ashtanga yoga

Purvottanasana

Greetings, yogabinis! Today's pose is purvottanasana, which translates from the Sanskrit as "intense Eastern stretch." In yoga, the front of the body is referred to as the eastern side of the body, so this is a nice counter-pose to pashimottanasana, which stretches the back (or western) side of the body. Hey! Pretty simple. EXCEPT IT'S NOT. IT'S NOT SIMPLE AT ALL.

Let's meet today's students. On the left we have Misty, the leader of the Cerulean City Gym where many of the finest Pokémon are trained, and in the center is Ash Ketchum, the highly regarded Pokémon trainer. On the right we have Iron Man! Thank you all for coming in today!

Misty: Hi! I love yoga. Because I love anything that combines rigorous discipline and cute outfits.

Ash: Wait a minute, I thought we were here to battle Team Rocket! Darn it, and I brought my pokéball and everything.

Iron Man: What's with the ball?

Ash: It contains only the most explosively talented Pokémon in my collection!

Iron Man: Oh, I get it, all the talent's in the ball. What do you do?

Ash: I trained this Pokémon! I taught it everything it knows!

Iron Man: So basically, what, you taught some pocket monster to burp fire?

Ash: Let's see you take off the suit and try to fly, old man.

Iron Man: For your information, "the suit" as you so carelessly refer to it, is stored in my bones, and I control it with my mind. And you do what, again?

Ash: I can command the creature contained in my little ball to eat your face off, and then he'll experience samadhi, and then everyone around him will experience samadhi because you're such a jerk and your jerkiness is gone forever.

Elastigirl: Ha ha, quiet down everyone. Let's take a deep centering breath and begin! Everyone do a vinyasa and come to sitting.

Misty: I'd rather stand?

Ash: Me, too.

Iron Man: Let me show you how it's done, kids.

Ash: Nice forward bend. Not.

Iron Man: You're so judgmental.

Misty: Can I help you, Mr. Man? You seem to be losing your balance a little!

Iron Man: Thanks, kid. My nano-psoas must be on the fritz. You wouldn't happen to have a screwdriver, would you?

Ash: Don't give it to him, Misty! He'll just use it to show off his stupid butt.

Iron Man: Gluteus maximus, technically.

Ash: Takes one to know one. Oooh, burn!

Misty: Wow, what a smooth transition to sitting, Mr. Man!

Iron Man: Thanks, Misty.

Misty: *blushes*

Ash: Aw, cut that out!

Misty: Mr. Man, aren't you hot in that suit?

Iron Man: You're a little young to be asking me to take it off, sweetheart.

Misty: Oh! No! I didn't mean anything like that!

Ash: You are the grossest person in the world, ugh! Both of you!

Iron Man: Misty, you can call me Tony, if you want. Here, I'll take off my mask, it will help you to hear the sonorous depth of my ujjayi breathing.

Iron Man: Ah, much better!

Ash: I like you better with the mask.

Iron Man: Nobody asked you.

Ash: Not that I like you at all.

Iron Man: Keep it up. Balancing the softness of my heart against the irrational fury you're creating inside of me only brings me closer to total consciousness.

Ash: Yeah, right.

Iron Man: Fantastic comeback! Does Pikachu school teach you how to annoy people to death?

Ash: ARGH I HATE YOU SO MUCH.

Iron Man: Snake Eyes! Nice. Way to ninja your way into yoga class.

Snake Eyes: I got your back, man. That punk needs to learn a little pratyahara.

Elastigirl: So! Snake Eyes has lifted directly into purvottanasana. Let's take a look at what he's doing so everyone else can give it a try. With his hands apart on the floor behind him, Snake eyes has pointed his toes, lifted his pelvis, and dropped his head back to uncoil the spine. He's working his toes toward the floor while he releases his buttocks, opens his heart to the sky,  and melts his shoulderblades together down his back. Not as simple as it appears to be! But his breath is strong and smooth, inspiring and connecting him to those practicing around him.

Ash: Big deal. I can do that.

Iron Man: You could if you weren't a solid mass of molded plastic.

Ash: I'm not! I'm a real boy!

Iron Man: So that was awesome, dude.

Snake Eyes: Thanks, man. It's just part of my practice.

Ash: Mr. Snake Eyes, how long have you been practicing yoga?

Snake Eyes: Punk, how long haven't I been practicing yoga?

Ash: I don't get it.

Snake Eyes: I live in yoga. Everything I do is a yoga. You get that?

Ash: Oh.

Iron Man: Don't bother with him, he thinks all the power of the universe resides in his magic ball.

Snake Eyes: Yeah, actually, I wouldn't mess with the ball.

Iron Man: What? Really?

Snake Eyes: I've seen what those things can do, man. It's not pretty.

Iron Man: Like what? Tell me.

Snake Eyes: Hang on, Sherlock, the girl's coming over!

Misty: Mr. Eyes, I just wanted to say how motivating that was. You really know how to make something difficult look easy.

Snake Eyes: Well, thank you very much, little lady. All credit goes to my teachers, of course, and those before them.

Misty: Don't be so modest, your disarming blend of strength and ease is a real inspiration to me. That sort of approach could save us a lot of burned out Pokémon!

Ash: Jeez, what's the big deal? He never even left the floor! Levitate a little and maybe I'll be impressed.

Misty: Ash, you're just jealous!

Ash: I'm not jealous, I'm bored. This is dumb. C'mon, Misty, let's go kill something!

Snake Eyes: This kid needs to calm his shit down.

Iron Man: Can you distract him? I want to see what's in that pokéball!

Snake Eyes: Don't do it, man! Nothing good will come of it.

Iron Man: Argh, I'm blind! Who changed the camera's flash setting?!

Ash: I'm going to throw down this pokéball and let the mayhem begin!

Iron Man: There isn't a weapon on earth that I can't master. This will be cake! Will my hubris foreshadow my downfall? Let's find out . . .

Ash: Now you guys will respect me!

Ash: Gotcha! Ha, ha, Metal Man, got your face! GOT YOUR WHOLE HEAD, AS A MATTER OF FACT.

Misty: Ash, no!

Ash: BOO-YA.

Lego Slave Princess Leia: Put down the head, meatball.

Ash: What? No.

Lego Slave Princess Leia: Do it or I'll blast you to Cloud City and let Lando turn you into graphite topiary. Or, I know an Ewok that will eat you for lunch. Your choice.

Ash: Oh, right, lady, what's that gun going to do, shoot a grain of space sand at my shoe?

Lego Slave Princess Leia: This? This is a Space Magnum .44, the most powerful handgun in nine galaxies. It'll blow your head clean off. So what you want to be asking yourself is, Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Lego Slave Princess Leia: Just kidding, I stunned him. He'll be out for about nine days, but when he wakes up his karma will be clean as a whistle.

Elastigirl: Well, that was unexpected. It's a good time to remind ourselves that yoga can teache us to ride the waves of intense experiences without being crushed by them.

Lego Slave Princess Leia: Oh, you know what? I forgot, there's a little girl in Brooklyn who wants this guy dead. Let me take care of that right now.

Elastigirl: Join us next time on yogabeans! when we explore the next seated pose in the primary series of ashtanga yoga, ardha baddha padma pashimottanasana, or bound half lotus forward bend! Until then, stay flexible everybody!

ashtanga yoga

Hulk Do Yoga

HULK DO YOGA

I meant to post this brilliant and inspiring image months ago, it's a handmade birthday card I received from the perilously inevitable Antonia, and if you find the caption at all mysterious, a certain amount of enlightenment may be obtained here. hulk_do_yoga

The other thing is, I went on a yoga retreat this weekend, and at one point we were all sitting around a swimming hole drawing cards from the Voyager Tarotdeck, and I got the four of cups: the ANGER card. I have thus been advised to channel my anger into creative enterprises.

Which pretty much explains this site's existence.

ashtanga yoga

Utkatasana

utkatasana_13

utkatasana_01Karai: "Good morning. I'm Karai, and I'll be teaching your class. I am the highest-ranking member of the Foot Clan, archrivals of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Also, these are my weapons and that's my extra head."

utkatasana_03 Naruto: "Awesome! I'm Naruto Uzumaki. According to Wikipedia, I'm a loud, hyperactive, adolescent ninja who constantly searches for approval and recognition, as well as to become Hokage, acknowledged as the leader and strongest of all ninja in the village."

utkatasana_02 Karai: "You may benefit from harnessing the powerful energetic effect of today's pose, then. Today we will be practicing utkatasana, a deep pose that allows you to explore opposing forces as you allow your weight to sink deeply toward the earth while simultaneously letting your heart float lightly toward the sky."

utkatasana_04.1 Naruto: "Oh, man, I loves me some physical conundrums."

utkatasana_05 Playmobil Pirate #5780: "Avast! A yoga class full o' ninjas! That's a sight for sore eyes. Polly! Mr. Peaches! Watch the raft while I join yonder class and try to capture a little prana, hee hee!"

utkatasana_06 Karai: "Let's begin. Everyone inhale and stretch your arms toward the sky. Pirate, normally we ask everyone to leave their weapons at the door. We are creating a safe place for you to engage with yourself and your fellow yogis."

utkatasana_07 Pirate: "I'll be thankin' ye to let me hold onto me cutlass, missy. There are terrible monsters about and I wouldn't like to be seein' ye lose that pretty head of yours."

Naruto: "Pssst, dude! She has an extra head."

Pirate: "Arrr, that's some powerful sorcery, by cracky! Ain't ye be fearin' her witchcraft?"

Naruto: "Nah. Well, a little. Okay, she scares the shit out of me. But I'm trying to work through it by breathing into my third chakra."

utkatasana_08 Karai: "Now, exhale and try to place your hands flat on the floor."

Pirate: "Arrgh! Me back!"

Karai: "You can try bending your knees slightly to take pressure off of your lower back."

Pirate: "Me legs are stiff as two yardarms, lassie, but I'll try directin' me breath to me kidneys. It's the only way!"

utkatasana_11 Karai: "And continue your vinyasa by arching up, then jumping back into plank, and scooping up into urdhva mukha svanasana."

Naruto: "Dude, do you have any idea what she's talking about?"

Pirate: "Aye, I've been practicing ashtanga yoga for twenty-five years."

Naruto: "TWENTY-FIVE YEARS?! Dude, you've got like four moveable joints in your whole body, what's the point?"

Pirate: "Watch it, laddie. My joints may be stiff but I could snap your neck with my kundalini."

utkatasana_12 Karai: "Now, with your knees deeply bent as though you're about to sit down, inhale your arms up, bring your hands together, and look at your thumbs."

Pirate: "Bend your knees, boy! Yer lucky to have 'em! And move your elbows together or I'll run ye through with me sword!"

utkatasana_13 Naruto: "Dude, it's kind of hard to relax and concentrate when someone's threatening to stab you."

Pirate: "Arrgh! Yer finally graspin' the contradictory nature of yoga itself!"

Naruto: "This sucks. Plus, my thighs are on fire."

utkatasana_15 Pirate: "Five to eight breaths, boy. Mr. Peaches! Yer presence is requested, ye banana-hoarding little beast!"

utkatasana_16 Pirate: "Mr. Peaches here is a bodhisattva, don't ye know -- a perfectly evolved being who sacrificed nirvana to reincarnate in this form and aid humanity. Taught me everything I know about pranayama, the little imp. So stay in that pose or I'll send him back over here to rip out yer throat."

Naruto: "Man, this is hardcore."

utkatasana_17 Pirate: "Dum-te-dum-te-dee, a pirate's life for meeee!"

utkatasana_18 Karai: "Release the pose and exhale forward . . ."

Naruto: "Thank you, God."

utkatasana_19 Karai: ". . . and go ahead and jump back . . ."

utkatasana_21 Karai: ". . . vinyasa into downward-facing dog . . ."

Pirate: "Arrgh! The Kraken! Ye vile demon, we meet again!"

utkatasana_23 Karai: ". . . and come back to standing. Good work."

Pirate: "Mmmph! Mmmph!"

utkatasana_24 Naruto: "Wow, thanks. That really sucked there for a minute, but now I really feel loose and strong in my arms!"

Karai: "That effect sometimes occurs when the arms have been raised for a short time; bringing them back down lets the blood flow back into them, re-energizing them and preparing them for the next pose."

utkatasana_25 Naruto: "That's amazing."

Karai: "That's yoga."

Pirate: "What's amazing is that I'm bein' dragged out t'sea and you two are jaw-bonin' about yer arms! Help me, ye navel-gazin' scalliwags!"

utkatasana_26 Naruto: ""Did you hear something?"

Karai: "No mercy, no power but its own controls it. Panting and snorting like a mad battle steed that has lost its rider, the masterless ocean overruns the globe."

Naruto: "Hey, is that from Moby Dick?"

Karai: "It is."

Pirate: *glub*

ashtanga yoga

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

a_b_p_07

a_b_p_01Spiderman: "I thought we'd have class outside today on this rustic wood plank. Any objections?"

a_b_p_02 Mr. Freeze: "As soon as I can think of a diabolical response to that question, I will impart it to you, web-slinging do-gooder." Flash: "Dude, is this floor made out of an old fence or something?" Woody: "Don't fence me in! Ha, ha!" Green Lantern: "Oh my god, I think I'm in the wrong class."

a_b_p_04 Spiderman: "Today's pose is ardha baddha padmottanasana." Mr. Freeze: "Look at us when you're speaking! You are very rude! What are these foreign terms you flaunt before us?" Flash: "It's Sanskrit, freezer face." Woody: "I know! Golly! It means "half bound lotus standing forward bend"! Spiderman: "Right, Woody! And also, just so everyone knows, ah, my neck is broken."

a_b_p_05 Spiderman: "Okay, I'm going to demonstrate the pose. Inhale and bring your right foot up to your left thigh, then bring your arm around your back and with your right hand grab the big toe of your right foot.

a_b_p_06 Mr. Freeze: "This is madness!" Flash: "My knees don't bend." Woody: "Mine, neither." Green Lantern: "Mine do but I don't want to show off and make you guys feel bad. Also, I look fabulous standing here like this."

a_b_p_07 Spiderman: "Then exhale and bend forward, still holding onto your toe, keeping your standing leg strong, and placing your left palm flat on the floor."

a_b_p_09 Mr. Freeze: " . . . " Flash: " . . . " Woody: " . . . " Green Lantern: " . . . "

a_b_p_10 Mr. Freeze: "Are you going to kill him? Or should I?" Flash: "Dude, that's not cool." Mr. Freeze: "Your freezer-themed humor is childish and insulting." Flash: "Do you ever get any oxygen in that helmet? Seriously."

a_b_p_11 Woody: "Gosh, Mr. Lantern, you look like you're in really good shape! Did you get that way just from practicing yoga?" Green Lantern: "No, I just keep every single muscle in my body flexed at all times."

a_b_p_13 Spiderman: "Hold for five to eight breaths . . . "

a_b_p_14 Spiderman: " . . . then come back up to standing, still holding your toe, and with your left arm raised high."

a_b_p_17 Mr. Freeze: "You dastardly scoundrel, I have no left arm! Your foreign practice mocks amputees."

a_b_p_16 Flash: "Don't be a whiner, Frosty." Woody: "Don't be a Don't-Be, be a Do-Be!" Green Lantern: "And here are my triceps."

a_b_p_18 Spiderman: "And release and come back to standing, then get ready to do the same thing on the other side."

a_b_p_19 Mr. Freeze: "I knew it! Spiderman is trying to disable us with his rigorous spiritual exercises." Flash: "The backwards leg? I don't think that was supposed to happen." Woody: "I think he's just incredibly flexible!" Green Lantern: "I think I'm in love."

ashtanga yoga

Now a Word from Not-Our Sponsor

mcd_tree_pose

We're taking a short break from the hilarity that accompanies learning yoga from plastic action figures to show you a bag from not-our sponsor, McDonald's: mcd_tree_pose

(We are not going to tell you how we came into possession of this bag except to warn you that you may be disappointed in our not-completely-vegetarian lifestyle. But you must understand that the dietary needs of plastic superheros are different from yours.)

So, McDonalds! What's up with this?

This bag contained a somewhat bland sandwich consisting primarily of ground-up cow.

You offer the cow flesh sandwich in a bag that has the image of a pretty American woman demonstrating yoga.

You believe that yoga is a healthy practice, and so you like to associate health with your cow flesh sandwiches.

Yoga is a practice that was developed in a country wherein cows are traditionally allowed to roam the streets and live their happy cow lives through to their natural ends, and not have their flesh end up between two bleached-flour buns and accompanied by fries and a Coke.

Also, the pretty American woman doing vrksasana, the tree pose? On a paper bag made of? Trees!

I'M LOVIN' IT, MCDONALD'S! A++ FOR IRONY!

ashtanga yoga

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

utthita_hp_08

utthita_hp_01 Frozone: "Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana?! What the hell does that mean?

Pokey: "Utthita means 'extended,' hasta means 'hand,' padangustha is 'big toe,' and asana is 'pose' or 'posture.'"

Frozone: "Goddamnit, you're a horse! How do you know that!"

Pokey: "I had spent many years working in public television when Gumby introduced me to Lilias Folan. She changed my life."

Frozone: "Oh. I thought you were going to tell me you were a reincarnated swami or some shit like that."

utthita_hp_02

Pokey: "Let us begin. Exhale and stand with a firm foundation. You have very small feet."

Frozone: "I have small feet? This from a guy with hooves."

utthita_hp_03

Pokey: "You may use me as support for the time being. Now, inhale, place your hands on your hips, and begin to raise your right foot off the floor. Gaze down your nose to the floor and find a point to focus on. This is called a drishti and will help you to remain balanced."

Frozone: "If I shot hot laser beams out of my eyes I might believe that."

Pokey: "Yet it is a soft gaze that will hold you steady. Try it."

Frozone: "Damn, you're one bossy little pony."

Pokey: (giggles) "That is also true."

utthita_hp_04

Frozone: "Shit, my feet are too small."

Pokey: "No, your balance is exquisite, I have seen you at work. But when fighting evil robots you are constantly in motion, sliding on your ice shield."

Frozone: "It's kinda like surfing."

Pokey: "Yes. But it takes a different set of thoughts and muscles to balance while remaining still. While in motion your bearing is relaxed and fluid. That conscious intention will be the same here."

Frozone: "Man! This is hard, little pony."

Pokey: "Too bad, tiny-footed superhero."

utthita_hp_05

Pokey: "Now, exhale and try to touch your chin to your shin."

Frozone: "GAAAAAHHH!"

utthita_hp_06

Pokey: "Allow me to continue assisting you."

Frozone: "Thank you."

Pokey: "Now, if you cannot get your chin to meet your leg . . . "

Frozone: "I think it's pretty goddamn clear that that's not going to happen."

Pokey: ". . . then just come as far forward as you can, holding onto your big toe, slowly closing the distance between them for five breaths."

Frozone: "Little pony, you are asking me to do the impossible!"

Pokey: "With diligence and concentration, even a tortoise may climb downstairs."

Frozone: "Yeah, right! I'd like to see that."

utthita_hp_07

Pokey: "Now, exhale and take your leg off to the side, keeping your hip tucked in and standing straight through your leg and up through your spine. Then change your drishti to a point on the floor on your left side."

Frozone: "Be honest, now, do you think doing yoga will help me score with the ladies?"

Pokey: "Perhaps not if the ladies are aware of the existence of your wife?"

utthita_hp_08

Frozone: "Oh, yeah. Thanks for reminding me, for a minute there the past, present, and future had become one and I couldn't remember which astral plane I was currently inhabiting."

Pokey: "Oh, dear, don't listen to those girls at the front desk: you should not smoke pot before coming to class."

Frozone: "Sorry, Pokey."

utthita_hp_09

Pokey: "Now, exhale and fold forward, chin to shin, for one breath, then let go of your toe, put your hands on your hips, and hold up your leg for five breaths."

Frozone: "Man, I do not have the abdominals for this."

Pokey: "You have the core strength, I believe, but your hip flexors are tight. Do you do a lot of running?"

Frozone: "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"

Pokey: "You will find that consistent attention to your practice will bring this pose to fruition. As you can see . . . "

utthita_hp_10

Pokey: " . . . though some would think me anatomically incapable of doing such a thing, I have been able to achieve some measure of success with this asana."

Frozone: "Well, I'll be dipped."

utthita_hp_11

Pokey: "Allow me to assist you with the other side."

Frozone: "Okay, boss, but don't keep harping on me grabbing my big toe, okay? These booties don't come off unless I take the whole outfit off, and I'm not doing any damn naked yoga."

Pokey: "You may grab the side of your foot for now, but next time I recommend bare feet and a pair of comfortable shorts. Prana makes some nice ones.

Frozone: "Are you trying to slip advertising into your noble teachings?"

Pokey: "Pokey got to get paid, son."

utthita_hp_12

Pokey: "Very nice, keeping the intention of bringing your leg further up, five breaths here."

utthita_hp_13

Pokey: "Now, leg coming out to the side and change your drishti to the right, very good."

Frozone: "You aren't even looking at me! How do you know what I'm doing is very good?"

Pokey: "My pineal gland, in the back of my brain, is actually a rudimentary eyeball."

Frozone: "What are you, some kind of prehistoric lizard in a horse outfit?"

Pokey: "No, I am a simple claymation figurine, but my creator had some interesting views on the evolution of primordial consciousness."

Frozone: "Well, that explains it."

utthita_hp_14

Pokey: "And inhale your leg back to front, exhale and fold forward one last time . . . "

utthita_hp_15

Pokey: " . . . and hands on hips, hold up your leg as high as you can for five breaths."

Frozone: "Tell me why I shouldn't be happy with my leg at this height, what's the point of trying to jack it up to meet my head?"

Pokey: "Your pose is perfect just as it is."

Frozone: "Aw, now, don't go getting all Yoda on me. I know Yoda and you, my little clay friend, are no goddamn Yoda."

utthita_hp_16

Pokey: "And bring your leg down on an exale and you are finished! Good work, superhero. I see a great future for your yoga practice."

utthita_hp_19

Frozone: "Thanks, little clay wizard. My hamstrings are going to hurt like shit tomorrow, aren't they?"

Pokey: "Yes."

ashtanga yoga

Parsvottanasana

parsvottanasana_13

parsvottanasana_03Barbie: "Hi! I'm Cheerleader Barbie! I'm taking my first yoga class today. I'm a little nervous about it. I talk a lot when I'm nervous! Did you know that some people think that yoga clears your mind, but if your mind is clear, that means Jesus is gone, too, and Satan can slip in and take over your soul?"

parsvottanasana_05 Spiderman: "Well, uh, I've never seen it happen, but I guess that doesn't mean it hasn't."

Barbie: "Omigod, are you kidding? You're totally kidding, right? Please say you're kidding or I will be So. Freaked. Out."

Spiderman: "Wow, hey, it's cool."

Barbie: "I'm totally freaked! Should I, like, start praying furiously RIGHT THIS SECOND?"

Spiderman: "Well, normally, before we begin an Ashtanga class we stand together and chant for a bit, is that all right? That might do the trick."

Barbie: "Is chanting like praying?"

Spiderman: "Kind of. I mean, yoga isn't strictly a religious practice, but it's a practice that can enhance and bring you closer to your own spirituality. That's the party line, anyway."

Barbie: "Well, you know what, I already said a whole BUNCH of prayers before you even got here, so I guess I'm ready to go."

Spider-man: "Oh. Okay. Well, let's just start then. I like your outfit, by the way."

Barbie: "Thanks! I am totally positive about yoga. Except for, you know, the part where you have to fight off Satan. But I think I can do it."

Spiderman: "I doubt you'll see Satan, but if you see a dude with blue skin let me know, it might be Nightcrawler. I owe him some money."

parsvottanasana_06 Spiderman: "Okay, paarsvottanasana means "intense side stretch pose," so what you need to do first is step your feet about three feet apart and get your hands behind your back in reverse namaste."

Barbie: "Reverse namaste? What's that?"

parsvottanasana_13 Spiderman: "It's like -- it's like when you put your hands together in prayer, but you slide them up behind you, between your shoulderblades."

Barbie: "Ohmygod, reverse prayer position? That is totally the position of Satan."

Spider-man: "Uh, I never thought of it that way . . . "

Barbie: "Okay, listen, don't worry, I'm totally badass bendy, if Satan comes in I will get all up in his business, okay? But is it okay if I lean up against the wall while we do this?"

Spider-man: "Why do you need the wall?"

Barbie: "Because I can't stand up on my stupid feet."

parsvottanasana_12 Spider-man: "Whoa!"

Barbie: "See what I mean? I mean, I look really hot in heels but I'm screwed if I need to find a pair of sneakers that fit."

Spider-man: "Yeah, I can see how that'd be a problem . . ."

Barbie: "So, if you could just support me while I get into position?"

Spider-man: "Uh, okay."

Barbie: "Is this right? Are my hands in the right place?"

Spider-man: "Brahmacharya, brahmacharya, brahmacharya."

parsvottanasana_16 Spiderman: "Okay, exhale and bend over your right leg."

Barbie: "Like this?"

parsvottanasana_18 Spiderman: "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

Barbie: "How cute is it that you said that? Now, how long do I stay down here?"

Spider-man: "Give me a minute."

Barbie: "What?"

Spider-man: "I mean, five to eight breaths."

parsvottanasana_19 Barbie: "Whew! I came up too fast!"

parsvottanasana_20 Spider-man: "Ah, you're experiencing some phenomena?"

Barbie: "Wow, what a trip! This yoga shit is off the hook!"

parsvottanasana_23 Spider-man: "Okay, now reverse your feet and on an exhale tip your torso over your left leg. Five to eight breaths here."

parsvottanasana_24 Barbie: "Oh, yeah, this feels so great! I want to go deeper, baby, oh, yeah, deeper, yeah . . ."

Spider-man: "Help . . . me . . . Krishna."

parsvottanasana_27 Barbie: "Whew! That was great! I am totally going to tell all my friends about yoga. I'm going to get my whole squad in here for your next class. They're going to love it! We are totally going shopping before we come, too."

Spider-man: "Sure, ah, that's great. Say, how many of you are there, altogether?"

Barbie: "Seventeen. And we all look EXACTLY THE SAME! Isn't that awesome? We are so cute when we wear all the same outfit, too."

parsvottanasana_28 Spider-man: "I'll bet. Say, did you change your shirt?"

Barbie: "No, why do you ask?"

Spider-man: "No reason, I just thought it used to say something else."

ashtanga yoga

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C and D

prasarita_p_C_02

After a little unexpected time off for summer flu, everyone here at yogabeans! is very excited to be breathing through our noses again and ready to welcome the Fantastic Four to the shala for a little Prasarita Padottanasana, superhero style. prasarita_p_A_01

Elastigirl: "From left to right, we have the Thing."

Thing: "Howsit goin', Elastigirl."

Elastigirl: "Great, how are you feeling this morning, Thing?"

Thing: "Like kickin' yoga's butt."

Elastigirl: "Okay, maybe we'll start you off with a little pranayama. Next we have Mr. Fantastic."

Mr. Fantastic: "Good morning, Elastigirl, I'm pleased to be here."

Elastigirl: "Do you think you could stand up, Mr. Fantastic?"

Mr. Fantastic: "Unfortunately, Dr. Doom virtually destroyed my molecular structure and I have no muscle control at the moment."

Elastigirl: "We'll get you on some breathing, too. Next is the Invisible Woman!"

Invisible Woman: "Hi, Elastigirl."

Elastigirl: "Nice to see you here, Sue, we don't see a lot of female action figures doing ashtanga."

Invisible Woman: "Well, the female superhero is normally too busy being a sex fantasy/sidekick to be given any meaningful interests, as you can see by my superbly molded ass."

Elastigirl: "I thought that was because you were modeled on Jessica Alba."

Invisible Woman: "And what kind of career do you think she'd have if it weren't for these lucious melons?"

Elastigirl: "I see you've successfully assimilated the underlying sexism of the superhero-based comic book culture."

Invisible Woman: "Well, you hang around with Batman long enough, you start to absorb quite a bit of self-hatred."

Elastigirl: "We'll see if we can get you back into balance today. And to your left is your little brother, Johnny Storm, the Human Torch! Welcome, Torch. Looks like you're already warmed up."

Human Torch: "Ha. Can we get started, please?"

prasarita_p_A_02 Elastigirl: "You bet! Everyone jump your legs apart and then turn your toes slightly inward."

Thing: "Not even close, lady."

Elastigirl: "Well, you are made out of rock."

Thing: "I wish I was stuffed with silicone like Brain-O, here."

Mr. Fantastic: "No, you don't. Is it alright if I just lay here and wheeze laboriously?"

Elastigirl: "I want everyone, and you two in particular, to focus on filling your chest with each breath. Feel the front, sides, and back of your ribcage expanding and your bandhas lifting up."

prasarita_p_A_03 Elastigirl: "Inhale, hands on hips, lift your heart up . . ."

Thing: "What the hell is a bandha?"

Elastigirl: "If you read the Wikihealth link you'll find it's an energy lock. There's one in your perinium, another in your lower abdomen, another in your throat."

Thing: "My peri- what?"

Elastigirl: "Perineum. It's between your anus and your scrotum."

Thing: "You want me to lock something between my anus?"

Elastigirl: "Control over your anus will give you control over your mind."

Thing: "You've gotta be shittin' me."

prasarita_p_A_04 Elastigirl: "Now, keeping your back and neck in a straight line I want you to exhale, bend forward, and put your hands on the floor between your feet, shoulder-width apart. Then inhale and come up to your fingertips. Sue, Johnny, looking good."

Thing: "Hey, what about me and Reed?"

Elastigirl: "You two just keeping focusing on your breath, breathe into the resistance."

Thing: "My entire body is resisting this crap."

Mr. Fantastic: "If only I could just breathe . . . into . . . my . . . lungs . . ."

Invisible Woman: "So what you're saying is, I'm supposed to jack my ass up into the air and then stick my boobs out as far as possible?"

Elastigirl: "Ah, well, you want to think of tipping your pelvis forward as though it was a bowl of water, you don't really want to exaggerate the curve of your spine, just lead with your heart and don't worry about your boobs."

Invisible Woman: "But they're amazing boobs, you have to admit."

Human Torch: "It is so not fair that you're my sister."

Invisible Woman: "Oh, gross, Johnny."

prasarita_p_A_05 Elastigirl: "And now reach down toward the floor with the crown of your head."

Mr. Fantastic: "Ow."

Thing: "This is fucking ridiculous."

Elastigirl: "Just do the best you can, Thing."

Thing: "The best I can fucking sucks."

Elastigirl: "Just breathe . . ."

Thing: "I got your breathing right here, lady."

Mr. Fantastic: "Ben, don't take your frustrations out on Elastigirl, she's really very highly accomplished, you should listen to her."

Thing: "Naw, I should've listened to that little voice in my head that told me Hulk was full of shit when he told me this'd be good for me."

prasarita_p_A_06 Elastigirl: "Okay, inhale and come back up, hands on hips. Next you're going to fold back down keeping your hands on your hips but still stretching your head toward the floor."

prasarita_p_B_01 Thing: "Who invented this?"

Mr. Fantastic: "Ben . . ."

Thing: "Seriously, who thought this would be a good idea? Look at those two, they look fucking ridiculous."

Human Torch: "Not half as ridiculous as you, rock head."

Thing: "Watch it, match stick."

Human Torch: "You might want to try a little harder, maybe you'll be able to wipe your own ass someday."

prasarita_p_B_02 Elastigirl: "And inhale back up, and Reed? Are you okay?"

Mr. Fantastic: "No, no, I'm fine, please continue, I'm just down here opening up my vishuddha chakra."

Elastigirl: "Oh, that sounds good. Everybody else, clasp your hands behind your back with your arms straight, inhale, look up, and get ready to fold forward again."

Thing: "Again? This is the most tedious fifteen minutes I've ever spent in my life."

Invisible Woman: "If you don't like it, Ben, you can just leave."

Human Torch: "He can't leave, we're a team, we just have to figure out a way to make him suffer his way to enlightenment, too."

Thing: "Keep busting my chops, hot shot, and I'll put my pada straight up your asana."

prasarita_p_C_01 Thing: "You're not going to get enlightened until your shoulders come out of their sockets, is that it?"

Invisible Woman: "If you must know, we're clearing our nerve pathways and creating heat to purify our physical bodies."

Thing: "Yeah? And it helps to cheat?"

prasarita_p_C_02 Invisible Woman: "I'm not cheating, what are you talking about?"

Human Torch: "Sue, you're the only one who can do this pose and it's because you have tape wrapped around your wrists."

Invisible Woman: "Tape is a prop. Using props is not cheating."

Human Torch: "Oh, okay, next time I'll get a trained monkey to do this for me."

Invisible Woman: "God, you're so stupid, I can't believe I'm related to you. Obviously if the monkey were doing the yoga for you THE MONKEY WOULD GET ENLIGHTENED, NOT YOU."

prasarita_p_C_03 Elastigirl: "Okay, last one! Inhale up, and then fold forward, grab onto your big toes with your first two fingers, and bring your head to the floor between your feet. You should be able to get a little closer this time, now that your muscles are accustomed to the pose."

Thing: "Oh, yeah, it's much easier now that I've completely given up. Reed, you need a hand?"

Mr. Fantastic: "Thanks, Ben, I appreciate your help."

Thing: "Since props ain't cheating, I figure one of us should get to Nirvana."

prasarita_p_D_01 Mr. Fantastic: "Sue has the best ass ever."

Human Torch: "Do you mind? We're working on some upper chakra stuff over here, Mr. Slimeball."

Thing: "Hey! Don't you talk to Reed like that, you little charcoal briquette, or I'll knock every flaming tooth out of that hot noggin a' yours."

Mr. Fantastic: "I can't help it, those tight yoga clothes she wears, I -- I only wish that some part -- any part of me -- wasn't so flaccid."

Invisible Woman: "God! I can't believe I married such a brainiac and he can't even reverse his own molecular decomposition. It's a good thing I went to MIT and can go back to the lab and develop some sort of healing machine that will align your vital energies and give you a stiffie."

prasarita_p_D_02 Elastigirl: "And inhale up . . . "

Human Torch: "Thank God! My ankles were on fire."

Invisible Woman: "I know you think you're funny? But trust me, you're not."

Human Torch: "You wouldn't know funny if it punched you in the mouth."

Invisible Woman: "If funny punched me in the mouth I'd say, You know what, Funny? I'm not laughing."

Thing: "I'm beggin' the both of ya's, just SHUT. UP."

prasarita_p_D_03 Elastigirl: ". . . and hop your feet back together. Great work today, thank you so much, everyone, for your help in demonstrating Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, and D."

Human Torch: "Sue taped her hands together again!"

Invisible Woman: "You're a tattletale and I hate you!"

prasarita_p_D_05 Elastigirl: "Sue, don't worry about Johnny, sometimes our families feel threatened when we grow out of the roles they're used to us playing; old rivalries can spring up."

Invisible Woman: "Oh, thanks, Elastigirl. Johnny's a good brother, he's a jerk only some of the time."

Elastigirl: "That reminds me, I wanted to ask you, how do you deal with having been manufactured on a different scale than your husband? It can't be easy."

Invisible Woman: "It's not, but fortunately while I work on the molecular recomposition machine, let's just say that this Mr. Fantastic isn't the only Mr. Fantastic."

prasarita_p_D_06 Elastigirl: "Oh!"

Mr. Fantastic With Detachable Arms: "Hi! I can do amazing things with my hands!"

Elastigirl: "I bet you can!"

Invisible Woman: "So, you see, we've managed to solve the scale problem by bringing in a pinch hitter, so to speak."

prasarita_p_D_07 Elastigirl: "Oh, hi, honey! Did you hear what the Fantastics are doing? Sue has interchangeable husbands."

Mr. Incredible: "Hey, that's a swell idea. That sure would free me up to do a lot more 'bowling' with Frozone."

Invisible Woman: "That sounds kind of dirty."

Elastigirl: "Oh, they just pretend to go bowling, they really go sit in an alley and listen to a police scanner."

Invisible Woman: "That still sounds kind of dirty."

Mr. Incredible: "Well, occasionally I do come home with rubble in my underwear."

prasarita_p_D_08 Little Mr. Incredible: "Hi, Elastigirl! I hear you had an opening for a backdoor man."

Elastigirl: "Now that is dirty! Namaste, everyone! We'll see you next time!

ashtanga yoga

Utthita Parsvakonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana

p_parsvakonasana_01_e

Elastigirl: "Well, it looks like Duke managed to haul all the G.I. Joe Sigma 6 operatives out of their weapons cases and into the shala today. Good work, Duke!" Duke: "Thanks, Elastigirl."

u_parsvakonasana_01 From left to right: Storm Shadow, Kamakura, Snake Eyes, Heavy Duty, Duke, and Spirit Iron-Knife.

Elastigirl: "I also see you changed into your skintight underwater ops uniform."

Duke: "I don't do baggy."

Elastigirl: "I'm not complaining! So how'd you get this bunch of assassins to do yoga with you today?"

Duke: "I basically shamed them into it, Elastigirl. I said, You can defuse a ticking bomb in an unpiloted airplane nosediving toward Mt. Kilimanjaro at 700 m.p.h. but you're AFRAID of YOGA?" Of course, some of them were bound to complain . . .

u_parsvakonasana_02 Storm Shadow: "Aww c'mon, Duke, me and Kamakura finally got a date with Strawberry Shortcake and Mermaid Barbie. We were going to go sit by the window and slowly melt in the sun over the course of several weeks."

Kamakura: "I washed my loincloth and everything!"

Duke: "While others responded with the dedication and discipline I've come to rely on . . ."

u_parsvakonasana_03 Spirit Iron-Knife: "Fuck those assholes and their blueberry-scented girlfriends. Me and Heavy Duty are with you, Duke."

Heavy Duty: "Fuckin' A."

Duke: "Excellent. Snake Eyes?"

u_parsvakonasana_16 Snake Eyes: "Mmmph!"

Elastigirl: "Duke, you're the man. And so the soft aroma of burning doll hair will have to wait until the men have practiced these two intense side stretches, Utthita Parsvakonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana, together, as a team!"

om_spacer

u_parsvakonasana_04 Duke: "Okay, ladies, jump your feet wide apart!"

G. I. Joes: "Sir! Yes, sir!"

u_parsvakonasana_05 Duke: "Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and bend your knee at a right angle! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?"

G. I. Joes: "SIR! YES, SIR!"

Duke: "Goddamn right I do! Now stretch those right arms down and plant your right hand on the floor on the outside of your right foot! Then stretch your left arm up over your ear, toward the wall, with your palm facing down! Look up toward your extended palm! THAT'S AN ORDER!"

G. I. Joes: "SIR! YES, SIR!"

u_parsvakonasana_06 Duke: "Kamakura, what the holy bleeding fuck are you doing?"

Kamakura: "Sir! I am attempting to do the pose, sir!"

Duke: "We are not putting on a goddamn Broadway show here, Kamakura. This is not A Chorus Line."

Kamakura: "Sir! I find I am able to lunge quite deeply but my torso lacks the articulation needed to fold over my bent knee, Sir!"

Duke: "Kamakura, the point of these two poses is to create a line of energy running from your grounded back foot all the way up through your spine and shooting out your fingertips. Like a spear, a warrior's spear, son! That's why your pretty little nancy ass is here, because you're a warrior! Or am I mistaken? Are you or are you not a warrior!"

Kamakura: "Sir! I am a warrior, sir!"

Duke: "Then, Mother of God, start acting like one. Look at Storm Shadow there in front of you, he's got a nice modification going with his elbow resting on his knee and his left arm stretching up. Try that."

Kamakura: "Sir! Om shanti, sir!"

u_parsvakonasana_07 Heavy Duty: "Om shanti? What the fuck is that?"

Spirit Iron-Knife: "Om is the sound of the universe, from which all other sounds are formed. Shanti means 'peace'."

Heavy Duty: "How in hell do you know that?"

Spirit Iron-Knife: "I'm a mystical motherfucker."

Heavy Duty: "Daaamn."

u_parsvakonasana_08 Duke: "Okay, ladies, bring it back to center and get ready to do the same pose on the other side."

u_parsvakonasana_10 Duke: "Heads center. That includes you, Ali Baba."

Storm Shadow: "Who are you calling Ali Baba?"

Duke: "You, Mr. Puffy Pants."

u_parsvakonasana_11 Storm Shadow: "I'm part of a ninja death squad! We all dress like this!"

Duke: "Well, then you all look like you want to be rubbing Aladdin's lamp for him until it squirts out a genie."

Kamakura: "Let it go, man. He's on a power trip."

Storm Shadow: "I swear, one of these days I'm going to shove my foot straight up his muladhara chakra."

u_parsvakonasana_12 Duke: "Now, bend those left knees, ladies! Right arms up! Spears of warrior energy!"

G. I. Joes: "Spears of warrior energy, Sir!"

u_parsvakonasana_13 Duke: "Let me hear some breathing, warriors! Slow, steady ujayi breathing! Contract that glottis! I want it to sound like a goddamn Star Wars convention in here! I want to feel like Darth-fucking-Vader is about to crush my windpipe with the power of the goddamn Force!"

G. I. Joes: "Hhhhooooo HHHUUURRRRRRR hhhhhhooooo HHHHUUURRR."

Duke: "That's more like it! Damn, I like that sound."

u_parsvakonasana_14 Duke: "Now, back to center! We will now perform the counter-pose, Parivritta Parsvakonasana! You WILL bend your right knee at a 90 degree angle, and you WILL twist your torso around until your LEFT hand is planted on the OUTSIDE of your RIGHT foot! Am I making myself clear, you lazy-ass bunch of pussywillows?"

Snake Eyes: "Mmph!"

Heavy Duty: "Aw, shit, he knows we can't do that."

Spirit Iron-Knife: "You must set your intention and work toward your goal while at the same time remembering aparigraha, non-grasping, non-attachment to results. You must mindfully aim at your target, but then you must let go of the desire to hit the target."

Heavy Duty: "You are one mystical son of a bitch. Did your mama teach you that?"

Spirit Iron-Knife: "No, I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in high school."

u_parsvakonasana_15 Storm Shadow: "I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna show that Duke I can out-pose him any day of the week!"

Kamakura: "I'm with you, man! Balls to the wall!"

p_parsvakonasana_01 Heavy Duty: "Man, that is some fucked-up shit. Kamakura, you look like you twisted so far around you can't breathe, and Mr. I-Dream-of-Jeannie here is so backward he came around frontward again."

p_parsvakonasana_02 Duke: "Heavy Duty, return to your position, do not break ranks! I repeat, do not break ranks!"

p_parsvakonasana_03 Heavy Duty: "Yeah, but Duke, look at these guys! I'm sorry, but that just isn't natural."

p_parsvakonasana_04 Spirit Iron-Knife: "But it is natural. The first series of ashtanga yoga is completely within the body's normal range of motion. But in Western society we have allowed our bodies and our minds to stiffen through our dependence on the crutches of convenience. We subsist on the poisonous seed of conditioned existence."

Duke: "Bravo, soldier, I couldn't have said it better myself."

Spirit Iron-Knife: "Thank you. My father was the shaman of his tribe."

Heavy Duty: "I knew it!"

Duke: "Heavy Duty, I'm going to cut you a break. I can see you have a need to approach the poses verbally and intellectually so let's open up a copy of David Swenson's Practice Manual and see if we can shed some light."

p_parsvakonasana_06 Duke: "Now, here we see Mr. Swenson in the finished pose. That's some goddamn warrior spear energy right there, I tell you what."

Snake Eyes: "Mmmph!"

Duke: "See how that back foot is grounded? See the way the twist starts at the base of his spine and rotates his torso right around? He's got his gut tucked in tight and that top arm is long and straight and strong as the stem of a flower."

Heavy Duty: "Duke, you're a poet."

Duke: "I dabble."

p_parsvakonasana_05 Duke: "Now, here we see Mr. Swenson modifying Parivritta Parsvakonasana -- he's still getting a good twist but instead of getting that hand on the floor he's put both hands together in namaste position. Perfectly valid way to do the pose."

Spirit Iron-Knife: "Uh, Duke, I think we got a situation over here . . . "

p_parsvakonasana_07 Spirit Iron-Knife: " . . . I think they're dead."

Duke: "Sweet Shiva, soldier, how did this happen?"

Spirit Iron-Knife: "I think they held the pose too long."

p_parsvakonasana_09 Duke: "Damn it! I told them to keep breathing! If you're twisting so deep you can't breathe you have to back off! Modify your position! It's common sense!"

Snake Eyes: "Mmmph."

p_parsvakonasana_08 Heavy Duty: "They could have gone into child's pose, there's no shame in that."

p_parsvakonasana_10 Spirit Iron-Knife: "Obviously they felt there was. They had too much ego to go through a period of weakness and instability while their bodies opened up. They forced the pose and now they have paid for their grasping egos with their lives."

Heavy Duty: "Well, they were good soldiers. They didn't want to take on this mission. They did not do their parsvakonasanas wisely, but they did them without question." p_parsvakonasana_11 R.I.P. Storm Shadow and Kamakura: Heroes, or two pussies who couldn't hack ashtanga yoga? You decide.

ashtanga yoga

Utthita Trikonasana and Parivritta Trikonasana

trikonasana_08

Well! Classes are getting more popular here at yogabeans! Word must be spreading. I guess if you jam a bunch of superheroes into the same toy drawer every night they will talk. Today's guest teacher is Bendy Marge Simpson. Marge is one of our most advanced teachers. Her yogic knowledge is so deep that her daily practice consists of mixing cake batter in a Tupperware bowl while doing advanced pranayama, which really gets her chakras a-whirlin'.

trikonasana_00 Our demonstrators are, from left to right, The Hulk, Batman from Batman Begins, and Cole, the Red Lion Wild Force Power Ranger.

Welcome, superheroes! Let's get to work on these two poses, known familiarly as Triangle and Revolved Triangle.

trikonasana_01 Marge: Okay, everyone! Inhale and jump your feet apart!

Power Ranger: Is this far enough, Marge?

Marge: Oh, that's very good! Ideally the distance between your feet will be equal to the length of one of your legs. Imagine one of your legs lying on the floor, and then put one foot where the foot would be and the other foot where the bloody stump that fits into your hip joint would be!

Hulk: RRRRRRRR!

Batman: I like your style, Marge.

trikonasana_02 Marge: Great! Now exhale and turn your right foot out and bring your right hand down as far as you can toward your foot. If you can grab your big toe, that's terrific! Otherwise, you can rest your hand lightly on your knee and slowly work it down your shin. Bring your left shoulder back and look up at your left hand, which needs to go straight up! Look at your thumb! It will help you stay balanced! Five to eight breaths here.

Hulk: RRRRR! Can't do pose! Too angry!

Batman: Well, don't look at me, for Christ's sake, I can barely move my arms.

Power Ranger: Dudes! Yoga is totally awesome!

trikonasana_03 Marge: Hulk, do you need me to explain the pose again?

Hulk: Hulk too masculine for yoga!

Marge: Oh, don't be silly. Look at Batman, he's very masculine. And Red Power Ranger, you wouldn't call him feminine, would you?

Hulk: Yes, Hulk would! Red Power Ranger covered in Spandex! Red Power Ranger very, very gay!

Power Ranger: I'm not gay, I'm just from the eighties!

Hulk: Everyone in eighties gay!

Batman: Hell, I was gay in the eighties.

trikonasana_04 Marge: That's better, Hulk! Now you're getting it!

Hulk: Hulk feel like big, green sissy.

Marge: Everyone, use this opportunity to support the balance of masculine and feminine within, strength and ease, hard and soft.

Hulk: Marge too beautiful to have masculine within.

Marge: Tee hee!

Batman: Give it a rest, Greenie.

trikonasana_05 Marge: Wonderful, gentlemen! Now, inhale back to center . . .

trikonasana_06 Marge: . . . then rotate your left foot out, exhale your left arm down to your big toe or shin, and look up as you stretch your right arm toward the sky!

Hulk: Hulk only see ceiling.

Batman: It's a figure of speech, you big, badly dressed homophobe.

Power Ranger: I can see the sky! In my imagination! It's a big, beautiful blue sky full of fluffy little clouds!

Batman: Jesus.

trikonasana_08 Marge: Hulk, I'm worried you might be over-rotating your neck.

Hulk: HULK WANT TO SEE SKY!

Marge: Hulk, try to find the ease within the work of each pose.

Hulk: Hulk weeping salty tears of frustration. Hulk hate yoga.

Marge: Part of the work of yoga is accepting your body as it is, right now, Hulk. Just breathe into the resistance you're feeling.

Hulk: Okay. *sigh*

p_trikonasana_00 Marge: Let's inhale back to center, boys, and move on to revolved triangle. It's the same pose, but with a twist!

Hulk: Marge funny!

p_trikonasana_01 Marge: Excellent twisting, everyone! Five to eight breaths, now. Batman, is your cape getting in the way?

Batman: No.

Hulk: Capes gay.

Batman: I've about had it with you, Frankenstein.

p_trikonasana_02 Marge: And inhale back to center . . .

p_trikonasana_03 Marge: . . . and rotate your left foot out and twist out over your left leg, starting at the base of your spine and opening your chest, softening your neck, and reaching to place your right hand on the outside of your left foot.

Hulk: Huh?

Marge: Hulk, just work on twisting gently from your waist -- you seem to have left it behind somehow, and spun your thoractic spine all the way around. How did you do that!

Batman: Mattel. Always cutting corners.

Hulk: Hulk not by Mattel! Hulk high-quality roto-cast poseable figure by ToyBiz.

Batman: Yeah, but do you have a dick?

p_trikonasana_04 Marge: And! Rotate back to center! Hulk, you might want to bring your abdomen back around to the front, too.

Power Ranger: Dude, that is weird.

Hulk: Hulk embarrassed.

p_trikonasana_06 Marge: Jump your feet back together and come to center! Excellent work, boys! I give you a heartfelt namaste.

Batman: Power Ranger, those were some fine triangle poses, I'm impressed. You want to come back to the bat cave and do them again?

Power Ranger: Sure! Will Robin be there?

Hulk: Hulk feeling very left out.

Batman: Well, grow a dick and we'll talk.

ashtanga yoga

Padangusthasana and Padahastasana

padahastasana_03

Today we are pleased to have a small class come together to demonstrate these two companion poses, padangusthasana and padahasthasana. padangusthasana_00 From left to right we have: our guest teacher, Rodney Copperbottom; the mysterious mutant, Nightcrawler; and the monstrously bulked-up but still super-hot superhero, Batman, who appears to have come to class today straight from the Bat Boat. We know how hard it can be to fit practice into your crimefighting schedule so we're glad everyone made it on time today.

padangusthasana_01 Rodney: Inhale and hop your feet your hip's width apart. If your hip joints actually move. Batman, just do the best you can.

Nightcrawler: I am afraid of you. A robot! That talks! You are the work of a demon, I am certain.

padangusthasana_02 Rodney: Exhale and hands on hips. Sometimes bulk works against us in yoga, Batman, but you're doing great! Focus on the intention of bending your elbows and one day it just might happen!

Batman: I've got your intention hanging right here, Swami.

padangusthasana_03 Rodney: Inhale and arch back slightly, lifting your heart. Excellent, Nightcrawler, the fact that you have an articulated thorax is such an advantage. Now, keep your focus inward. In this position your drishti, or point of focus, should be your third eye. That's in the middle of your forehead. Nightcrawler, I know you're a mutant, do you have an extra eyeball anywhere on your body?

Nightcrawler: Blue devil! That is a very personal question.

padangusthasana_04 Rodney: Exhale, bend forward, and try to grab your big toes with your thumb and forefinger, and then gently straighten your legs. Nightcrawler, it looks like you're the only one with toes this morning! I'm sorry, I know its part of your identity and everything but next time, Batman, I'm going to have to ask you to remove your flippers before class.

Nightcrawler: My hamstrings! They are shrieking!

Batman: You know, you could practice a little more acceptance, it wouldn't kill you.

padangusthasana_05 Rodney: Okay, still holding your toes, inhale halfway up, scooping your chest and gazing softly at the horizon . . .

Nightcrawler: With my third eye?

Batman: I'm just thanking god right now that someone taped the backs of my feet to the floor.

padangusthasana_06 Rodney: . . . and exhale down, reaching for your toes. Stay here for five breaths, deepening your forward bend with every exhale. Batman, I don't know, try to grab onto your flippers or something.

Nightcrawler: EEEEEEEEE!

Batman: Is he trying to adjust me with sarcasm?

padahastasana_01 Rodney: Great! Now inhale halfway up again as your gaze softens and your shoulders drop away from your ears . . .

Nightcrawler: You are surely sent from the depths of Hell itself to torture us!

Batman: My ears are on the top of my head and my shoulders aren't going anywhere.

padahastasana_02 Rodney: . . . as we move into Padahastasana now, exhale and try to slip your hands underneath your feet.

Nightcrawler: My hands under my feet! I have tipped over onto my head! You are truly a fiend.

Batman: WTF?

padahastasana_03 Rodney: Again, you're going to inhale halfway up and lengthen those spines, gentlemen!

Nightcrawler: What is this? Damn him and his unnaturally flexible hamstrings!

Batman: Well, obviously he has a background in dance.

padahastasana_04 Rodney: Strong legs, and with your toes against your wrists you're going to fold back down for five more breaths. I'm not quite warmed up yet so I'm taking my hands out to the side.

Nightcrawler: I am sickened by this freakish display of meditative flexibility.

Batman: I can't believe how vulnerable he is right now.

Nightcrawler: Surely you would not take advantage and harm him in this state? With his crown chakra throbbing so vibrantly?

Batman: Well, but did you hear how he was talking to me?

padahastasana_05 Rodney: breathing

Nightcrawler: Ah, but what am I saying? I am an ethically ambiguous cartoon character! And I am burning with shame for the incompetence of my hip flexors! Someone must pay!

padahastasana_06 Nightcrawler: LET'S TEAR OUT HIS SPINAL COLUMN!

Batman: Whoa, dude. He's just a yoga teacher. He still has much to learn.

Rodney: And inhale, gazing softly forward, and . . .

padahastasana_07 Rodney: Hey! You guys were just taking it easy while I did all the work, weren't you!

Nightcrawler: No, that was a fine demonstration, I was enraptured by your alignment!

Batman: Uh, me too.

padahastasana_08 Rodney: Practice and it will come, gentlemen. Hop your feet back together. Namaste.

Nightcrawler: What does that mean, that foreign word! It burns in my ears!

Batman: You know what, you're kind of a drama queen.

ashtanga yoga

Suryanamaskar B

suryanamaskar_B_07

Today's model is GI Joe 8 Inch Commando Duke. Duke is an ass-kicking G.I. Joe of recent vintage, belonging to the Sigma 6 series of covert operatives along with his frighteningly detailed buddies Storm Shadow, Heavy Duty, Snake Eyes, Spirit Iron Knife, and Tunnel Rat. Duke is the only one with the balls to do yoga, though, and we are pleased to have him demonstrate this sun salutation series for us. Samasthitih! suryanamaskar_B_00 Do not fuck with Duke. He has removed his weapons from their holsters while in the shala but he will pop your eyes out with his overdeveloped thumbs if you unroll your mat with a disrespectful snap.

Ekam! suryanamaskar_B_01 Nice squat, Duke. Those bulky shoulders come in handy for balancing grenade launchers but they make utkatasana kind of a challenge.

Dve! suryanamaskar_B_02 Here Duke is getting an assist for his forward bend from Orangehead Krybot, formerly a nemesis of the Power Rangers S.P.D. but then he went through some teacher training and now he's thinking about opening his own yoga studio in Ventura.

Trini! suryanamaskar_B_03 Unlike the majority of plastic action figures, Duke can actually arch his back and raise his head somewhat. Orange Krybot is helpfully keeping Duke balanced until his hips open up a little more.

Chatvari! suryanamaskar_B_04 Dude has a strong jump back. Tough about the perenially clenched hands, but we do what we can. Remember, Duke, "posture is mastered by freeing the body and mind from tension and restlessness and meditating on the infinite." That's some yogic wisdom, right there. Now, try breathing into your fingers.

Panca! suryanamaskar_B_05 Nice lift in your updog, fella, and you appear to have the correct drishti. Which is kind of creepy because I didn't think your eyes could move.

Shat! suryanamaskar_B_06 Keep working your heels down to the floor.

Sapta! suryanamaskar_B_07 I'm just astonished by the size of your forearms.

Ashtau suryanamaskar_B_08 And the fact that you can do chaturanga balanced on a fingernail and one knuckle.

Nava! suryanamaskar_B_09 And don't even get me started on your hair.

Dasa! suryanamaskar_B_10 Are you trying to balance on your fists? You have to have fists to do that, brah.

Ekadasa! suryanamaskar_B_11 Did you take that master class with Paul Taylor last time he was through? Because there's something really expressive going on with your hips here and I just love it.

Dvadasa! suryanamaskar_B_12 Are you doing anything after class?

Trayodasa! suryanamaskar_B_13 We could get a chai somewhere.

Chaturdasa! suryanamaskar_B_14 I have a great view of the Channel Islands from my deck and my roommate's out of town.

Pancadasa! suryanamaskar_B_15 Inhale, head up!

Sodasa! suryanamaskar_B_16 Exhale, and, uh, Krybot? I think Duke's trying to tell you that he's had enough adjustment for now.

Saptadasa! suryanamaskar_B_17 Utkatasana! Inhale up and my God, those calves of yours.

Samasthitih! suryanamaskar_B_18 Thanks, Duke. Come back anytime. I've got some other poses I'd like you to demonstrate for me.

ashtanga yoga

Suryanamaskar A

suryanamaskar_A_07

Today's model is Sir Rascus of the Lego Knights' Kingdom. Rascus is associated with the monkey and all that is rascally. He stands out among his fellow knights for being a daring acrobat, and we are pleased to have him demonstrating this sun salutation sequence for us. Samasthiti! suryanamaskar_A_01 Rascus has his visor up, all four corners of his big, flat feet grounded into the floor, and he seems pretty confident that he's the best looking guy in the shala this morning.

Ekam! suryanamaskar_A_02 Inhale, arms up! Okay, Rascus has some tight shoulders, he can't get his palms together over his head, but he's worked out a pretty good compromise pose here and his posture looks great. Due to a neck injury he received fighting the evil Lord Vladek, Rascus has a blue plastic post attaching his head to his torso and is unable to tip his head back and get a nice stretch in his throat muscles. But no sense in pushing it and reinjuring the area.

Dve! suryanamaskar_A_03 Whoops! That exhale and forward bend tipped Rascus right onto his toes.

Trini! suryanamaskar_A_04 Inhale halfway back up and, okay, keep your knees bent to take some of the pressure off your lower back.

Catvari! suryanamaskar_A_05 Exhale. Nice jump back, fella! We're going to have to talk about that visor flipping up and down over your face all the time.

suryanamaskar_A_06 And come down to chaturanga. Still exhaling? Good. You're a little rigid, I think your right foot is off the ground entirely.

Panca! suryanamaskar_A_07 Inhale up! Nice strong arms and legs, guy.

Sat! suryanamaskar_A_08 Exhale. Nice. Stay here for five breaths. Heels on the floor? Fantastic.

Sapta! suryanamaskar_A_09 Inhale and jump forward, head up . . . okay, modifying, whatever works, you're doing a terrific job for a plastic action figure with only ten points of articulation.

Astau! suryanamaskar_A_10 Exhale and bend forward. As much as you can.

Nava! suryanamaskar_A_11 Inhale up! And your shoulder broke. Well, that's a bummer.

Samasthiti suryanamaskar_A_12 Exhale and arms down. Thank you and nice work, Rascus, but don't get too cocky, you still have to do this four more times before we move on to Suryanamaskar B.