Ryan says mindfulness practice gives him a feeling of calm that allows him to manage his day, especially necessary in an increasingly bitter Washington.
Itâ€™s 95 degrees, I have sweat in my eyes, and Iâ€™m squinting at four women in brightly colored Spandex tops and cropped pants. Thatâ€™s when I spot the guy who suggested I try this yoga class. The congressman has flipped his dog.
Heâ€™s turned his downward dog almost inside outâ€”back bent, belly up. The moment offers one answer to the central question of this story: How does Representative Tim Ryan truly live his mindfulness practice? As I stick with downward dog, he looks like he could hang out upside down all day, and the more I get to know him, itâ€™s clear his steadiness is not limited to the yoga mat.
Ryan, 39, is not one of those bomb-throwing members of Congress, the type who generates sensational headlines on Hardball. No, heâ€™s not that Ryan, the one who was on the Republican presidential ticket. Heâ€™s the Democrat.
The one who has quietly continued winning races in his Ohio district.
The one with â€œthat mindfulness thing,â€ as one of his fellow members put it. Ryanâ€™s book, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, reads a bit like what presidential candidates publish two years before they start to show up at the Iowa State Fair, full of broad statements like this one from the close: â€œItâ€™s helping us all recapture the spirit of what it means to be an American. Join us.â€
By Christina Bellantoni;Â Photographs by Mark Mahaney