I’m in Disney World right now, but I was sure to pack my yamas. (It’s cool, the TSA allows a maximum of five.)
As I wrote about in my previous post, it’s very possible to practice yoga without stepping on a mat. The physical form of yoga we all know and love–asana–is just one limb of eight that comprise the complete practice. Yamas is one of those other limbs, and it refers to measures of self-restraint. As Aadil Palkhivala states in his wonderfully written article, “the five yamas–kindness, truthfulness, abundance, continence, and self-reliance–are oriented toward our public behavior and allow us to coexist harmoniously with others.” Paired with the niyamas (another limb that includes five elements), the yamas are very much like a Ten Commandments for the yoga world.
Palkhivala’s article (which I’ll quote throughout this post) is very well written for those who are curious how to incorporate the yamas into their physical practice and puts these esoteric Sanskrit terms into everyday context. But how does one appreciate and practice the yamas while standing in line for 30 minutes to ride Space Mountain, like I’m doing now?
Yama #1: Ahimsa
“Ahimsa traditionally meant ‘do not kill or hurt people.’ This can be extrapolated to mean that we should not be violent in feelings, thoughts, words, or actions. At root, ahimsa means maintaining compassion towards yourself and others. It means being kind and treating all things with care.”
Ahimsa means keeping your cool, even when this kid throws a temper tantrum for 45 minutes straight while waiting for the afternoon parade to begin at Hollywood Studios. Ahimsa is what keeps us from flipping out on the parents, who look the other way and laugh as their boy wails loud enough to be heard over at Epcot.
Forcing your spouse into drinking the “Beverly” soft drink over at Epcot’s Coca-Cola Club Cool strays from ahimsa. We all know it tastes like sh*t, and it’s not very nice to torture each other for the sake of a funny photo.
On a more serious note, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at Disney World and want to cram everything into the day. When the body asks for some rest, accept it. Besides, that’s what the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, railroad, monorail, and the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch are for.
Lastly, no matter how much fun a ride is, don’t overdo it. Remember self-compassion–ahimsa–and stick to no more than three consecutive rides on the teacups. Two if you’ve just eaten.
Yama #2: Satya
“Satya means ‘truth,’ or ‘not lying.’ Practicing satya means being truthful in our feelings, thoughts, and words, and deeds. It means being honest with ourselves and with others.”
Satya means withholding from telling your mate that the Beverly drink tastes “Awesome! You gotta try it!” (see above).
Satya means it’s OK to not really like the Hall of Presidents, to think Mission: Space is eh, or ::gasp:: to admit that the Carousel of Progress should be next on the chopping block. (The latter was really hard to write, but that’s the point of satya–be true to your feelings, despite the discomfort it may cause.)
Satya is being truthful about one’s obsession with Stitch and never playing down her love of the big blue alien, despite being a grown-up.
There are three more yamas that should be in your carry-on before any vacation, but you’ll have to wait until Thursday for the full Disney-fied breakdown. Stay tuned, and see ya real soon!