Leap Oceans in a Single Bound!
In Indian mythology, the monkey king Hanuman leapt from the South of India to the Himalayas, and all the way to Sri Lanka, with an entire mountain on his back, in order to deliver a life-saving herb to Laksmana, wounded brother of King Rama. In this task, Hanuman embodied his intense devotion to Rama, and it allowed him to do the impossible. This is the lesson of Hanuman: Power comes from devotion.
That mighty leap is memorialized in the pose Hanumanasana. This pose asks you not merely to stretch your legs but also to bring true devotion into your practice. Hanumanasana expresses the expansiveness possible when devotion is in the heart—the sense that you can overcome any obstacle when your yearning to help is combined with reverence and respect, as well as an intense and fiery devotion.
As you practice this pose, notice the duality between your reach for the pose and the pains that may accompany your attempts. When you feel pain, turn your mind inward. Instead of focusing on the pain, use your breath to access your heart, finding the inner passion that created the leap of Hanuman. Notice that when you switch the mind from pain to passion and do the asana with a sense of Hanumanic devotion, resistance begins to dissolve and the pose starts to blossom. As the mind turns, so the body responds. As the mind moves into devotion and the heart opens, so will the hips, the hamstrings, and the legs. The opening up of the legs, hamstrings, and hip flexors is a reflection of a deeper opening felt inside. When you maintain an inner quality of expansive devotion, the pose will not be a fight to open your hamstrings but a joyous attempt at aggrandizing all your capacities.
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Article's Author and References:
Founder-director of Yoga Centers in Bellevue, Washington, Aadil Palkhivala began studying yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar at age 7, was introduced to Sri Aurobindo's yoga at age 10, and received an Iyengar Advanced Yoga Teacher's Certificate at age 22. For more information on Aadil and his work, see www.yogacenters.com and www.aadilpalkhivala.com.
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