There’s no way of knowing when a tragedy may strike, but knowing what to do in the event of an emergency by conditioning your brain beforehand will give you a much higher chance of survival. Referred to as your “disaster personality,” by Amanda Ripley in her latest article “How to Survive A Disaster” in this week’s TIME magazine, your response to an emergency echoes the core of your being, getting down to exactly who we are as humans. Under great stress our brains switch into instinctive mode often times giving us the old deer in the headlights routine as a way of protection. Unfortunately we know too well what can happen to that poor deer. The good news is we can condition our brains to react much more effectively and it’s no surprise that controlled breathing is a major key, and that yoga is an ideal tool to have in your emergency tool kit.
How To Survive A Disaster [TIME]
These 5 Tips are from a sidebar of the TIME article, which we couldn’t find online, so we typed the main points out for you below with some added commentary.
Basically, when it comes down to responding to an emergency people can really surprise themselves, whether it be positively heroic, or not. Yoga as a whole can teach us more about ourselves and perhaps even (sometimes unconsciously) prepare us for life’s unexpected.
“People who respond well to trauma tend to have three underlying advantages; a belief that they can influence events, an ability to find meaningful purpose in life’s turmoil and a conviction that they can learn from positive and negative experiences.”
A can-do attitude really goes a long way. Yoga teaches the power of a positive and capable mind.
“Sometimes a small amount of information can help us tap into a vein of resilience we didn’t know we had…of all passengers involved in serious [plane] accidents between 1983 and 2000, 56% survived.”
Simple knowledge like having an idea where the nearest exit is, or how to inflate a safety device can prepare you for when you don’t have time to think. Of course knowing is in direct partnership with learning. In yoga we open the pathway to higher knowledge by giving ourselves the opportunity to be students and learn through asana practice.
3. Anxiety Level (here’s a big one)
“…people with generally high anxiety levels tend to overreact to extreme stress. Their brains, overwhelmed by the situation, sort through their database of responses and choose the wrong one.”
In essence, the fight or flight response. As we know in yoga, anxiety is quieted by controlled, rhythmic breathing, aka pranayama techniques. People are catching on to the enormous benefits of controlling the breath in order to react to situations with much more clarity and dexterity, including police officers in weapons training.
4. Body Weight
“The cruel reality of physics is that overweight people move more slowly and need more space, so they have more trouble fleeing.”
It’s true my friends. So get to yoga class and keep your bodies healthy!
“The best way to improve performance is to practice.”
This is something we are all familiar with. Taking yoga as an example, the more you do your physical practice the more muscle memory you gain so you progress deeper each time. The first time you try a more difficult pose there’s always the sense of fear and stress because you’ve never done it before. But the more you try it the more your body understands what it’s supposed to do and the movement becomes effortless. When in the face of danger, like a fire for example, having the sequence of motions already mapped out in your mind from practice drills can really make a difference.