When I started my martial arts practice almost 12 years ago, I would rotely bow on to the floor. It was one of those rules of courtesy, like shaking someone’s hand or saying “how are you?” that I performed as part of the routine.
But then one day, my instructor opened my eyes to another way to think about “bowing in” to a class. Senior Instructor Susan Rogers of New Paltz Karate told me to think of it as a symbol, an intention to be fully present and leave behind everything in my day. Setting this simple intention, to take a break from life’s stresses, made my martial arts experience even more healing and healthy.
March 2 is the National Day of Unplugging. If you’re reading this now, you obviously haven’t yet unplugged from technology. But do you know that you should be taking more time away from your devices and diving into experiences.
Research shows that unplugging after work is crucial to recharge for the next work day. Researchers at Kansas State University have found that although we may resist it, we really do need downtime after work to mentally recharge for the next day. What’s more studies have linked overuse of technology to lack of focus, depression and antisocial behavior.
It might be hard to unplug at home. So why not find a regular activity such as a karate class, where you can engage with an awesome community of people, and challenge your mind and body to learn something new? It’s really almost impossible to think about that frustrating talk with your boss, or the mean kid at school, when you’re doing pushups, performing group kata or sparring.
Bow in to life, you’ll be glad you did.
Meghan Borland is a senior instructor at Traditional Okinawan Karate of Pleasant Valley.
Our schools proudly bring the traditional martial arts of karate, jujitsu and aikido to our communities with classes for adults and kids.
New Paltz Karate: also serving Highland, Rosendale, Gardiner, Modena, Plattekill and Wallkill.
TOK Brooklyn: also serving New York City, Sunnyside Queens, Bushwick, Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Flatbush, Ridgewood, Bed-Stuy (Bedford-Stuyvesant), Maspeth, and Greenpoint.
TOK Kinnelon: also serving Butler, Pompton Lakes, Riverdale, and Pequannock, West Milford, Bloomingdale and Wayne.
TOK Pleasant Valley: also serving Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Lagrangeville, Millbrook, Hyde Park, Salt Point and Verbank.
TOK East Fishkill: also serving Hopewell Junction, East Fishkill, Wappingers, Fishkill, Beacon, and Stormville