A month on, oblivious woman still doing yoga in front of Myanmar protest crackdown


A yoga instructor, whose exercise video provided the world with surprise footage of February’s Myanmese Coup, is still streaming her regular aerobic routines, totally unaware that a brutal opposition crackdown is going on only feet behind her.

The anonymous exercise teacher became a worldwide meme after her self tape, which clearly captured footage of tanks rolling towards the parliament building in support of the military coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD government, went viral. Thirty-nine days later though it appears she still hasn’t caught on to what is happening just over her shoulder, even as the conflict has turned into a full on ground war between protestors and the military.

Various commentators have leapt online to hypothesize the cause of the woman’s shocking obliviousness. Catherine Sechelt, Professor of Southeast Asian Dramatic Studies, from the University of Chicago, thinks that it could be a kind of performance art.

“I think it’s clear what she’s doing. She’s speaking through her body, her form. It’s actually incredibly moving that she has the courage and, even more so, the technique to reiterate this exceptional routine. Performing under such duress and having to go through the same motions each and every day…breathe-in, breathe-out, leg-up, leg-down, turn, breathe-in, breathe-out… So challenging. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.”

Asked what she thinks the message is, she says “That’s the beautiful thing, I think it’s totally subjective to the individual. For me, I see empathy”

Political analyst, Pete Schreiner, shares a similar sentiment but he believes that she is actually trying to represent us, the apathetic viewer. 

“It’s just so obvious what she’s doing. She’s getting up there saying ‘why should you care about my country when even I don’t. Wouldn’t you rather watch a hot chick doing yoga than a long-forgotten country fighting for it’s democracy?’ She’s totally right – we would!”

Many non-experts have also joined the discussion. Among their favourite theories is that she may be a badass Shaolin monk – trained to ignore the emotional disruptions and temptations of the world around her – and that she may soon jump into the action and defeat the military single-handedly. Some critics, though, have noted this theory playfully mischaracterizes some of the foundational premises of both Shaolin Kung Fu and Buddhism. Another popular suggestion is that she could be blind, or even deaf and blind. However, there are others that believe it’s possible she may just be a pinball wizard.

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