In early November, Vogue praised Michelle Obama for her “Let’s Move!” campaign, inspiring the nation to get more exercise. As a tribute to the First Lady during her final days in the White House, I decided I’d do my duty as an American and head back to hot yoga after a long leave of absence from my practice.
I didn’t realize I’d be greeted by quite so much sweating and aggression, no doubt a result of Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss. It started as I entered the studio in midtown Manhattan. When I handed the perfectly-sculpted instructor a $20 bill to pay for class and to rent a mat, he was clearly irritated that he had to make change. He sighed deeply from his probably good-looking esophagus and gave me my money.
I found a spot and laid down my smelly mat that’s seen hundreds of sweaty bodies. I typically rent because I have gotten death threats for carrying my personal yoga mat on the subway. People lose their minds when I’m on a crowded 2 train at 9:00 A.M, accidentally brushing them with a big roll of eco-friendly recycled rubber strapped to my back. Welcome to New York.
I settled into Child’s Pose, from this angle, I got a good whiff of the stench, which sort of made me feel in tune with my pungent and frustrated fellow New Yorkers. Hot teacher began instructing the students to inhale, then exhale with an “H-A, HAAAAAAAA.” The woman next to me sounded as though she was being brutally attacked or experiencing an unusually intense orgasm, which left me unsure whether I should have called for help or shouted, “I’ll have what she’s having!” I exhaled the normal way, afraid to deviate from Hot Teacher’s instructions.
I glanced over to the thermostat - 104 degrees. I was wearing sweatpants because my rear didn’t fit into those “booty shorts” everyone was sporting. Lululemon's make everyone’s butt look good, but charging $90 for leggings seemed criminal, so I pulled on my $10 Old Navy sweats, thinking about what Melania and Ivanka would have chosen.
The air became thicker. Hot Teacher encouraged us to leave our troubles outside, and to quiet our minds. We needed to focus on ourselves before thinking of others, he said. So was this what our new President was going to be doing? How could I not notice Grandpa in back, who was wearing nothing but a golden Speedo with the American Flag on it? I tried to spent the rest of the hour gazing at things I wouldn’t be able to un-see.
I usually like Camel Pose. This time I felt dizzy so I dropped back down into Child’s Pose. Hot Teacher charged my mat.
“You don’t want to do it?” he said, looking at me sideways.
“I’m just dizzy,” I explained. He rolled his eyes.
“Up until now you’ve had a really nice practice.”
I hated this guy. Just as I was feeling more settled, I spotted a cockroach to my right. It sauntered by the corner of my mat, and I swore I saw a tiny bead of sweat drip down his tiny antenna.
Hot Teacher told us to consider a vegetarian diet and to never, ever, drink any poison, aka the vodka tonics and tequila shots I’d been downing ever since the election results rolled in. Water only. Just to spite Hot Teacher, I decided I’d go home and drink a box of White Zinfandel Franzia while pouring some MSG on a cheeseburger.
I left class feeling as though I’ve been bossed around for 60 minutes by a mean drill sergeant, though it was probably nothing compared to the cruel, cold upcoming years of Trump’s America. The President himself has said his own supporters are "easily manipulated sheep." He doesn't even like them just like Hot Teacher and his students. Well, not me, and it was my job to stay fit and for my country. Hot Teacher could criticize me all he wanted, on the dirty mat with the cockroach, as long as I was making Michelle proud.