The hall is dark. The mood is blissful. My breathing is natural. Relaxed.
In community with 49 others, my body is gleaming, serene. Glowing. Suddenly my mind veers off. My thoughts race back to Trump’s remarks earlier today during his celebratory speech—the day after his impeachment acquittal—flaming, toxic, hazardous. Vile.
Only the tranquil voice of my yoga instructor stops me from falling into an agitated state. Towards the end of practice, as he walks around the studio contemplating bodies laid down in “savasana,” resting pose, he thanks the class for joining “the conspiracy of yoga.”
Conspiracy. My third eye chakra jolts into action.
He explains its Latin roots, conspirare; con– (“with, together”) and spirare (“to breathe”): to breathe together. So I breathe—deeply, consciously. I came to practice this evening seeking solace from a day—no, a week—no, a year—three years—of being bombarded by constant claims of political conspiracies.
Trump claims that the Russian collusion investigation, “the witch hunt,” conspired against him; that Democrats, “the deep state,” conspired against him; that the press, “the enemy of the people,” conspired against him; that judges, with “an absolute conflict,” conspired against him; that his former lawyer, who “lied a lot,” conspired against him. An unknowing participant in a different kind of conspiracy, I now lay momentarily at ease.
My yoga practice is usually a special time to consider, to imagine, to believe. But this evening, it all feels just like an inconsequential sequence of poses that don’t quite distract me from our cruel political reality. After four or, worse, eight years, we’ll start moving on from Trump’s Doctrine and begin healing the many social, environmental, and moral wounds he’s inflicting on our country and the rest of the world. Trying once more to be considerate, to be imaginative, to be a believer, I deepen my “pranayama,” my breathing. In, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight; hold; I breathe calm in between my thoughts; hold; out, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
My instructor’s striking of the singing bowl that marks the end of yoga practice takes my mind to a contemplative threshold. My thoughts take an imaginative leap and ride the crescendo sounds into a harmonious reality.
In this alternative reality, Trump discovers the conspiracy of yoga, but instead of launching an investigation, he sees an opportunity for himself. Without consulting his advisers or his family, and careful not to alienate his base completely, he becomes a devout Christian yogi. True to his nature, he anoints himself The Great Conspirator during a ceremony hosted by Chief Justice Roberts at the Supreme Court, promising “to lead the nation with equanimity, love, and compassion for all.” Trump celebrates the occasion with one of his classic Twitter compulsions that ends with an iconic 3 a.m. tweet, “I’m #TheGreatConspirator.”
To comply with his first executive order as The Great Conspirator, he leads a daily yoga practice from the White House, in the Rose Garden. The 30-minute yoga session—short because, after all, he still has to run the government and lead the free world—is broadcast at 12Noon EST on C-Span, all network television stations, and all social media platforms. This program signals real change to his opponents and supporters.
Flanked by members of his inner circle, whom Trump calls “warriors,” he opens the session with a brief silent meditation and then guides the streaming audience through “Virabhadra” poses: warrior one, two, three, reverse, and humble warrior. Humble warrior in particular requires an incredible amount of strength and balance alongside a great measure of humility. Stepping into a modified runner’s lunge, he bows forward tucking his chin to his chest, and with his hands clasped behind his back, he reaches forward. This pose proves to be Trump’s biggest challenge, for his ego and hair struggle to surrender. Ultimately they do, and soon he masters all five poses.
Monday through Friday, video cameras catch members of Trump’s cabinet and the Republican party rushing through the West Wing with gym bag in tow, untying their ties, and loosening their blouses, heading into the Roosevelt Room just opposite the Oval Office for a quick change, and stepping out all decked out in yoga outfits.
Attorney General Barr favors a pair of knee-length shorts and a long sleeve shirt; Secretary of Education DeVos prefers long leggings and a rather simple short sleeve top; Secretary of State Pompeo chooses a slimming color block set while Vice President Pence goes modest with track pants and a dark t-shirt; and Senate Majority Leader McConnell dons old school sweatpants and a sweatshirt. They all wear their red, white, and blue uniforms proudly and sponsor satellite sessions at each of their offices every week.
Flexing his newly acquired power of gentle persuasion, Trump compels the nation in just one month with calmly crafted daily tweets, to join the yoga program which he trademarks as The Great Conspiracy. Ratings for the daily yoga session in the Rose Garden break previous C-Span, network, and cable ratings. Riding Trump’s wave of favorability, The American Heart Association, in partnership with Yoga Journal, launches a new public health campaign of awareness and action against high cholesterol. In honor of the #TheGreatConspirator’s healthy achievements and well-being, the campaign is branded Trump Your Cholesterol. The campaign first aims to target two of the most affected demographic groups in the United States: white adult women who are among Trump’s staunchest supporters, and Hispanic men, ironically Trump’s most targeted group before his enlightenment.
But thoughts of Trump’s bombastic and divisive accusations in real life ricochet off my mat and jerk my mind back to reality. I breathe in, slowly, hold, slowly, I breathe out. Again, in, slowly, hold, slowly, out.
Inspired by the success of his domestic Great Conspiracy program, Trump, always willing for more, sets his sights next on the international arena. Hoping to help repair the damage he caused in the last three years, he crafts a new conspiracy doctrine of unity, truth, and reconciliation. He begins a world tour coaching other world leaders on the theory and practice of non-denominational yoga, so they too can develop their own great conspiracy. Still the most influential political figure in Europe even during her lame duck term, Angela Merkel agrees to be his co-host for the European leg of the tour. Trump wraps up the tour with a bilingual Spanish-English summit in Mexico.
Always thinking about branding, on his way back to the U.S. Trump asks Ivanka “Yael,” his favorite child and herself a Jewish convert, to file an amendment to his trademark, minting The Greatest Conspiracy—a classic Trump move, to better position himself in history’s grace among the greatest U.S. presidents.
Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, saving the state of the union. Franklin D. Roosevelt created the New Deal in 1933, saving capitalism. Donald J. Trump launched The Greatest Conspiracy in 2020, restoring our moral compass.
The dissipating sounds of the singing bowl gently carry my mind back to my resting body. As I roll to my right side into a final fetal position, I contemplate the awesome beauty of that fleeing alternative reality, and I loathe the gruesome one that awaits me outside the yoga studio. A made-for-tv reality in which Trump unleashes the wrath of his social media followers on anyone he labels as Never Trumper, takes funding away from healthcare and education to build a wall on our southern border, limits environmental protections, and detains immigrant children in makeshift cages. A reality in which the “prana,” life force, is depleted from our
TRUMP RENDERS MOST CHARGES AGAINST HIM A HOAX. ON TELEVISION, RADIO, AND TWITTER, HE CONJURES UP “NASTY” ATTACKS AGAINST HIM WITH HIS UNIQUE FLAIR FOR SUPERLATIVES AND ALL CAPS. IT’S EXHAUSTING, EVEN CONTAGIOUS.
The mood is dark. The nation is lamenting. My breathing is shallow. Desperate.
Written By: Francisco Delgadillo
Visual Art “Spitblossoms Gift”
By: Spitblossoms, AKA Carlos Benjamin Ortega-Haas
CCSF student, Bay Area born and Tijuana-raised, Spitblossoms is a visual artist and successful musician who has always found joy and meaning in realizing his artistic visions and sharing with a community of artists. For Spitblossoms, art is a meditation, release, source of pride and sustenance that helps him perfect his vision, overcome hardship, and continue to push forward to achieve his goals and dreams.