Dude’s Banana Hammock is Actually Doing Ashtanga Yoga

I don’t know what to say. As someone who prefers to practice in as little as possible, I get it. A thong is about as naked as one can get without actually being technically naked. Although, I’m of the belief that wearing a thong is almost more naked than naked. It’s like some beachified take on Baudrillard’s “hyperreality.” More real than real. More giblets than giblets.

Wearing the world’s smallest thong also seems to help “emphasize” certain aspects of the Ashtanga Yoga practice. Yes, you can see Derek Ireland’s insane control. Yes, you can see his ability to access severe core strength. Yes, you can see how focus and concentration manifest in asana mastery.

And, yes you can see Derek Ireland’s schlong doing what can only be described as an ancient form of supta kurmasana with a side of nauli kriya. I mean, wow…. That thing is really “present.” Not, however, as present as the camera-person’s artistic interpretation of “the subject,” which seems to translate as “Help. I can’t find Derek even though he’s literally right in front of me.” It’s almost like Derek is busting out the “intermediate series,” while the camera itself is doing a noon vinyasa chakra-play flow class. Like, take it easy, young interpretive camera master!

For those who don’t know, Derek Ireland is/was a significant figure in Ashtanga Yoga’s Western history, credited with bringing the ridiculously influential asana practice to Europe. He’s also credited with being a member of the “I Lived After Blowing Myself Up” club.

From his UK obituary:

“IN 1988, Derek Ireland, the charismatic yoga practitioner who was largely responsible with Radha Warrell for introducing to Europe the ‘aerobic’ yoga called astanga vinyasa, accidentally blew himself up with camping gas canisters on a Greek island. He was severely burnt on his legs and arms so a Greek doctor peeled the skin off. “He peeled my hand which really hurt because of all the nerve endings. My lateral ligament was sticking out like an onion ring,” Ireland recalled later.

He was flown to London for skin grafts. On arrival the doctors wrapped the burns in netting and plastic bags and bandages then left him for a few days before starting on the grafts. Whilst waiting, Ireland did head and shoulder stands. “It was the Olympics so I turned the television upside- down and watched it for an hour at a time.” Seven days later the doctors took the bandages off. The skin had healed. ‘No scars, nothing. But I felt tiny because I’d no prana left from healing this thing’.”

I never met the man, as he died of cancer in 1998, but my feeling is, if after blowing yourself up you speak the words, “I felt tiny because I’d no prana left from healing this thing,” my guess is you probably know a thing or two about prana.

Respect.

Peace and blessings upon his mystery.

____________________

PS: Mr Ireland is also known to have been a promoter of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Stanglers; practiced yoga in a weighted jacket that almost killed him; and once severed a nerve in his arm while practicing which left his arm “uncontrollable” and whipping him in the face while teaching tai chi.

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27 comments

  1. This seemed related. Make sure to check out the photo slideshow on the homepage:

    http://www.lemaleyoga.com/

  2. Itstrue

    I love this post for so many reasons. One, this guy seems bad-ass in his shlong thong. both in practice and in his life. And Two, Babs, you are so damn freaking funny! Thanks for hipping us to different Yoga practitioners!

  3. AM

    “Like, take it easy, young interpretive camera master!”

    fantastic.

  4. I can tell a frustrated surf sports videographer when I see one …

  5. I like watching these earlier vids of yoga before the over-commercialization, I dunno, they seem to have a more authentic feel. Notice he was practicing on a towel and mat of some sort with rocks as weights. No logos, no spectators, no slick production, just dude and his practice.

  6. gross

    so strange it wasn’t a leather banana hammock. baba, this is an awesome post and his story is incredible.

  7. Yoga Rocks

    I love the end when he whips out his kid and you realize this really was a home movie – his family posted it. Very sweet. Whoever had the camera really really loved this guy. He certainly was one hella badass.

  8. Omiya

    this post makes me so happy, especially the end and the bad-ass part. too bad this man is not around to teach us a thing or two. LOVE these old Ashtanga teachers, we are so blessed to have so many of them in and around N. America! All super interesting in their own right. One commonality is most of them were frustrated with societal norms so they made a hasty exit from the daily drudge and here they are, helping all of us to become a bit more enlightened. (if one can become enlightened in degrees, not sure if that is how it happens)

    • gross

      what does OMIYA mean? its the name of a beautiful song from an indian movie.

      • Omiya

        aha you got the reference! yes i love that movie, especially for its depiction of Indians as beautiful, desirable people (balm for an Indian woman born and raised in 1970’s North America) so I adopted it as my online moniker.

        • gross

          yes, i love that movie. kama sutra. its one of my fav… and i often see the actress who played the rich princess in my hood. but what does the WORD mean?

        • Omiya

          couldn’t find reply under your post…i don’t know what it means, i just assumed it was referring to the main character’s name, “Maya” though I may be wrong.

  9. Yoga Whelp

    Are all you guys Baba plants? Has it come to that? The wages of sin – and penance. O for 2 this week, Girlie.

  10. Yes I am a “Baba plant”, Whelp. It HAS come to that! And it’s sight to behold, too. I’ve got leaves sprouting all over the place, roots growing out from between my toes, and buds about to blossom in my head.

  11. Itstrue

    And I am an Alex Auder groupie. whatever she says, I agree with. So by default I am a shrub too.

  12. Kino MacGregor will scratch this guy’s eyes out for this.

    • Lol … and I don’t know why. Excepting one of my Facebook friends from myformer days on Facebook called Kino out on her hot pants and her self-promotion.

      Just how many Ashtangis have appeal outside of the strictly Ashtangi community? My Facebook friend is one.

      I think Claudia Azula Altucher is another …

  13. That was just ridiculous. Why can’t these asana lovers get over themselves already and move on!!

  14. …and that was seriously the music from the major motion picture Cast Away!! Talk about trying to emotionalize some asana…

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