Yoga for Warmongers

As the Associated Press pointed out recently, yoga has expanded so far beyond the hippie realm that it has finally touched the polar opposite: the military. The August issue of Fit Yoga Magazine features a photo of two Naval aviators doing yoga in full combat gear on the tarmac of an aircraft carrier. They are, of course, doing a pose known as Warrior II. “And on their faces,” wrote Fit Yoga editor Rita Trieger, “their serene smiles relayed a sense of inner calm that only yogis can truly understand.”

An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times today suggests that if yoga can benefit warriors, maybe it should also be administered to other violent professions:

Yoga could really help predatory tow-truck drivers; maybe they could start with something familiar, like the locust pose. . . . Aggressive drivers and tailgaters might try the wind-relieving pose, which closely resembles an appendicitis attack — on your back with your arms clutching your knees — but feels much nicer.

One possibility the story leaves out, however, is using yoga to calm down the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and his fellow warmongers. A New York Times story revealed today that senior Bush administration officials, apparently having learned nothing from the intelligence failures that led to the invasion of Iraq, have been pressuring American spy agencies to give them more of a justification for taking on Iran. To help them ponder the ramifications of such an approach, I’d suggest the Plank Pose (considering an invasion would be akin to walking one), the Noose Pose, or the Corpse Pose, which is, of all the poses, the most relaxing.