.Step. Right. Up.

Yoga with an agenda

“We’re here! This is the place!” Becky enthused, blue sky eyes twinkling with the assuredness of being in the right place among the right people.

“OK, you’ve talked me into it, but I still just don’t know how yoga is going to do anything for me. I just can’t stand the smell of incense; it’s so weird,” said Debbi.

“I told you, it’s not yoga! You’re not getting any younger, girlfriend. Just try it. If nothing else, everyone leaves with really good posture,” Becky replied.

“Well, as long as it isn’t all weird…” said Debbi, nose wrinkling at the imagined sandalwood smoke and sweaty brown bodies.

But no, it wasn’t like that at all. The closed venetian blinds swung and rattled slightly when they opened the glass door; the women and few men inside were all red-blooded Americans.

Soon, Debbi and Becky were settled on the mats, warming up, waiting for the class to begin.

“Oh, I’m so stiff,” said Debbi. “Right here in my back.”

“You slouch too much,” said Becky. “These classes are all about feeling proud of who you are. It’s your right to stand tall for Chrissake.”

“Well, I am sick of feeling bad about everything all the time. I just want things to be normal, you know?” Debbi looked around the room again as she reached weakly for the toes of one foot, then another.

Just when she was starting to wonder when the class would begin, a teacher came out with a headset mic and an outfit she was truly envious of—rock hard body sheathed in a MAGA-red headband.

“I’m Kaitlyn, y’all,” hollered the instructor into the PA. “I hope you’re here to get out of your own way, cause we’re about to kick your Debbie Downer in her flabby butt!”

Becky winked at Debbi.

The exercises started simple, then instruction got more specific. Kaitlyn’s corrections became more harsh, as the group became more in sync. Soon no deviation from the group in form or movement was spared a recrimination from the ruthless teacher.

“Whether you are ready or not, we’re going to get you there! You’re about to be who you really are! And-a one, and-a two,” said Kaitlyn.

Bodies moved in unison, backs, legs, arms, heads held just so, one bold, brave, uniform mass of unity visible in the mirror.

Debbi watched her reflection as she followed the shouted instructions. Each person stood tall and proud for Kaitlyn’s every word.

“Legs now! March in place!” she commanded. Debbi matched the others as they swung up their legs straight forward, then back down, left, right, left, right.

“Now, add your arms!” Kaitlyn shouted, “Like your life depends on it, and … Right! … Right! … Right!”

In the mirror there Debbi was, standing tall, launching forward her right arm, saluting her growth, her freedom, her right to be herself—one goose step at a time.


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