Hanumanasana, Seated Splits


Genevieve Oswald in Hanumanasana, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

Here in Taos the name Hanuman is not unfamiliar, for the local Temple devoted to this majestic creature has been a center for community and devotion for many decades.  Hanuman’s story is one of great delight and many travails of hardship followed by success.  In many ways he is much like most humans, and this is probably why he is widely revered as a deity of great service; for, like Hanuman, when we get out of our own way the greatest thing we can be is of service.

To that end, this posture is named after the story in which Hanuman made a great leap of service in veneration for his teacher and Guru, Lord Rama, to save Lord Rama’s beloved wife Sita from her captor.

Begin in a low bent knee lunge.  Inhale to draw into your strength — muscular as well as the strength of your heart’s devotion and desire to be of service to something greater than yourself.  Exhale to extend through the heal of your back leg back reaching as far back as is comfortable for you.  Again inhale to draw into your muscular and spiritual strength, and exhale to now extend your front leg further forward working your hips to the floor.

In this posture if you have tight hamstrings, calves, gluteal muscles, and even Achilles tendons it will be challenging to get your hips to the floor.  Keep your knees as bent as you need to, as well as placing blocks under your hands and/or front thigh for support to enable you the opportunity to embody the spirit of Hanuman even if the discomfort is nagging.

This is in essence much like getting out of our own way and acting from our hearts in service, rather than from our egos for self gratification.