Hanumanasana or 'the splits' is one o those postures that we aspire to and and are praised for difficulty and range of flexibility. There is however, a huge difference between performing the 'splits' and practised for internal experience, or Antara, meaning 'interior', 'internal' or 'within'.
The important lessons of Hanumanasana then, is devotion to practice and patience. We now live in the age of instantaneous gratification, with instant access' but remember, kindness and encouragement to change and attain such levels of somewhat extreme flexibility.
Each time you leave your yoga mat, you take with you take with you the person, not the pose. You take quiet mind and an open heart, a the focused mind, the more considerate temperament. The story of Hanuman is one of devotion, courage and triumph of good. The monkey God represents power and selfless service.
He is believed to have originated when his strong appetite made him mistake the sun for a glorious fruit. Upon chasing the fruit ,up into the sky, where Indra lived. On him seeing the monkey coming towards him, Indra struck him on the jaw, thus his name was born from Sanskrit words Hanu meaning 'jaw' and man or Manu translating as 'prominent' or 'disfigured'
As with all deities the importance lies much more upon what they represent and how they bring some of their powerful aspects into our human lives. The physical representation of Hanumanasana is linked to his ability to leap across huge distances. He inherited this from his father Vayu - God of the Winds.
Hanuman play a central role of Rama and Sita. Hanuman takes part in Rama's war against the evil Ravan. Post war, Rama and Sita were crowned King and Queen of Ayodhya. Hamuman was offered a reward for his help in the battle. He simply asked that he could continue his service to Rama. Because of this selfless service, courage and perseverance, he was regarded as the perfect symbol of loyalty and selflessness.
His own mantra Hanuman Chalisa allows those who chant it to ask for knowledge, intellect, strength and devotion. The story of Hanuman had great significance as it is said he physically took his heart from his chest and offered it to Rama as act of pure love and devotion.
So whats the biggest difference between the 'splits' and and Hanumanasana. The two shapes may look the same, but one is practised to achieve pure aesthetics shape and about the external experience. whereas Hanumanasana is practised for the internal experience, Antara, meaning 'within'.
Leaping across huge distances would have taken a huge amount of courage from Hanuman. Bring this into your practice and life, be courageous by trusting yourself. So maybe take sometime to move to those poses that feel a little scary, feel the fear and do it anyway. If we embody the courage it takes to be our most powerful. We can sometimes hold ourselves back from fulfilling our potential, whether its physical, emotionally or socially, so show up and be the best version of you.
Getting on the yoga mat each day doesn't have to be about throwing shapes and standing on your head. It can be about taking sometime for you, setting an intention for the day or devoting your energy to something bigger than yourself. If we devote our time and energy towards something bigger than ourselves, we allow our yoga practice to really flourish and make the difference off the mat. As Hanuman did, share your heart with the world around you.