Yoga Lessons from Zombieland

It’s Halloween, I thought we’d talk about zombies.

I recently saw the movie Zombieland and loved it. Being a yogaster I naturally saw a lot of yoga-y parallels from the movie. To wit, a couple rules of surviving Zombieland:

Rule 5: No Attachments: This is a tough one but you can not have attachments. If you got kids or a wife you’re less likely to survive then the gal or guy who has no attachments and nothing slowing him or her down. Or worse yet making bonehead decisions like ‘going back into the room’

My interpretation: Impermanence – works in Humanland, works in Zombieland

Rule 6: Travel in a Group: The best way to increase your odds of survival when travelling in a zombie outbreak is to make sure your a traveling buffet. Rule 20: Find The Right Shelter: Shelter is key to survival but since we are already travelling in a group you should ask yourself why the shelter needs to be stationary.

My interpretation: Find a studio, a teacher, a tribe, a kula to practice with. Seek your own traveling buffet, um, err… sangha, and with this technology deal thing we have these days, that shelter needs not be at a fixed location.

Rule 10: Be Quiet: It’s the end of the world as you know it so try to avoid squeeling like a 4th grade school girl and perhaps invest in some good sneakers. Nobody said you have to kill all the zombies and there is certainly no shame in sneaking around and surviving versus tearing around like a madman and ending up being an undead happy meal.

My interpretation: there’s no shame in sitting by yourself, watch the breath, and maybe meditate. In addition to the physical practice of asana, there’s the quiet practice of pranayama. (Oh, I know, it’s more like, we sit and plan and remember and fantasize, but there’s no shame in trying to reach samadhi through meditation.)

Rule 15: Know Your Way out! Nothing worse than a poorly planned escape. If you’re going to be a hero it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and as the rule states.. know your way out!

My interpretation: knowing how to get out of a pose is just as important as getting in it.

Rule 17: Don’t Be a Hero: The hot chick who was totally gonna give you some is not worth becoming the undead. So when the going gets rough and the hot chick is about to get undead… it’s time to flee. No making a stand no ending up a brave zombie. Better to be a chicken liver live guy.

My interpretation: It’s not worth it to force yourself in a pose for a Hero Moment in class and pull a muscle. That hot chick might be impressed, but we pay for it later.

Rule 18: Limber Up: When either fighting a zombie or running from zombies its not a great time to be pulling a muscle or throwing your back out. So limbering up is kind of a must. Stretch it out a little.. it may save your life.

My interpretation: This one’s pretty obvious! Stretch. Daily. For life.

Rule 31: Check the Back Seat. I can’t tell you how many times somebody has eaten it or in this case been eaten because they are just not smart enough to check the back seat. Always check the back seat friends. Always!

My interpretation: We are always being told in yoga to open the heart, open the heart, open the heart, which is a Good Thing. However, like all things in life, we must equalize, and we have to remember and pay attention to the back body as much as the front body. Figuratively speaking, we learn to open the heart, but must also learn to set clear boundaries.

Rule 32: Enjoy the Little Things: It’s the end of the world. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Loot a neighbourhood or two, trash a car, speed! Do the little things and enjoy em. Who knows how long you have to live!

My interpretation: enuff said! (Okay, maybe hold off on the looting and trashing for a while yet :))

And of course, there’s always a good time to break the rule, like *be* a hero when the occasion calls for, you know, as Arjuna learned in the Bhagavad Gita, there is definitely an appropriate time to fight. And as Zombieland fans know, always double tap!

Whether you’re doing yoga as a human or a zombie (reading into this is allowed, as I know some of you will), I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!

Yama, is that you?

Yama, is that you?