It hurts to laugh, but then, there’s not much to laugh about. It even hurts to writhe in pain, and of that, there is plenty.
In a cruel twist to the lyrics of the Beyoncé song, , explaining Ehrenreich’s argument:
Like workout culture, wellness is a form of conspicuous consumption. It is only the wealthy who have the resources to maintain the illusion of an integral and bounded self, capable of responsible self-care and thus worthy of social status. The same logic says that those who smoke (read: poor), or don’t eat right (poor again), or don’t exercise enough (also poor) have personally failed and somehow deserve their health problems and low life expectancy.
Being mindful of that, I settled into a series of stretches and restorative poses—guided by a slender man with the sensual, somber air of a ballerina. That day, he wore cream-colored nail paint, and a bunch of japa malas around his wrist. I’d taken his class before, and had quite enjoyed it—I’d appreciated his focus on administering a challenging sequence instead of doling out Hindu philosophy. The latter can be a tad awkward if you’re the only Indian person in class. At the end of our 30-minute session, he bid us “namaste,” as is customary in American yoga classes. (In India, “namaste” is something one says to a nosy neighborhood auntie or an elderly visiting relative.)
I responded by silently folding my hands in gratitude.
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