Yesterday I started reading Blue Eyed Devil, Robert Parker’s fourth and final book about itinerant lawmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, and I was struck by a single short passage. Master shootist Virgil is moments away from a potential gun battle, and our narrator describes Virgil’s change in posture: “…I also knew Virgil was ready to shoot. He hadn’t changed position, but I knew he was balanced, knees bent a little, shoulders relaxed.”
This description sounds almost exactly like my favorite yoga instructors leading a class through a sequence of Sun Salutations. Parker probably never meant this to look like yoga, but rather boxing, as that was his sport of choice, as well as that of his most famous character, Spenser. That point of physical calm before moving the body into action, whether in yoga, before throwing a jab, or slapping leather, is a sublime moment.