Canadian PM Trudeau wows with yoga prowess

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's athleticism can be seen on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's athleticism can be seen on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.PHOTOS: TWITTER/JUSTINTRUDEAU, INSTAGRAM/JUSTIN TRUDEAU
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's athleticism can be seen on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's athleticism can be seen on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.PHOTOS: TWITTER/JUSTINTRUDEAU, INSTAGRAM/JUSTIN TRUDEAU

LONDON • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, famed feminist and man with a very nice face, can seemingly do no wrong.

He appears to have the world's media in rapture daily, with the latest burst of Trudeaumania coming from his apparent prowess at yoga.

A picture of the 44-year-old balancing on his hands on a conference table (in what is known as a peacock pose) has been blowing up the Internet - although it has not gone quite as viral as it might have had he been doing the downward-facing dog.

The picture is an old one - CNN.com said Mr Trudeau tweeted it in 2013 - but it was given viral new life by a Facebook post on March 24 by Canadian yoga teacher David Gellineau, website Mashable reported.

Mr Trudeau's athleticism can be seen in pictures on his Instagram account, such as one of him balancing a child on his arm.

And the one-time snowboarding instructor is not the only politician aiming for modern-day guru status. Yoga appears to have become quite the rage among global leaders.

Mr Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister, is not just an enthusiastic yoga practitioner, but also an advocate for the practice's healing properties. He has even suggested that yoga might help tackle climate change. Mr Modi also successfully pushed for the International Day of Yoga, which is on June 21.

Mr Ban Ki Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, celebrated the day with a yoga lesson from his special adviser on Myanmar. He did a rather nice asana.

Where there is a whiff of a public relations-friendly trend, you can expect to see Mr David Cameron attempting to get in on the action. And, indeed, the British Prime Minister has been photographed at yoga retreats with his wife, although it is not clear whether he did any yoga poses or whether it was more yoga posturing.

If one is going to be a world leader, regular shows of strength are part of the job. They are a sort of political peacocking that demonstrates to other world leaders that you could probably have them in a fight, should things get a bit dodgy in Davos.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia regularly scorches our collective eyeballs with unsolicited images of him doing various "manly" activities, sometimes sans shirt.

While yoga may be a far more subtle way of signalling strength than swimming in ice lakes or horse-riding in Siberia, the current trend actually makes a lot of sense. Indeed, there are few sports more suited for politicians.

First, there is the fact that yoga lets one project serenity, strength and wisdom simply by sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. You can also do yoga in a suit and without any special equipment. This opens up a world of spontaneous PR opportunities. If things are going badly in parliament, you can simply stand on your head in the corridor as distraction.

Yoga also has the advantage of being ultra-democratic. It is practised by the uber-rich, the not-very-rich and kids who have just got back from an enriching gap year in India. You can do yoga whatever your age, whatever your fitness levels. It does not alienate people in the way that hunting, polo or hang-gliding might.

Then there are the holistic aspects of yoga - helpful in turbulent times. I am sound of body and mind, yoga says. I am flexible. I am calm. I am balanced. I will bend over backwards to help my people.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'Canadian PM Trudeau wows with yoga prowess'. Print Edition | Subscribe