Mythology of asanas
Updated: Jul 13, 2020
The myths behind yoga's spiritual tradition have the power to help us realize our full potential and give an other dimension to our practice.
HANUMANASANA - FULL SPLIT
Physically this pose requires a deep stretching and opening of the psoas muscle. This deep core muscle initiates all our movements and is instrumental in our fight or flight response to life. The effect of stress and fear hidden in this muscle has the impact to shortent and to tighten it.
Let us get inspired by the fearless Monkey Hanuman, chief of Indian Army as recounted in the Ramanaya!
Hanuman was very devoted to king Ram whose loving wife was named Sita. The evil demon Ravana was terribly jealous of the couple. He went to war to take Ram's kingdom and kidnapped Sita for himself, taking her to a hidden place in Sri Lanka. Ram, desperate, send his loving friend and chief of army Hanuman to find and ressue her. Hanuman had no idea how to proceed but trusted his own abilities and would never let down Ram. When he reached the indian coast and saw the vast ocean to cross, he knelt down, praying to be filled with the grace to make the impossible. Hanuman had a great faith and he suddenly felt the divine energy. As the son of the wind, he was propelled into the air one foot forward to Lanka and one foot backward in India, like the famous split pose, Hanumanasana. Hanuman found and rescued Sita.
Hanuman was very devoted to Ram and kept chanting, Ram, Ram, Ram...so he could focus his attention and devotion on him and on his task by repeating the mantra.
We easily forget that there is a part of us, divine, that can accomplish the impossible, that we can override all our doubts and fears. And that one thing is Love. And been courageous means having faith. Many practitioners are discovering the power of mantras, the repetition of words or small sentences to call up deep and joyful emotions, to liberate the mind and create space. When the practice is constant, then comes perfect compassion and melting of fear. Faith and love give us an opportunity to create space for the impossible in our lives.
GARUDASANA – EAGLE POSE
Eagle pose is a standing balancing pose. Legs are hooked as well as arms. It stretches and strengthens ankles and calves while improving focus and balancing powers
Garuda is Vishnu’s Carrier, a divine bird with the head, wings and talons and beak of a bird and the body of a man.
One day, Garuda’s mother Vinata lost a bet with a snake and was held captive. The snake declared it would release Vinata unless Garuda brought a cup of Amrita – the nectar of immortality, from the top of the celestial mountain where Garuda is lived. To get to the nectar, Garuda had to pass through 3 obstacles:
1. Extinguish a ring of fire. He gulped up water from rivers.
2. Slip through a circular door with a spiked metal ring that spun in its frame. He did it easily by reducing his size
3. Escape 2 venomous snakes. He created clouds of dust by wildly flapping his wings which blinded the snakes. Thanks to his powers he delivered the nectar and freed his mother.
Like Garuda we are spiritual beings with vast spiritual potentials. We are constantly facing challenges we need to overcome by turning into our divine nature. The pose starts with arms and legs extended then the body is reduced in size as we hook our legs and our arms together. We hold, we shrink and we release to free ourself like garuda is freeing his mother.