What do yoga and saving the world from a zombie invasion have in common? If you thought nothing, you clearly haven’t talked to Doris Rusch, creator of the Xbox Kinect video game Zombie Yoga. In this game, players do four different yoga poses, like warrior 1 or tree pose, to direct light (their inner light) to ward off pesky zombie invaders. If you just said, uh…duh! you’ve been watching way too much television and will be so well prepared for the zombiepocalypse.
Zombie Yoga, how did it come to be? Developer Rusch explains that she was inspired to create this game based on a profound energetic experience in tai chi class. She felt that incorporating yoga was a way to leverage the practice to empower players by stimulating the mind and soul. Nevermind the bakasana, we can’t imagine battling zombies, yoga or not!
However, the zombies, in this situation, are metaphorical. According to Rusch, “The game pits a player versus his or her inner struggles with a focus on the themes of loss, recovering playfulness, and individuation – how one individual is thought to be distinct from another,” she said in an interview earlier this year. “The zombies represent these inner anxieties that consume us,” she continued, “and the only way to fight back against them is through the usage of the correct yoga poses.”
So that’s why we have trouble meditating. It’s a zombie attack!
If you’re still unclear about how zombies have anything to do with yoga, you’re not alone. Some, like The National Endowment of the Arts liked the concept and granted the developer thousands of dollars to create the game. Microsoft, on the other hand, didn’t buy the pitch. One executive felt offended by the use of yoga in the game. “He noted correctly that this game would not be able to provide the same experience a yoga class could,” Rusch said. Which begs the question, is Zombie Yoga just exploiting the billion dollar yoga industry or can it be one more tool yogis can use to further support their practice?
According to the Zombie Yoga (full name Zombie Yoga – Recovering the Inner Child) facebook page, a study was underway last year to figure out that very thing: gathering user research to determine whether or not the game “fosters physical and emotional empowerment in players.” At this point, YD was unable to locate any results.
“Despite various hurdles and time constraints, we believe we can out-yoga all the odds and make a Kinect game that changes people’s perceptions of what this new medium and technology is capable of,” Rusch said.
Released Summer of 2012, Zombie Yoga is now free to download and play (if you have a PC and a Kinect controller). So if trick or treating on Halloween isn’t your thing, maybe battling zombies through yoga poses better suits your fancy.
All we can say is thank goodness we don’t have any real zombies in yoga class. Or do we?! At least we know we’ll be ready for the inevitable zombie invasion. We’ll start in corpse pose.
Here’s the creepy intro:
And some gameplay:
- Death Pose Anyone? Yoga in a Cemetery (watch for zombies)
- Eyes-Free Yoga May Prove More Accessible for the Blind
- True to Form, Grand Theft Auto V Raunchily Spoofs Yoga Culture, Gamers