Haunumanasana derives from the Sanskrit Hanuman, the name of the Hindu monkey god, and asana, meaning “pose” or "posture." Hanuman was the son of the wind, Vayu, and a vanara (monkey) woman, Anjana. He personifies the qualities of physical strength, bravery, and spiritual devotion. The asana symbolizes the leap Hanuman made from the southern tip of India, as described in the epic poem, "Ramayama."
The myth describes Rama, a king of ancient India, whose wife Sita was kidnapped by the demon king Ravana who ruled in Sri Lanka. During the epic battle to rescue Sita, Rama’s brother, Laksmana, was severely wounded. Because the sole remedy was an herb that only existed in the Himalayas, his death seemed inevitable
Hanuman, Rama’s fervent disciple, vowed to make the formidable leap all the way from the south of India to the Himalayas. After he took his leap of devotion, he carried the entire mountain back with him. The healers discerned the correct herb and were able to save Laksmana’s life.
That mighty leap is memorialized in the pose Hanumanasana. You strive to reach much further than seems humanly possible. Relying solely on physical flexibility doesn’t work; you must dig deeper. Hanumanasana expresses the expansiveness possible when devotion is in the heart—the sense that you can overcome any obstacle with intensity from within.
This story of courage and dedication can inspire us to stay committed, to pause and connect to the power and devotion each of us embody. It’s a reminder that nothing is impossible if we believe deeply enough, on and off the mat. You don’t have to be a superhero monkey god; you just have to tap into your inner strength.
Inspired yet? If not, check out one of our new releases and explore it with a fabulous instructor guiding you through. Each class shines the light on creating a new type of opening. Go ahead, take a leap!
Try one, try them all:
1. Hamstrings, Hips & Hanuman - Kylie Larson
2. Ancient Newness - Eric Paskel
3. Heart of Hanuman: Making the Leap Into Compassion - Alanna Kaivalya
4. Guidelines For A Balanced Life: Isvara Pranidhana (Devotion) - Les Leventhal
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