It was a cold evening in the American southwest. I pulled my favorite shawl around me a little tighter. A woman smiled at the shawl – a burnt-orange, paisley piece my mom picked up in India – and said, “I know why you wear that. It’s because of your religion.”
“Actually, I wear it because it’s pretty and protects me from the cold,” I replied.
She insisted, “No, you don’t have to say that. It’s because of your religion.”
True confession: I am an Indian who doesn’t do yoga. I wouldn’t know a downward dog if it bit me. But because I’m Indian, people don’t even ask if I know yoga. They ask, “What kind of yoga did you grow up with? Iyengar? Ashtanga? Bikram?”
… “The instructor pointed to me and said Indians are better oriented towards squats. And I realized he was holding me up as an example of how we primitive people are better squatters and have looser hips,” she laughed.
Yes, you outed me, oh wise one. I wear the shawl because of my religion. It’s a new faith, one we’ve termed The Wet Shawl Snap.
Some day, children, I will tell you the story of “Hindu squats.”