'Zen president': Tim Ryan promotes yoga, mindfulness techniques in 2020 White House race

WASHINGTON – Rep. Tim Ryan, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said Wednesday that the wants to be the "zen president" Americans are looking for following President Donald Trump's tenure.

"I think America's going to be looking for a zen president after this," he said in an interview with CNN. "You look at the presidents we admire over the years, and they have that quality of equanimity in rocky times."

Ryan noted past presidents who remained composed during national emergencies, such as Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt during times of war and John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis.

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"That's what it means to be a president," he told CNN, "not what we have now."

Ryan, D-Ohio, had a yoga class and breathing session during a New York City fundraiser for his presidential campaign Tuesday night.

The Ohio congressman is one of nearly two dozen Democrats vying to be their party's presidential nominee in 2020. However, he has struggled to stand out in the large primary field. He has yet to qualify for September's debate, which requires candidates to hit 2% in four qualifying polls and tally at least 130,000 individual donors.

Currently, Ryan is at 0.3% in polling, according to an average of polls from Real Clear Politics.

Beginning in December of 2012, Ryan called on Capitol Hill lawmakers to gather and sit in silence. It became known as the Quiet Time Caucus, where lawmakers and staff would meditate or take some time to cool down from their days.

In the interview with CNN, Ryan said yoga and mindfulness techniques are part of what he sees as "the next version of America" to take care of ourselves from technology, so "the technology and the systems don't run us, but we run the systems."

"And right now, I think the systems are running us," he said.

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"The systems are chewing us up now," he continued, "and what we have to do is kind of reconnect with ourselves and transform these systems so that they work for us again.

"And that only starts by getting out of the rat race mentally, and having leaders that will get us out of the rat race," he added.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tim Ryan promotes yoga, mindfulness techniques in 2020 race