Hanumanasana - Hanuman - name of the Hindu deity who resembles a monkey & Asana - meaning posture. Hence this challenging pose is sometimes known as monkey pose or forward facing splits.
It is written, in the epic Ramayana, that Hanuman took a giant leap from mainland India to Lanka in order to help Rama rescue his wife in a show of loyalty and devotion to his friend. The deity Hanuman represents strength, courage & loyalty. The posture Hanumanasana also requires a great deal of strength, courage and loyalty to oneself and ones practice in order to achieve the full expression of the posture. Also, forward facing splits physically resembles a giant leap.
The journey to Hanumanasana
The reason I describe it as "a journey to", is because it is important for us not to focus all our attention on the full expression of this posture which as mentioned before is challenging, even to the most devoted yoga practitioner. So instead we focus on the physical and mental benefits of working the body and mind towards this asana. Afterall, isn't that why we practice yoga, for better physical and mental health and not because we want to push our bodies into a certain shape that we think might look good.
So what are physcial benefits of working towards Hanumanasana?
Improved flexibility in the hips & thighs - as we stretch the hip flexors, groin & psoas muscles
Releases tension & improves flexibility in the legs - stretches the quadricep muscles
Better circulation - creating more space in the groin, pelvic area & lower abs - helping to improve flow of fluids which can benefit fertility and digestive issues
Can help improve sciatica if practiced mindfully and correctly in order to release tension in the lower back, hips and hamstrings.
Increased energy and vitality.
What are the mental benefits?
It is possible to feel a deep emotional release when working on the hips & hip flexors. We store a lot of our emotional tension there. Working on opening and creating space in the hips can help us let go of that stagnant energy, helping us to feel lighter and move more freely.
Dedicating time to a challenging posture helps us to accept and respect ourselves as we are. We can learn more about our own abilities and limitations without judgement. We can learn to release the ego and instead choose to embrace our uniqueness. We can be proud of ourselves for embarking on this journey and devoting this time to ourselves and to our practice.
Want to join me on this journey?? Check out the events page for the next specialised class dedicated to Hanumanasana. Hope to see you there.
Love & Light