Hanuman Asana - The Monkey King
The etymology of Hanumān's name is interesting. According to some, the Hindi hanumān comes from Sanskrit Hanumān, a monkey-god in Hindu mythology, from hanumān, having a large jaw, from hanu हनु, jaw. It derives from hanumat हनुमत् var. hanūmat [hanu-mat]. . According to others, it is derived from An-Manti, Dravidian for Man (An)-Monkey (Manti). Another interpretation is that 'Ha' means God. 'Nu' means that which pervades. 'Man' means 'manifested'.
Hence Hanuman means: The one who is the manifested existence of the Supreme God who dwells within all.
Hanuman, a figure in Hindu mythology, is the semi-divine chief of an army of monkey warriors in India's great epic, the Ramayana. As the son of the wind god, Vayu (or Pavana), Hanuman is able to fly. Hanumanasana is dedicated to Hanuman, and celebrates his amazing leaps.
This posture (Sanskrit: हनुमानासन) is a sequence of movements focusing on leg work as well as on whole body stretch.
The starting point is with the legs wide spread, hands joint in Anjali Mudra :
Exhale without moving. Inhale while pivoting by 90 degrees on one side by sliding the feet. The contact between the ground and the back leg is through the toes only. In addition, the two feet must follow a parallel.
Upon the next exhalation, the torso moves forward and the front leg bends bringing the thigh to a horizontal. The two feet do not move leading to a wide open angle between the legs.
Upon inhalation, extend the arms upward. The eyes follow the arms and end up fixing an upward point.
In this position, Bastrikha and Mula Bandha are immediately applied. The position is locked through the position of the legs and through mula bandha. Basthrikka is practiced with intensity while enunciated mentally the bija SO during inhalation and HAM during exhalation. The gaze on the upper point must be perfectly still and must permit to see with clarity a point on the ceiling or in space. This phase is practiced for about 1 to 2 minutes. The energy that circulates should be felt.
This phase ends with a complete inhalation followed by a full-lung retention (for 16 to 32 units). The energy should be felt condensing in the spine. At that moment, all the energies are mobilized, the root is contracted even more: this allows going beyond the physical difficulty of the posture. If this exacerbation is applied correctly, the physical difficulty of the posture should completely disappear and be replaced by the experience of a unified and pure energy.
This is the most delicate moment of the posture. The energy cannot collapse. Immediately after the full-lung retention, a long and deep exhalation is done in order to go back to the preparatory position: the arms are brought back in anjali mudra and the eyes follow the movement to end up fixing a point facing the person:
Here, the focus is on stabilization of the willpower and the body by allowing the ebbs and flows of a complete breathing through immobility and mastery and through the circulation of energy in the spine.
When stability and mental strength have been established, upon a strong focus and a powerful inhalation, without rush, go back up while being deeply grounded through the toes of the back foot.
Continuing from the previous position, come back to the starting position.
Finally, upon the next exhalation, immediately rotate on the feet to come back to the original position. Remain in the position while focusing on the circulation of energy in the spine for a few seconds. Then, let the body relax, do a few steps to recover and then start the sequence with the other leg.
After the two sequences, do a few steps again to relax the legs. Then, enter the integration posture with the eyes turned towards the glabella. In silence and immobility, dive into the experience.
|Hanuman is a divinity of the Hindu pantheon. He is reputed for his extraordinary strength and devotion. Hanuman was the son of Vayu, the god of Wind, and Anjana. He was the friend and devoted servant of Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. At the time when Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Laksmana were in exile as hermits in the Dandaka forest, Ravana, the demon king of Lanka (Ceylon), came to their hermitage in the disguise of a monk and captured Sita, taking her to Lanka. In their search for Sita, the brothers asked Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, for help. Hanuman the chief of the army of monkeys of king Sugriva went in search of Sita.
Hanuman crossed the sea by leaping over the straits, and found her in Ravana's palace. He brought the news to Rama, who built a causeway of stones across the sea to Lanka and after a harsh battle slew Ravana and rescued Sita. Laksmana had been struck by an arrow during the battle, and it was said that the only cure was the juice of an herb which grew in the Himalayas. With a grand leap Hanuman crossed the sea and reached the Himalayas to bring back with him the herb that saved the life of Laksmana.