie, I think you were polite and tactful in your interactions with your students. I personally leave my phone in my car during class. My instructors always ask that the phones that are in the room be turned off or silenced. Thanks for sharing your prospective as a teacher.

    • Julie Corron says:

      Thanks Arleen! I always left my phone in the car until I had to start using it to play the music. Now I constantly worry that I’ll forget to put it in airplane mode and that it’ll ring at the quietest moment. Ah, technology.

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