Technology has become so pervasive in our work and lives that it is almost impossible to pull away from it.
It almost feels like a body appendage. Without it we feel handicapped.
And yet, countless studies have shown that sitting in front of our digital devices for long periods of time is really unhealthy for us.
That’s why I recently unplugged from it all and put myself through a two-week Digital Detox.
This was not your average Digital Detox, where one decides to give up all things digital for awhile. Nope. My Digital Detox was well planned and carefully designed for cleansing, rest and rejuvenation for the body, mind and spirit by an Ayurvedic Practitioner, Valerie Goulding.
The end result has been beyond anything I imagined.
The best way to describe it is that it was transformational on a cellular level.
It created a huge shift for me and it radically changed the way I think about work and life.
Now before you think I went off the deep end and drank some spiritual guru’s kool-aid, I think it is important to know where I am coming from.
I am definitely not a “woo-woo” type of person or “new-agey” or a “Law of Attraction” kinda gal.
Not that I am judging anyone who is. It’s just not who I am.
I consider myself a practical and pragmatic human being with solid values.
I actually find the personal development industry to be sketchy at best and exploitative at worst. Yet, it is a multi-billion dollar industry and, like the vitamin supplement industry, there never seems to be a shortage of customers.
That’s not to say that there are some genuine thought leaders in the self-improvement industry like Ken Wilber.
So, with my healthy sense of skepticism, I did not go into this Digital Detox expecting a Body, Mind, Spirit awakening.
As a matter of fact. I had no preconceived notions.
Instead, I went in allowing myself to be open to the full experience by not becoming attached to any certain outcome.
However, nothing could have prepared me for the profound experience that was about to unfold.
Digital Detox Week 1
The first week of my Digital Detox was focused on food. I ate a special diet mostly of kitchari (made up of mung dahl beans, steamed vegetables, spices and basmati rice) which gently cleanses the body and calms the senses.
Throughout my Digital Detox I consumed a vegetarian, vegan diet of beans, rice, spices, vegetables, and fruits. I drank herbal teas and sipped on warm water throughout the day.
I drank no caffeine, no alcohol, ate no wheat and no sugar or meat. My digestion became more balanced, my mood stabilized and I felt very clear.
I continued to work, but slowly began to pull away from technologies. I did not go cold turkey. That would have been much too abrupt for me.
Digital Detox Week 2
At the start of the second week, I checked into a sweet place called Broad Street Inn near the Ayurvedic practitioner’s treatment office.
The idea was to get out of my work and home environment to allow for complete focus on rest and relaxation without distraction while I received multiple days of medicinal body treatments for 3-4 hours per day.
The Ayurvedic practitioner told me that she would be “holding space” for me throughout the duration of the Digital Detox.
The best way I can describe “holding space” is that it’s like having the ultimate customer experience.
Imagine being cared for in such a way that you completely forget about all your worries, fears, insecurities and anxieties as you are drawn into an energetic field of pure bliss and happiness.
Beautiful, healthy, fresh and delicious dishes were prepared for me everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner by my Ayurvedic practitioner.
All my body treatments began with prayer and sanskrit chanting (which sounds like singing).
Again, imagine lying on a massage table in a beautiful room with the scents of lavender, sandalwood and ylang-ylang diffusing through the air while the voice of an angel begins to pray for your spiritual, body, and mind healing in song.
The body treatments lasted between 3-4 hours each day and always started with an abyangha massage and ended with an enema.
In between the massage and the enema, I received various medicinal body treatments. The photo below (apologies for the bad quality photo) is me receiving an eye basti. The dam is made up of garbanzo bean flour.
Back to the enema, the ultimate detox!
I had two water, two oil, and two coffee enemas during my Digital Detox.
Not being an enema enthusiast, I had some apprehension about them. But after experiencing the first one, which was painless and easy, all my angst quickly melted away.
My understanding about enemas is that the experience can vary greatly from individual to individual.
I initially felt exhausted after the first few and all I wanted to do was rest afterwards. However, with each passing day, my body began to feel lighter and more agile and I did not seem to tire from them as much.
A bonus side effect from the enemas is that I lost about 1/2 pound a day.
Oil Is To The Body What Love Is To The Heart
In Ayurveda, oil is used a lot. Did I say a lot? I mean A LOT. There’s a saying in Ayurveda that oil is to the body what love is the heart. In other words, we cannot live without it.
Imagine your body as a birthday cake and you are cooling off on the rack from having been baked in the oven. Now it’s time for the pastry chef to slather you up with frosting.
Lots of of thick, creamy frosting.
Except you are on a massage table and the Ayurvedic practitioner is massaging heaps and heaps of oils infused with the most amazing scented herbs that are especially chosen for your specific body type.
It’s as if I had my very own personal herbalist hand crafting each oil treatment for me. The oil fragrance was intoxicating.
During my Digital Detox, I took long quiet walks in the woods and participated in slow restorative yoga.
I also journaled, meditated and slept a lot, because that’s what my body wanted to do.
I even read a book by Deepak Chopra that’s been on my reading list for over a decade!
The Digital Detox Results
To say that my Digital Detox was life-altering would be an understatement. It was so much more than taking a break from technology.
The sense of lightness, peace, clarity and renewal is evident.
I am also eating slower and chewing my food more thoroughly, which is much better for digestion.
I am becoming more aware of my breathing and conscious of how my body feels. In other words, I am tuning into what my body needs like rest, play, social or quiet time.
As it turns out, my Digital Detox is an ancient process called Pancha Karma, which is an Ayurvedic practice that is designed to cleanse and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit.
I feel as if I have found an invaluable secret to achieving wellness in the face of modern living.
Now that I have fully experienced a Pancha Karma, my life will never be the same.
I am forever changed.
I have truly NEVER felt so calm and clear in my entire life.
Technology and modern life are amazing in their innovation, sophistication, pace and power. I’ve become a full-on geek over the years, no denying it.
Regardless, as the co-creator of a software app, I am a believer in unplugging the cords and tuning in at intervals.
Not just to keep it real, but to keep myself healthy and vibrant.
It’s kind of a paradox. An ancient healing science that offers the keys to health and wellness in a high-tech world.
Why just survive in the world today when you can thrive with a Digital Detox. Seems right, somehow.
Thank you Valerie Goulding of Vital Living. Your work is sacred and so vitally important for all who seek long-term healing and health.
Have you ever gone through a Digital Detox? I ‘d love to learn what you did to unplug from technology. Please share your comments below.