Hanumanasana (Pose Dedicated to Hanuman, the Monkey God) registers as 36* on BKS Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty.
In my experience as a teacher, Hanumanasana may be one of my students’ least favorite poses. Beyond being an extremely challenging yoga pose, Hanumanasana offers no short cuts – there’s no secret trick to getting your legs to completely touch the floor (unless you consider years of practice a secret trick). Iyengar said “It takes a long time to master this position and to attain it one must make several attempts each day.” Hanumanasana tests the practitioners’s flexibility and patience more than most.
To approach Hanumanasana, start by kneeling at the top of your mat, with the top of your mat folded over for extra padding. Then, place your right foot on a blanket on the floor in front of you. Place blocks at their highest height next to your hips and position your hands there. Keep your hip points facing forward and begin to push your right foot away, sliding it along the blanket, away from your midline. Â At some point in your journey, your right hip may start moving forward past your right. Draw your right hip back in line with your left and allow the opening to originate from your right hamstring and your left hip flexor instead. If you find you’re hunching over your right extended leg, lift yourself back upright. Lower the height of your blocks under your hands if you find you can still sit tall with the blocks slightly lower. If you come down low enough, explore placing a block underneath your right thigh and reaching your arms up to the sky.
For me, every inch forward in Hanumanasana has taken innumerable practices on my mat. And each inch forward is a victory! True, the slow pace forward towards a pose can be frustrating at times, but it’s important to look at every tiny progression as a step forward and as an accomplishment. Those tiny movements towards greater opening are the evidence of your commitment to your practice. Celebrate them, one millimeter at a time.
Which poses do you celebrate the little victories in?