The uneasy marriage of yoga and technology continues to unfold online.
Just this week I found Do As One, a website that invites us to log on and breathe together, chant Om together or laugh together.
The non-profit Beverley Hills based organization has a vision: “1 billion people will breathe together synchronously by November 11, 2012.”
This is part of a larger goal, “to raise the awareness of healthy, conscious breathing and to create the opportunity for humanity to experience its own inherent Oneness through the power of breath.”
When you log into Do As One, you choose a room, Universal Breathing, Universal Om, Universal Laughter, or Full Spectrum Breathing.
Once inside, you can set the color of the background, choose the duration of your breath cycles, choose from several pranayamas, including alternate nostril breathing and Kapalabhati, set a timer and choose the chime you want to ring at the end. In the laughter room, you can also pick a laugh track: Woody, cartoony, Ha Ha Ha, Squeaky Giggle, Witch Giggle, Baby Laugh, Mousey Lady, and more.
Of all of them, I found the Full Spectrum Breathing Room the most engaging, the screen changing color as you breath your way up the chakras, all the way to violet.
There’s a counter at the entry to each room, which lets you know how many other people are simultaneously breathing or laughing. (Eight in the Universal Om room at 9:45 this morning, six in the Full Spectrum Breathing Room, and one in each in the Universal Breathing Room and the Universal Laughter room.)
As far away as it might now be, Do As One invites us to consider the grand vision: “For just one moment, think of what might happen if one billion people on the earth were to be breathing in and out in perfect unison, creating one Universal breath flow. What impact could this have on humanity and the entire living Universe?
Um, hard to say.
Wouldn’t it still be one billion people, each alone in a room, interacting with a screen?
Something about that vision reminded me of an E.M. Forster story, The Machine Stops.
In this future civilization, people live underground, each in a separate room, serviced by The Machine. Seated in a chair that moves them around the room, they push buttons to summon music, food, communication with friends, a bed for whenever they want to sleep.
I read it in the late ‘60s, when it seemed like a cautionary tale from 1909 about letting machines do our work. In 1968, the only computers I knew of were giant sorting machines that pushed rods through perforated file cards.
Now it seems eerily prescient.
The main character, Vashti, has left her room only a handful of times in her life, yet she “knew several thousand people.”
Her room is almost empty, but gives her everything she needs. She has one book, The Book Of The Machine, left over from “the age of litter.”
When her son calls her from his own underground room across the world, she sees and hears him through a round plate that she holds in her hands, which, apart from the roundness, sounds a lot like a new iphone.
To talk with him, she goes into “isolation.” When she comes out, “all the accumulations of the last three minutes burst upon her. The room was filled with the noise of bells, and speaking-tubes. What was the new food like? Could she recommend it? Has she had any ideas lately? Might one tell her one’s own ideas? Would she make an engagement to visit the public nurseries at an early date?–say this day month.”
Then, tellingly: “To most of these questions she replied with irritation–a growing quality in that accelerated age.”
I didn’t remember these quotes, and I don’t own a copy of the book.
Due to the magic of the internet, I was able to Google the title, and download a free copy within minutes.
When I first read this book, if you wanted information, you went to the library to get it, and carried it home, like a bucket of water.
Now our homes have hot and cold running information, piped in.
And we might, if we like, go to a Universal Breathing Room, and do our pranayama, or our chanting “together” with recorded voices.
The implications? Too much for me on a sunny day when I could go for a walk. What do you think?
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After several days of having the random pose selector come up with puzzling combinations, (Swastikasana and Supta Swastikasana, Paripurna Navasana and Karnapidasana, anyone?) this morning’s poses are a pleasant little song, easy to sequence, easy to link.
When I try them out in practice, I plan to try Kelly’s suggestion of linking soft and receding groins.