Occasionally a student will approach me before class in an apologetic frenzy. Their child is ill, or their sister is in labor. They are going to leave their phone out and may run out to respond to a text or take a call.
Those students aren't the ones I'm talking to.
I'm talking to the ones who walk into the practice space loudly chatting with friends, their eyes glued to their mobile devices. The ones who roll out their mats and sit down to scroll through their Twitter feed and send off a couple quick text messages before class. I'm especially talking to the students who do those things DURING class.
It is hard to believe, but yes, some students are unable to disconnect from their devices while practicing. We all heard about this yoga teacher. If you haven't, a quick summary: she was teaching a corporate class at Facebook headquarters when a student checked her phone during class. The teacher expressed her displeasure and was fired shortly thereafter. But that's Facebook. Silicon Valley executives can't be expected to completely unplug, right?
Just a couple weeks ago, I had a student demonstrate the strength of her down dog by using one hand to type out text messages mid-class. This was a Sunday noon class at a Midwestern YMCA, not a high-powered workplace environment. Even worse, I know this student socially. I know she isn't a rude or disrespectful person, so I was stunned to see her multitasking throughout her sun salutations.
We've adapted to having access to the voices of others 24/7. I once told a studio owner that I prefer to teach without music because yoga is about listening to yourself, and she laughed. Here's the thing about smart phones: they'll still be there in an hour. Respect your teacher, your practice, and yourself by setting them aside before you enter the practice room. Yoga is a space for hearing your own voice. You'll miss it if you can't disconnect from the barrage of voices streaming through your smart phone.