What our global leaders stand up for on the inaugural Yoga Day
It is 21 June. All over the country thousands of Indians are standing on their heads in ‘sirasana’ style as if to keep their heads away from the sun after the recent heatwave that took a huge toll. Although the heatwave has somewhat waned, the sun is quite bright and shining longer than any other day. It is summer solstice in India when daylight lasts longest. But that is not the reason for the mass ‘sirasana’.
Hopefully International Yoga Day, declared by the UN at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the US last September, will bring inner peace and harmony. So, it is appropriate that this day is observed with great enthusiasm by anybody who is somebody contouring their bodies in their favourite yoga positions. Let me take you on a guided tour of the lounge rooms of leaders around the world to see their preferred positions.
Mayurasana (the peacock pose)
This has to be the favourite of India’s Human Resources Minister Smriti Irani. The peacock is the most colourful of the birds whose iridescent plumage never fails to attract anyone. Having become popular through TV serials, Irani bahu still has a penchant for attracting attention to herself by any means. For instance, her complaint against a shop in Goa alleged that it had viewed her through a hidden camera in its fitting rooms while trying some designer gear. This hit the national headlines. Her claim to have obtained a Yale University degree after a six-day course is never out of the news pages. But Smriti has far to go before she reaches the stature of Kim Kardashian, the queen of the peacocks, who gets noticed whether wearing something or baring her rear. What a bummer!
Simhasana (the lion pose)
The lion of Lahore, Imran Khan, can be the best practitioner of this posture as he often roars about his erstwhile bowling prowess. During the last general election his standard slogan was “with this one ball I will knock out all the other politicians”. All he did, sadly, was knock himself down from a make-shift bamboo platform at an election rally while addressing his fans.
Padma murdra (lotus pose)
This is mandatory not only for BJP ministers but all its party members, since the lotus proved the winning symbol. It did come up roses for them!
Gomukhaasana (the cow face pose)
Needless to say, this is for the Congress party cadre as the cow’s male species has been their election symbol for donkey’s years. Although, it failed to pull them to the power base this time around.
Bhujangasana (the cobra pose)
This creature that slithers along in a zigzag motion to get itself ahead, sheds its old skin several times to reveal a brand new one, and can give a ‘hiss’ of death as well. Critics of Julia Gillard may say that she is a khiladi (expert) at this asana, but giving a fatal dose to both his leaders, Bill Shorten can claim to be a champion practitioner. He needs to watch his patch as well. Any wonder this is the most popular asana among politicians world-wide.
Navasana (boat position)
This is a routine intensely practised by Indonesian people smugglers who now seem to be double dipping – milking asylum seekers to ferry them to Oz and then accepting payment by the Australian Government to transport them back. Don’t you contemplate doing this asana when Tony Abbott or Scott Morrison – Australia’s ‘turn back the boats titans’ – are around, you could be stopped in your tracks.
Virasana (the hero pose)
This asana opens out the chest area making you feel like a hero. This has to be Kevin Rudd’s preferred exercise, since he thumps his chest as the saviour of Australia during the GFC, splurging billions squirreled away by the previous government. Former Pakistan dictator, Musharaf too favours this exercise, since he recently boasted that he held India by its throat during his Kargill misadventure that backfired.
Makrasana (the crocodile pose)
This aggressive aquatic creature pose is now the favourite of China’s top brass, as it flexes its muscle to control the entire South China Sea by building artificial islands, and gaining power over Indian Ocean sea lanes by building naval bases in Sri Lanka. In contrast, Barack Obama is taking a softer stand on many challenges facing him. In the final years of his second term, he is technically a lame duck president… but no, unfortunately there is no asana named after the duck.
Savasana (the corpse pose)
This can be the choicest exercise for most men (this writer included) who prefer to do nothing unless, and until, goaded by their wives. A slight variation for some males would be for those who just open their mouths at regular intervals to down another can of amber fluid.
And what about the man whose idea set the yoga ball rolling? Being the ‘head’ of the nation, Modiji has no hesitation in placing his head on the ground doing the stressful sirasana which was the daily routine of his illustrious predecessor of the fifties, Jawaharlal Nehru. This position allows NaMo to get a closer look at those at the bottom of the economic and social strata. These people, let us hope by the end of Modi’s first term, are able to keep their heads above water. If that comes about, Modiji will surely be able to hold his head high.
NB: Names of the asanas, except sirasasana, are mystifying since none of them resembles their descriptors.