Sun Salutations


Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. –B.K.S. Iyengar

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The Criminal Minds team is called to Denver, where three women have been killed in the past month. Members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) arrive at the crime scene of the latest victim to find the body of a reasonably fit blond woman in her mid-30s, still wearing workout clothes and one expensive running shoe, on her living room floor. The body is wrapped in a yoga mat.

This is a case for the BAU because it appears the same unknown subject (unsub) killed all three women. All victims were found wearing workout clothes and one expensive athletic shoe and were wrapped in yoga mats.

The first victim was found in the living room of her home and the second was found in her kitchen. All victims were home alone when the unsub attacked. The crime scenes were tidy, the yoga mats were neatly wrapped and fastened around each body, and no weapons were found. The unsub takes a shoe from each victim as a souvenir. He clearly is organized. He is of average intelligence and is considered attractive and outgoing by the community, meaning that he can fit in to any neighborhood and move freely without suspicion. Although he craves human contact, he feels superior to others and knows that if they would only submit to his control and live their lives the way he dictates, they would be much happier, healthier, and fulfilled.

Aside from being reasonably fit blond women dressed in workout clothes, the victims had nothing in common. Even Penelope Garcia, with her quirky fashion, fuzzy pen, awesome glasses, and mad-crazy computer skills, can’t find a connection.

While the team delivers the profile to the local authorities, another body is found, just one day after the last murder. He’s escalating.

Garcia determines that, although the four victims didn’t know each other or frequent any of the same establishments, they all were regular gym-goers. She cross-checks lists of employees of all gyms in the downtown Denver area, focusing on front desk staff and cleaning crews. Nothing.

While going through the computer of the first victim, Garcia finds that she had a blog wherein she posted about a creepy personal trainer who bothered her. Subsequent posts revealed that, after quitting one gym because of the creepy personal trainer, the first victim went to a second gym, which she later quit because the creepy personal trainer started working there. Later, the creepy personal trainer taught a class at her office, then at her third gym. The posts don’t reveal the name of the creepy personal trainer, but Garcia knows he is the unsub. She uses her mad-crazy computer skills to piece together which gyms the first victim frequented, and then found the one personal trainer/fitness instructor who taught classes at all those gyms within the past several months. Why nobody from any of these gyms questioned why the creepy personal trainer had to work at every gym in downtown Denver was a mystery even the BAU wouldn’t be able to solve.

Garcia finds that the unsub is due to be teaching a yoga class at an upscale downtown gym in an hour. The team rushes to the location and finds him in the parking garage with a blond, ponytailed woman at knifepoint.

“I’ll – I’ll do yoga!” she says.

“Yoga is the answer!” the unsub yells. “You cannot do yoga.  Yoga is your natural state.  What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. Why are you trying to deny your natural state?”

The woman screams. “I’ll do yoga!”

Derek Morgan steps in and talks to the unsub. “Yoga is important for living a well-adjusted life. When I was a child, I always wanted to do yoga but it was prohibited by my domineering father who believed the only worthwhile form of exercise was running 12 miles first thing in the morning.”

“Oh my gosh,” the unsub says, his hold on the knife weakening. “That is so terrible for you. I can sense that your flow is constricted.”

“Yes, my flow, it is constricted,” Derek Morgan says, a small tear forming in the corner of his left eye, reflecting the bright Colorado sun. “It took me a long time to recognize the importance of yoga for a balanced and healthful life.”

“Yes! Balanced and healthful! Yoga is so important!” The unsub drops the knife and lunges to get into a parparivrtta parsvakonasana pose. (I don’t know if that’s how you say it. As you might have gathered, I don’t do yoga.) Before he can extend his arm, Derek Morgan handcuffs him as the rescued victim cries and says, breathless, “He wanted me to do personal training sessions with him and go to his yoga class but I didn’t want to! He wouldn’t leave me alone after that and followed me out here, going on and on about how it would be beneficial to me. He was going to make me do yoga and then kill me!”

On the plane on the way home, the new random blond woman who apparently has become part of the BAU gazes wistfully out the window.

“What’s wrong?” Aaron Hotchner asks.

“I don’t particularly care for yoga, either, and sometimes there’s a personal trainer at my gym who talks to me when I don’t want to be bothered. Next time, I’m going to punch him in the face.”

Hotchner smiles a half-smile, as he is wont to do in an effort to appear benevolent, as well as exacting. “A punch to the face is the best way to deal with creepy personal trainers.”