Hanuman is the name of the monkey god of Hindu mythology who epitomizes bhakti. His whole being was completely devoted to Rama. He is one of the heroes in the great epic called the Ramayana, which is probably the most popular and widely read scripture in India. It tells of the adventures of Rama, his wife, Sita, and many other well-known characters, including Hanuman. Wandering in different parts of ancient India, Sita is abducted by a demon king called Ravana. Rama sends out search parties to look for her. Hanuman and his companions hear that she is in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) but they have no obvious method of crossing the sea. Eventually the dilemma is solved when Hanuman jumps over the sti aits separating Sri Lanka from mainland India. Hanumanasana symbolizes this mighty jump.
In English, hanumanasana can be called ‘the monkey god pose’ though a more widely known term is ‘the splits’.
Kneel on the left knee.
Place the right foot beside the left knee.
Put the palms of both hands on the floor on each side of the body.
Gently and gradually slide the left foot backwards and the right foot forwards; there should be no undue strain.
Simultaneously support the weight of the body with the two hands.
Move the feet as far backwards and forwards as they will go without strain.
For some people, and with plenty of practice, it may be possible to lower the buttocks to the floor to attain the final pose.
Relax the whole body.
Place the two hands together in front of the chest.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
After a comfortable length of time return to the starting position.
Repeat the same procedure with the right leg pointing backwards.
Use of blankets
Very few people will be able to lower the buttocks to the floor in the final pose. As a useful compromise for those who can nearly do the practice, we suggest that you should place a cushion or folded blanket under the buttocks. This will help to prevent strain.
In the final pose close your eyes and be aware of breathing.
Hanumanasana is the ultimate test of leg flexibility at the hips. Very few can do the final pose, but for those who can it has been found to be very beneficial in cases of sexual ailments and for preparing the organs of childbirth for trouble-free delivers’.
All three asanas that have been described are advanced practices; they are not for beginners. Therefore, don’t attempt them if your body is stiff. Practise other, simpler asanas instead.
People who suffer from ailments such as slipped disc, sciatica, hernia, etc. are strictly advised not to attempt these three asanas.