Hanumansana is an asana yoga pose inspired by and dedicated to the Hindu god, Hanuman. Asana refers to any pose in which a person remains perfectly still in a position for extended periods of time. It is one of the more advanced yoga positions that connects the physical with the mental and emotional.
The Hanumanasana pose is done on the floor and resembles a straddle. One leg faces forward, with the foot pointing up, while the other leg faces back. The arms may be placed in various positions, but the two most common are together in front of the chest or above the head in temple position. The chest and hips must face forward, which will also give a deeper stretch.
The Hanumanasana offers the person doing the pose a deep balanced stretch along the lower body that not many other poses are able to achieve. It naturally offers a deep hamstring stretch, especially for the front leg and a deep lower back and groin stretch. The position is not considered to be at its fullest achievement until the spine is completely stretched and elongated, supporting the position. This creates the balance between the challenging position and the fact that no forced is actually placed upon the body.
Variations of the Hanumanasana are available to anyone who has joint problems or simply problems getting into the position. A soft towel under the back knee and front heel help to relieve any pressure. Folded blankets under the pelvis may also help beginners who have trouble lowering completely on the floor. Half splits where only the front leg is extended and the back leg is slightly bent also help to prepare beginners who wish to achieve this pose.
Hanuman is a monkey-faced Hindu god who was devoted to Lord Rama and his wife Sita. The Hanumanasana pose represents a great leap Hanuman performed reaching from India to Lanka for Sita. The pose is thus called the monkey pose and represents not only his giant leap, but also his great devotion.
Although the pose represents emotions of devotion, it is not the only emotion that a person attempting to perform the pose feels. Often, when first attempting the pose, feelings of frustration and doubt may arise. This is usually followed by feelings of deep connection to the Inner Self, then complete relaxation and release once the pose is mastered. It may take some time to reach the final stages due to the difficulty of the Hanumanasana.