I’m teaching about my favorite monkey, Hanuman, the sweet demi-god with the monkey face.
Hanuman is known as the very embodiment of devotion, and a great yogi.
Hanuman is dedicated to the great god Ram and Ram’s beloved, the gorgeous goddess Sita, so he does whatever he needs to do to keep Ram safe and to keep Sita and Ram united. He braves demons, wars, and wildly hazardous situations in order to achieve this. It is an unending process and Hanuman’s devotion to the task is unwavering.
To do yoga means to yoke, to connect, and for this reason Hanuman, the great connector, is the ultimate yogi.
So how is Hanuman relevant to us?
Begin by entertaining the idea that the being we call Hanuman is a named aspect of your self. He is that part of you that is dedicated to fostering connectivity in every conceivable part of your life: within your body, between your body-heart-mind, and between you and your world. He is resource and tool. He is a reservoir of grace and a means of access to that grace.Hanuman revealing Sita and Ram united in his heart
I tell stories and teach his pose, Hanumanasana, or some variation of his pose in each of my February classes. I began this tradition, which one of my students dubbed “Hanumonth,” about seven years ago in reaction to the creaky and punishing February weather, opting to defy the cold’s stiffening and subduing effects with a month of playful hip-opening poses. I was personally dedicated to feeling open and spacious at a time of year in which my body and mind generally struggle to recall the sense of ease and connectivity that comes so naturally to me in warm weather.
Connectivity can be misunderstood.
You can be very tightly knitted together, but feel entirely disconnected because there isn’t enough movement or space in your body, so relationships between body parts become limited. Similarly, you can feel stuck in your life or in your personal relationships because there simply isn’t enough room to gaze upon them from different angles. We have to break up the “stuckness,” introducing space and movement into the stillness in order to feel more deeply connected in every way.
There is no perspective without space. There is no connectivity without an opening. There is no yoga without movement.
Breaking things up can be scary: old patterns, deeply ingrained habits, those places of unthinking comfort. Throwing away an old shoebox full of letters and photos can be tough because they are part of your history. Similarly, opening a tight or cluttered spot in your body can create a destabilizing shift, and may also open up the floodgates. And guess what? That is exactly what you need to do if you truly want connection in your life.
So where do you want to feel a deeper sense of connection?
How will you dedicate yourself to creating the space in which that connectivity can flourish?
What kind of Hanuman-like leap will you take?