“It was the greatest leap ever taken. The speed of Hanuman’s jump pulled blossoms and flowers into the air after him and they fell like little stars on the waving treetops. The animals on the beach had never seen such a thing; they cheered Hanuman, then the air burned from his passage, and red clouds flamed over the sky . . .” (Ramayana, retold by William Buck).
This pose then, in which the legs are split forward and back, mimics Hanuman’s famous leap from the southern tip of India to the island of Sri Lanka.
Practice this pose on a bare floor (without a sticky mat) with folded blankets under the back knee and front heel.
Step by Step
|Contraindications and Cautions|
|Modifications and Props|
|Students just beginning to learn this pose are often unable to get the legs and pelvis down on the floor, which is usually due to of tightness in the backs of the legs or front groins. While in the starting leg position then (as described in Step 1 above), place a thick bolster below the pelvis (with its long axis parallel to your inner legs). As you straighten the legs, slowly release your pelvis down onto the bolster. If the bolster isn't thick enough to comfortably support your pelvis, add a thickly folded blanket.|
|Deepen the Pose|
|The arms are raised overhead from the "trigger" of the lower back ribs. Take the back ribs away from the top of the pelvis, and use this lift to reach the arms closer to the ceiling. Lengthen along the backs of the arms, stretching your pinkies a little closer to the ceiling than the index fingers. Then pin the fingertips against the ceiling and release or "hang" the ribs from the arms. Yo-yo the ribs between the arms and the pelvis: relative to the pelvis, the ribs lift, boosting the arms closer to the ceiling; relative to the arms, the ribs drop toward the floor, increasing the stretch in the armpits.|
|To increase the length of the torso and spine, press the back foot actively into the floor and, from this pressure, lift the shoulder blades firmly into your back.|
|The partner can help you create a lift through the arms in the completed pose. Perform Hanumanasana with the arms raised. Have your partner stand straddling your pelvis. She should then press her hands against the outsides of your upper arms (just above the shoulders) and scrub up along the arms toward the hands. Press out against your partner's resistance and release the side ribs downward, away from the arms.|
|From the position described in step 4 above, lean the torso into a forward bend over the front leg and take hold of the foot with your hands. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then come up on an inhalation.|