Theme song: Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe
Humans have a hard time turning the “off” switch. We have the ability to lie in bed, perfectly still and cozy away from harm, and yet our heart can race because of our thoughts. Think about it. Just a thought can change the functioning of the cells in our body.
For zebras, this stress response is saved for the 3 minute lion escape across the savanna. They’re not going to waste it on something that’s not going to kill them RIGHT NOW. In the 24s video above notice only a few seconds when the zebras react in a WTF? manner to our clicking cameras. Then, it’s over. They get back to business.* That’s living in the moment. They don’t waste precious energy and we shouldn’t either.
Robert Sapolsky is awesome. He’s a neuroscientist & primatologist. Watch this video explanation of his work in Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.
If you or anyone you know suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, you get it: combat, abuse, and sadly many other forms of chronic trauma can actually have a shrinking effect on the hippocampus. For those of us lucky ones without PTSD, daily stressors can still screw with us. There is support for the health benefits of deep breathing techniques. You can actually feel it affect your vagus nerve as you slowww down your exhale.
Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. Om Ganesha Sharanam
I’m no Sanskrit scholar, but was told this loosely translates into: When the shit hits the fan, where do you go for shelter? (Thank you, Michael Johnson. Watch his asanas while he explains the essence of yoga.) Essentially, we should be more like zebras. Wait until the shit really hits the fan- then just breathe through it.
*Fun Fact: When zebras are together in a herd, they’re usually facing different directions to watch for danger. Asses in the middle, eyes out & around.