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Election 2012

Yoga for Presidential Candidates

Running for president is stressful and allows little time for exercise. But a special set of yoga positions, from the Downward-Facing Spiral to a Soaring Newt, can offer just the break from routine that a candidate needs.

"The strong man of the Republican party," Judge, May 30, 1891.

The Inclined Hero

Begin by becoming aware of your breath. Remind yourself that you’ve been engaged in this activity for quite some time, whether you knew it or not. You are a good breather. Inhale the energy around you, wherever that may be. Pause for effect. Exhale stress, toxins, and third-party alternatives. Feel your body warming and renewing, from your head and neck to your arms and torso. Awareness should stop then, above the waist. Instead, feel the tumescence all around you. The energy is real. The light radiant. So much so that it is difficult to see the cameras from where you are. Feel your skin glowing, still more than usual. Inhale, and as you do, say silently in your mind, “Class.” Relax your face. Exhale while saying silently again, “Warfare.” Exhale again. Gulp the coffee before you. Gracefully skirt the question you’ve been asked. Know that you have just done something profound. 

Blinking to Bliss

The first blink is for consciousness. Second blink for joyfulness. Third blink for South Carolina. Fourth blink for empowerment. Fifth blink for the disempowerment of others. Don’t stop blinking, even though by now you may have become aware of how your blinking will be remarked upon tomorrow and that by afternoon it will have transformed into an unshakeable meme complete with a clever pun incorporating your name. The sixth blink becomes you. Raise arms. Feel stomach roiling. Straighten back into a glorious ramrod. Envision the size of the font at the top of the blogs. The seventh blink furthers the eternal cycle of bliss.

The Mindful Backpedal

Start by getting ahead of yourself. Way ahead. It’s OK if this feels initially uncomfortable. It’s something you will grow accustomed to over time. Continue repeating the message until you run out of breath and a blue vein of your choosing bulges. Return to a high lunge. If you do not know what that is, you had no business making the statement you made earlier this morning. Bask in the essence of its being too late now. Find something to do with your hands. Breathe out through your mouth. Directly into a microphone, if one is available to you. This is merely one in a series of gaffes. Walk backward the way you came. Recognize that this is what was meant to happen. Explain yourself, taking time to contemplate and honor the meaning of each word that flows out of your head.

The Arched Pander

You have something crucial to impart. You may not be certain what it is yet, but trust—in your core—that you do. You are a loving, healing individual. Lick lips repeatedly. Gesture with arms and fingers fully extended to an approving member of the group stopped while eating pork chops on a stick at the state fair. This person is your soulmate. This person will see you through all this. This person is louder than you. However, if you still find yourself stuck, it may help to visualize an image. Do not focus on an image that your campaign manager thinks will be appealing. Instead, visualize what everyone else suggests. Accommodate your listeners’ every desire, even when it entails only more pork chops. Be an empty vessel by which they can propel you to the goals they’ve set for you. From here, blurt as only you know you can. Repudiate the first thing that comes to mind. There is more to you to than we all assumed.

Preen. Preen with devotion to the setting sun. Declare yourself a student of history.

The Lying Plank

Assume the regular position. Make sure it is an unbending one that has also been tested in polls. Assert this position while wagging one finger. Feel a sensation spreading from the finger all the way to the dimples of your cheeks. Freeze. Remain in a state of tranquil repose. By now, the public at large should understand that all widely accepted evidence indicates the direct contrary to what you’ve just avowed. But do not let this distract you. Infuse your position with your own unwavering belief in yourself. Stay centered in your stillness. Softly cling to this newly deepened sense of personal peace.

The Baby Toss

Hold the infant person that you have been handed. Show your deep and expanding humanity. Then, until you feel you can hold it no longer, conceal that humanity. Repeat. Reveal humanity. Conceal. Stay with conceal. Grasp minuscule non-voter confidently. Failing that, ask an assistant to spot you. Feel the gentle vibration of energy flowing. Quickly force air from your diaphragm, allowing it to pass out of your mouth and nostrils in staggered gusts. Tilt head back. Close eyes. This is referred to as a “laugh.” Feel body shaking. Jowls loosening. Remember not to stray too far from concealing. 

The Soaring Newt

Preen. Preen with devotion to the setting sun. Declare yourself a student of history. But more to the point, you are a teacher. You have so much to instill in every living thing, every part of nature. The cosmos understands how much unconditional love you have to give. Vigorously tighten hamstrings. Raise eyebrows. Lower. Now furrow. Bring awareness to your belly. Consider what it might look like if you could breathe through your navel. Exhale merrily for all to see. From there, talk down to others. Proceed as though they care. Speak as though they are listening.

Downward-Facing Spiral

Having progressed to a new level of attentiveness, it’s time to reassess what you have learned. Release your buttocks down onto your heels. Prostrate yourself on the ground. Relieve yourself in the presence of staff, if necessary. It is normal to despair at this stage of your personal journey. Realize for the first time, as you inevitably self-destruct minutes before a speech in a key swing state, that you have only begun to comprehend. Soon you will be asked to confront a master. The path you have chosen, it turns out, was a trap he laid solely for you. His calm makes a mockery of your own meager progress. His technique is such that he appears to be engaged in no technique at all. He is a vision. He has been waiting for you your entire life. But don’t allow yourself to wallow in hopelessness. In the end, there are larger issues. Besides, this is all probably a socialist thing.

Nathaniel Missildine lives in Dijon, France, with his wife and two daughters. His recently published travel memoir, Save for Fireflies, chronicles a road trip across America as a kind of native tourist. For more, visit his website. More by Nathaniel Missildine