How Yoga Could Save You During the Zombie Apocalypse
Do you worry about the zombie apocalypse?
Or, more likely, you already feel overwhelmed by everyday worries and stresses.
If you’re ready to deal with your sky-high stress level, yoga can help. Today we’ll talk about five ways yoga could save you during those high stress days, when you feel like the undead are about to bust through your front door.
1) Yoga improves your health.
You already know this, but it bears repeating. Yoga makes you stronger and more flexible, lowers your heart rate (a strong indication of good health), and increases feelings of well-being. It takes time to work back to a healthy place. Adding yoga to your routine can help you maintain your health for when it counts. Imagine trying to outrun a zombie horde feeling tired and sniffly. It sounds miserable!
2) Yoga stimulates your “rest and digest” response.
Your nervous system has two modes: your body is either preparing to “fight or flight” or to “rest and digest.” After you make it to your zombie-proof safe-house, you’ll need a way to turn off your high stress response, your readiness to fight or run away. Your body needs time to rest, repair, digest, and eliminate waste. Luckily, yoga, especially restorative poses and Savasana, increases this parasympathetic response. As you relax in Savasana, your heart rate and breathing slow down, allowing your body to relax. A complete yoga practice finely tunes the nervous system to respond appropriately to stimulus. So you’ll be able to break into a run at the first signs of a zombie attack AND get your rest when you’re back to safety.
3) Yoga decreases cortisol levels.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, builds up from daily or high stress events. Whether the stress is from your packed schedule or your first sighting of a zombie, cortisol causes all kinds of problems: decreased immune response, increased fat (leading to heart problems), and impaired thinking, to name a few. Studies of college students have found that yoga practiced regularly actually decreases cortisol levels, reducing your risk for those problems.
4) Yoga acts as an antidepressant.
During the zombie apocalypse, the stress of societal breakdown, loss of loved ones, and your fears about your own survival may lead to depression and anxiety. Yoga can act as an antidepressant by reducing cortisol levels as noted above and by increasing GABA levels. GABA is a neurotransmitter that slows the firing of neurons in the brain which has a calming effect and elevates mood. Talk to anyone who has been practicing yoga regularly and they will confirm its positive effects on mood!
5) Yoga helps you feel hopeful.
Watch an episode of The Walking Dead and you see that a world with zombies is pretty bleak. Yoga brings back a sense of calm, peace, and relaxation. In a 2011 study of college students with moderate depression, anxiety, or stress, participants who practiced yoga indicated an increased feeling of hope. Imagine the value of these feelings after the shock of the zombie apocalypse.
So, I know that the idea of a zombie apocalypse isn’t really stressing you out. But hopefully you see how yoga can combat illness, stress, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness in very real ways. Let’s practice together soon!
One more thing…Happy Halloween!
*This post came from “Calming, Inspiring, Lifesaving: The Benefits of Yoga for Survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse,” a paper I wrote at Harrisburg Area Community College during the Spring 2014 Zombies In Contemporary Culture course.