A journey into the world of Yoga and meditation, how they bring us back to basics and how to apply them to the world of digital content writing.

Back To The Future

The year is 2030.

“Hey! Did you try it as a kid?” “Yes, I must admit! I tried it once but I inhaled without using the diaphragm! So I guess it doesn’t count!”

One could think that it is just a normal conversation between grown-ups discussing cannabis, but in fact it is about meditation and yoga and how we figure out it will be something so common and evolving that we will refer to it as an experience rather than an activity.
“Yoga and laughing have helped defeating the frequent stress that worried past generations”, slogan will read.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Yoga?
Probably good posture, relaxation and mental order.

In a certain way, Yoga and meditation are also about ordering thoughts and perceptions, focusing on what matters and melting away all the unuseful stuff we have to deal with everyday and which often causes anxieties. It’s like going back to basics, holding on to our essence of human beings.
So what should be a good architecture for a website or a blog about Yoga to express this mindset? This gain of awareness and order that follows a session of Yoga should also be reproduced in a website whose main focus is to talk about the practice and deliver it to newbies. For example, in the blog section of the website Yoga della Risata, posts and events are only listed in chronological order, as blogs used to do in the past; it can definetely produce a lot of stress when trying to decode the content instead of being the other way round. 🙂

Laugh Your Head Off

We don’t laugh enough and self-irony is not fashionable nowadays, maybe we take ourselves too seriously and there is this recurring feeling that laughing won’t let us focus on our objectives in life.
When we think about it, a spontaneous laughter may mostly occur when something unexpected happens: like a friend stumbling on the street or someone makes a joke. This is even more true when you realize that it is practically impossible to laugh without an event provoking the laughter.
Most people are unaware that laughing is also a meditation technique: laughter meditation is a proper way to feel better and positive and like other techniques it is proven to boost the immune system, lower stress and aid digestion. Try for yourself, all you have to do is just laugh on an empty stomach!

Order And Meditation

As proven above, meditation has faceted meanings, they go from think about it to forget it to just laugh yourself out. Considering the extensive production of books, courses, events and websites on the matter we must assume that meditation does work: it frees our minds from useless attentions and makes us happier.
Everyone is unique and uniquely follows its path, the number of meditations is at least the same as the number of individuals ever appeared on our planet. This means they are supposed to grow.
Moreover if we take for granted that nothing and no one exist autonomously and independently, as the following article implies (link in Italian) there must be something that connects all diversity, dots that connect all the paths. The article is taken from Meditare.net a website that promotes and introduces books about the mind and meditation to users, but not only that.

In the summary of the twin website Meditare.it,  we can scroll a classification of content in alphabetical order: each section of content has plenty of internal posts that resemble a simple digital encyclopedia of meditation.

To be so this content should be organized and delivered to users. It would be great if every site could provide its users with an internal encyclopedia of concepts organized in such a way that nothing goes unread or is unclear to the reader.
Truth is that when users visit websites the principle of serendipity often applies: you’re looking for something but there comes a link to some other article that makes you curious, this casual intuition is also celebrated in this blogpost (link in Italian). Surely, a lot of good things in life are unexpected and unpredictable but a website really shouldn’t be!
This confusion is generated by a lack of standardization of semantic languages, which has been proposed by schema.org  and DBpedia. The semantic web gives us the immense opportunity to adopt a language in form of metadata, that can be readable both by humans and machines. That is order! Imagine to have the opportunity to associate each type of yoga practice to a certain style and position and make it understandable and searchable by everyone, be it person or computer.

Connect the dots

The image is taken from the website CoseperCrescere.it

Start The Revolution!

When using structured content it is easier to find what you’re looking for, as content is organized and linked to other relevant and related content.
TaoRoma is the blog of an association whose goal is to promote and introduce martial and taoist arts into our hectic daily life.
Using WordLift they have structured the content of their blog, just so that it does what they created it for: showing organized content that would be relevant to readers. While creating and taking care of entities they have built their own encyclopedia. And it works just great!
When creating entities for anatomical parts of the body WordLift has attached and connected to every entity the data provided by DBpedia. In our case, every entity was marked with an rdf:type Anatomical Structure (here you can find DBpedia’s ontology). This classification can be used in many ways, as it gives the possibility to create personalized menus on the website, implementing a bot etc.

Below is the query SPARQL that makes TaoRoma’s blog easier to browse and the list of results of the related entities: a lot of different ways to find and read content. In fact, with this query we can easily find all the entities that are marked as Anatomical Structure on the blog. The content is structured with metadata that WordLift learned from open encyclopedias, like DBpedia, in our case.

SELECT ?s WHERE { ?s a <http://dbpedia.org/ontology/AnatomicalStructure> }

Here we are asking (with the help of DBpedia) give me all the “things” that are Anatomical Structure on the website

Query Yoga Entities

If we want to face the changes that the web is going through, we have to start using a technical language that can be automatically attached to content; a language of metadata in which there are no terms that can’t be read both from humans and machines. A language composed of concrete words, univocally recognizable.
When publishing content on your WordPress website you will automatically communicate to machines and humans that the triangle position is a basic position, which style it is and its origins and if it can be part of yoga therapy.

We can face the confusion on the web, we can change the implications of search engines and of users that follow their rules; we have to let go of abstract languages that bind our communication in a billion of tags and relations, but we must do it all laughing. ?  We can trace a new path without waiting for the internet to change, we can start the revolution using a software like WordLift.

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