It’s one thing to compare our beloved new president to Lincoln, but

It’s one thing to compare our beloved new president to Lincoln, but it’s another thing entirely to make a god of him. Especially in a place of worship.For many practitioners, a yoga studio is sacred. You must observe acertain dress code, remove your shoes, and speak softly. You are tolook inward. The physicality of the experience is second to thespiritual. Most notably, there is trust between strangers. The moreobvious religious trappings of the practice include chanting, images ofHindu gods, dedications, and om. Often, a yoga studio will contain a shrine, with sculpturalrepresentations of gods, sometimes flowers and incense. If a photographof a living person is featured, it will most often depict an ancientyogi of Indian birth, some far off figure, live but at an unrealdistance. I was unprepared for the most recent addition to the shrine at my yoga studio.Looking up from downward dog, in preparation for a jump to forwardbend, I saw a familiar face where the revered yogi had been. A globe at his third eye, with a halo of red, white and blue, this new deity was smiling a wise smile. I was not calmed. Yes, it is Obama. And yes, I am still in love with our newly anointedleader. I expect and believe he will do great things for thisbeleaguered country of ours. But he’s still a politician. The presence of a political figure in whatis supposed to be a scared space is jarring. Though maybe I am just tooaccustomed to directing a different sort of emotion at the leader ofour country. Perhaps including Obama’s image in the shrine is simply a gesture ofrespect and honor. Even so, his face remains a tangible intrusion ofthe political into the religious. It’s church and state. At the front desk I ask where to find a copy of the trippy postcard. “He is our president now,” replies the desk yogini, as if Obama hascome down to earth. On the other hand, it looks is if he has only begunhis ascension.