by Maya Angelou
A Lotus, A Cobra, A Downward-Facing Dog,
Names of positions long since mastered,
Marked on your exams.
You, created only a little saner than
The Moonies, have crouched eight weeks in
The candlelit classroom,
Have lain as long
Face down in extreme pain,
Your mouths spilling chants
The Instructor cries out today, you may stand on your head,
But do not hurt your neck.
Each of you a spacy hippie,
Delicate and spookily thin,
From eating nothing but miso soup.
Yes, today I call you to your classrooms,
And you will study yoga no more. Come,
Clad in leotards and I will play the music
The CD Store Guy gave to me when I asked if
He had any John Tesh.
So teach the Yuppie, the Muscle Boy, the Geek,
The Working Mom and the Scary Punk Squatter, the Clique,
The Wannabe, the Hipster, the Star, the Snob,
The Pickup Artist, the Model, the Slob.
They stretch. They all stretch
The muscles of the Soul.
Come to me, here beside the Exercise Mat.
Plant your shoes in a locker, sit beside the Exercise Mat.
Each of you, graduate of some passed
Two-month course, has been paid for.
Here on the pulse of this new day
May you have the grace under pressure to look
Straight into your student's eyes, into
Your pupil's face, your acolyte
And say simply
I'm sorry you threw your back out,
please for the love of God don't sue me.