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Downward Facing Derp

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.”

NPR | Yoga: A Positively Un-Indian Experience

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.”

2 comments… add one
  • liprap December 30, 2010, 2:56 PM

    Oh, for crying out loud. You should just tell ’em you’re Jewish and get the “Funny, you don’t look Jewish,” comments. 8-P

    I have never once thought you could pass on yoga tips. And this white-ass Jew probably has wider hips than you.

  • Maitri December 30, 2010, 3:00 PM

    Thing is I can pass on yoga tips, but it’s through recent discovery and learning on my own, not some genetic Hindu-Indian precognition and urge to bust a yoga move while waiting in line somewhere.

    Back when we had a land line, Derick would beg me to swear at the telemarketers in Tamil and hang up. Now I’m afraid they’ll start talking back to me.

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