This is an ancient story explaining why the splits are called Hanumanasana in yoga…
A long time ago, when myths were truths, Rama, the king of ancient India had a beautiful wife called Sita. The demon king Ravana, who dwelt in Sri Lanka, abducted Sita.
Hanuman, one of Rama’s most loyal devotee’s, leapt the distance of one hundred yojanas (one yojana is traditionally defined as the longest distance travelled by the sound of a call from a tall place), shore to shore, from India to Lanka, to comfort the captive Sita. He stretched his mighty legs, the power of his back leg propelled him forward, while his front leg reached to the opposite shore. When he found Sita sitting desolately under a tree, guarded by demoness sentries, he stealthily delivered the news that Rama was on his way. He then gave Sita King Rama’s ring to comfort her.
Before long, King Rama’s army rescued Sita, but during the fearful battle his brother was critically wounded. The cure was an herb that grew only in the Himalayas. But how could anyone travel to the Himalayas and back in time to save the brother? Of course, it was Hanuman who made the mighty leap from the southern tip of India to the Himalayas. But when he got there he panicked, “I am a monkey, I do not know which herb is the right one!” So he picked up the entire mountain and carried it with him as he jumped back.
King Rama’s herbalists took what they needed and healed the brother. Hanuman was asked once more to make such a formidable leap – this time to return the mountain.
In his giant leaps Hanuman embodied his love for Rama. His intense devotion allowed him to do the impossible, and this is the lesson of Hanuman: devotion allows you to achieve the impossible.
Lord Hanuman is always depicted in Indian folklore as an icon of true devotion and a symbol of the power of devotion and chastity.
The yoga pose Hanumanasana is named after Lord Hanuman. Hanumanasana is full front split of the legs. It takes much practise, patience (and support initially!).
“Nothing can be forced, receptivity is everything.”
The way you approach this pose is crucial. Trying to force your body into this position is a recipe for back pain and more! Hanumanasana teaches infinite patience, and encourages you to deepen your awareness, appreciating the subtleties as you move deeper into the pose. You must be devoted and dedicated, just like Hanuman himself.