It is one of the most iconic poses in the whole yoga canon and somehow still frightens more than a few ardent practitioners. For me, I’ve been taking the slow and thorough approach to Hanumanasana; it has still been a decade in the making. Being very new to the full expression, I would mostly like to properly document this exciting moment while my impressions are fresh. According to legend, the monkey god Hanuman has the unique ability to jump great distances. His power was tested when he practically flew thousands of miles from Sri Lanka to the Himalayas in order to retrieve Sita (a magic healing herb). If it weren’t for Hanuman’s miraculous feat, the gods may have lost the great battle of the Ramayana. In this way, the lunging split was named Hanumanasana to commemorate the epic leap.
The pose itself feels like it is teetering between two separate continents. On one side, I am balanced on my thigh and on the other my hamstring holds the weight. This is a unique experience for me, and it taken a fair amount of concentration not to fall from one side to the other. Once I develop adiquet stability here, the next step is to square-off through the hips. This motion seems to stretch the groin muscles in a most fascinating and bizarre way. According to Moola Bandha – The Master Key, Hanumanasana can be used to explore one’s own pelvic floor region. I cannot validate that statement for my own body at this particular moment. In short, I’m still waiting for my perineum to afford me a sturdier base here (see below).
Finding a way to be confident in what would otherwise be a wobbly pose has also proven to be its own adventure. Hanumanasana reminds me of that time when my brother took me out surfing near Santa Cruz years ago. There’s a time when you just have to stand up and hang-ten. In practice, that’s ‘that’ moment when I take me hands off the mat and simply let me legs slide further apart on their own. It is through this purely kinetic shift that one finds extra stability while lengthening out. To accentuate the feeling, I prefer to take my hands over my head similar to Virabhadrasana A. This daring mudra gives me that quintessential flying sensation. This way, I also feel a visceral connection to that classic story told in the Ramayana.