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.
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?
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!
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!
- this week’s “every day” pose: Parshvakonasana | Asheville Yoga Sangha on Utthita Parsvakonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana
- Action Figures doing yoga . . . | Sunrise Yoga on Utthita Trikonasana and Parivritta Trikonasana
- beci on Parsvottanasana
- Notes from Thursday’s Forward Bend Class at Tree House Yoga | Welcome to Denton Satsang on Parsvottanasana
- Mal on Purvottanasana