How many times in your life have you desired to have the courage and the strength of heart to accomplish what seemed to be an impossible task? Or there may be times when we fail to remember, or perhaps connect with, our own power and as a result we continue to cycle through patterns of self defeat.
That is the plight of Hanuman, the mythical monkey who is half god, half human. His story is one of courage, faith and complete devotion. This posture will be our PEAK POSE for the entire month of February, an opportunity to embody all the qualities of Hanuman himself.
As a devoted friend to King Rama, Hanuman is asked to perform a task that it seems, is beyond his capability; to leap from India to (Sri) Lanka to comfort Sita, Rama's beloved wife and Queen. Because of the depth of love and devotion Hanuman has for Rama, he knows he must some how accomplish this task. Although Hanuman already has the strength he needs to be successful, he's not able to see that for himself.
When presented with something that seems too hard, we often shrink at the thought of having to do the impossible, and just like Hanuman we aren't able to see our own divinity and instead only see the enourmity of the what needs to be done.
And so Hanuman sits, in virasana - pose of the hero - to seek for himself the confidence and courage needed to take the giant leap across the ocean to Lanka.
When we find the faith to move forward, incredible things happen, we discover within our selves a love that allows us to overcome obstacles, however great or small.
Hanuman's courage, his depth of devotion and his faith propel him forward - his back leg launches him into the sky while his front leg reaches towards the shores of Lanka, where he confidently lands and seeks out Sita to let her know that Rama is on his way.
It is this love that is the lesson of Hanuman; true power comes from devotion. The pose itself expresses all that is possible when we extend ourselves beyond our perceived limitations and open up to a force bigger than ourselves.
Now that doesn't mean you'll be in full splits by the end of the month, like everything in life - it takes time, patience and practice, practice, practice. At first most of us will we require support so that we can find a sense of steadiness and ease.
Don't be in a rush - it's a challenging pose, some days you'll be more open than others. And practicing the same sequence over time will allow you to observe the mental and physical fluctuations that take place. As we flow through our sequence, we gradually open through the hips, psoas, shoulders and spine to find space to move into our own version of Hanuman.
Practicing HANUMANASA is also a great opportunity to call on the following yamas or 'rules' of yoga: ahimsa: non-harming, satya: truthfulness and asteya: non-stealing. Be honest with your self - how open are your hips? Don't 'steal' YOUR grace and steadiness for the pain of getting into the full pose just because you 'think' it looks good. Instead, keep your heart open and like Hanuman move from a place of love and devotion to oneself and use that to find your own unique expression. Be honest about what you can and cannot do.
Without being attached to outcome, Hanuman becomes a HERO as a result of his humility, devotion and selfless service. Each of us has our own Hanuman equivalent, and only when we embody our greatest strengths in the service of our highest abilities we are able to take giant leaps. Leaps of faith, leaps of love and leaps into the great unknown.