by Rachel Meyer
There’s a long-running yoga teacher cliche that goes something like this: “The hardest yoga pose is savasana.”
I beg to differ.
The hardest yoga pose is Hillary Clinton sitting silently onstage while her former opponent (a man whom she beat by 3 million votes in the popular vote and who was possibly/probably elected via illegitimate Russian means) is inaugurated as President of the United States.
I mean, can you imagine?
I stood in my kitchen Friday morning and scanned Twitter for inauguration updates. Slate tweeted a video of the Clintons stepping out of their town car and preparing to walk into the ceremony, Hillary clad in peaceful winter white. That’s when it really hit me: My God, this poor human has the hardest job in the world today. She’s gotta stride in and smile gracefully and sit on that platform with all the other former Presidents and their wives and pretend that she’s not totally, wretchedly miserable.
No matter where you stand on the election, you’ve gotta have sympathy for the agony of that experience for any human being.
What pure torture to walk onto that stage and know the world’s eyes are upon you, just waiting for you to betray a glimpse of pain, and to have to stay calm and pleasant when your insides are screaming bloody murder.
This is also known as: yoga.
We walk into the yoga studio knowing, every single time, that at some point in the practice we’ll feel uncomfortable, awkward, frustrated, inadequate, angry. It comes with the territory. You hold a pose long enough, all your unresolved issues flare up. But you unroll the mat and stay, taking a deep breath, knowing it’s just a matter of time til everything complicated and ugly burbles to the surface and your mind screams, “Just give up and run outta here already!” But, no. Your job is to sit with the discomfort, watching it, noticing it, resisting the urge to run away or give up, and using the breath to remain tenderly with the pain until it passes.
It’s a practice of choosing how to react; of learning to watch the mind and not get caught up in it, realizing it’s not you; realizing you don’t have to get swept away in all your big feelings.
Which is EXACTLY what Hillary had to do last Friday.
Over the course of the campaign, much was made of her steely demeanor and untouchable poise, deliberately cultivated after years of living in the critical public eye. But this? This was a new high. A masterful performance. The ultimate yoga practice.
Hillary could’ve chosen differently. She could’ve—very understandably—bailed on attending the Inauguration. She could’ve bawled her eyes out mid-ceremony and run off the platform. (Which would, of course, have wrought a media shitstorm.) But to sit there onstage, listening, witnessing, the whole world watching, cameras trained on her face waiting for the slightest hint of a reaction, knowing she’s no doubt deeply in pain, and to manage to remain graceful and equanimous?
That, my friends, is yoga.
That is Buddha-level mastery.
(Okay, yes: maybe it was Xanax, too.)
She may not be the Commander In Chief. But she’s the yogi-in-chief, for sure.
Hillary: thanks for teaching me yoga. I am grateful. I hope you downed a cocktail the size of your head when that shit was finally over.
Rachel Meyer is a Portland, Oregon-based writer and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, On Being, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Yoga International, HuffPost, and more. You can find her at www.rachelmeyeryoga.com, on FB at facebook.com/rachelmeyeryoga, and on Twitter and Instagram @rachelmeyeryoga.
You know what, it didn’t even occur to me how hard that was for her, because she made it look easy. I didn’t feel sorry or bad for her, because she didn’t seem to feel bad, or ashamed, or embarrassed. She held her head high and acted with grace and dignity, and that’s all I saw. Good for her.
This is so true! I couldn’t believe she went to the inauguration but she’s powerful in her gracefulness.
She has such strength, determination, and a stillness about her. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for her. Her grace is inspiring.
I have thought of her often during these days. Her grace is unmatched. I truly hope we haven’t seen her completely retreat from us. She still has much to offer!
Wow, came to visit because site was recommended as a great fitness/yoga blog——— Wasn’t warned it was a left wing political blog. I LOVE yoga but DETEST Hillary Clinton. Thanks but NO thanks to this blog!
Couldn’t agree more. I always thought of yoga as a peaceful retreat from the stressors of the world in an effort to focus mental, physical, and spiritual well being. But, like the NFL, there always has to be someone who screws it up by throwing their BS political views in your face.
I have no sympathy for Hillary Clinton. She stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders and ran an awful campaign against the bafoon Donal Trump. Thus, she effectively divided the progressive movement.
In your mind, picture Hillary bustin out her best sun salutations. Yah, I cant picture it either. Hillary does not do yoga and never has. Hillary doing yoga, just another of countless lies. Hillary is everything anti yoga. And you know it.
Hillary has become an expert in cognitive dissonance after having married President Clinton in 1975 => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppcoeBtVQDo. She now believes, among other things, that laws, rules and regulations do not apply to her. Bernie would have been a great Democratic candidate, but his “free everything” would not have been free, especially in light of our $20+ trillion national debt.
Good to know..but i feel bad for her. 🙁
Your answer was just what I neeedd. It’s made my day!
“……That’s when it really hit me: My God, this poor human has the hardest job in the world today. ”
Really? Seriously? Didnt you think before writing this? Think about a NICU nurse’s day. Or the parents of the baby in the NICU. Or the struggling owner of an inner city business who just watched his store looted and burned by antifa BLM rioters. Or the parents of Kathryn Steinle on the day they buried her. Or the millions around the world who suffer daily under repressive socialist leftist regimes.
“…..and to have to stay calm and pleasant when your insides are screaming bloody murder.” Best not to use the m word in a blog post about Hill.
I definitely have sympathy