Mission Impossible: staying yogic at Disney World


Yoga perishes by these six: overeating, overexertion, talking too much...
socializing and restlessness. -Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hello again. I've just returned from a week in an alternate universe: Disney World. If you are a big fan, I may offend you with this post. I'll try to keep my bah-humbugs to a minimum, since I truly don't want to spoil the magic...but damn, I design and lead active vacations for a living, and Disney kicked my ass. The upside is that 6 year old had the time of her life, and I'll admit I had my moments too...but I think we will cross that parenting rite-of-passage off the list without looking back.

It was tough to stay centered chez Disney. Yoga? pppfffftttt. I optimistically packed my yoga mat and luckily was able to squeeze in a few poses here and there, but I was surprised that what I wanted to practice more than anything was breath work. The kind you might use in preparation for childbirth or stressful events. So I could go on about why I don't ❤ Disney, but I'll keep this focused on one main theme: throughout our week of sensory overload extraordinaire, I often wondered why people think they need to be constantly entertained and distracted; we're teaching our kids this at a place like Disney. I know, it's Disney and not real life, it's supposed to be fun and fantasy, etc. etc. - but the sheer number of opportunities to overstimulate astounded me. It was overwhelming, and at times, not so fun or fantastic. How many rides can we go on, how many things can we buy, how many giant-sized food portions can we consume...all I wanted to do at the end of my Disney days was sit quietly in a dark room and breathe deeply to calm my nervous system down.

I think there is a parallel outside the world of Disney: we often lose touch with stillness in our daily quest to constantly "do". In fact, it's almost become a bad thing to be still. I think what irked me so about Disney is seeing this cultural problem being exploited and encouraged to the nth degree. I'm part of a movement that is trying to get people to slow down and savor stillness. It's no wonder I had a hard time staying yogic at Disney.

Alright, rant over. Rest assured that I rallied for 6 year old's sake, and rode every roller coaster with a big smile on my face (practicing pranayama, of course).

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