A love letter to Hanumanasana

Dear Hanumanasana,

I still remember the day I first saw you, several of you, in fact, from across the dance studio. Back then, you had a different name. We all called you “the splits”. It was a comfortable, casual name, although the images it evoked for some people were anything but.

My dancer friends, most of whom had stepped into ballet slippers from the moment they could walk, knew you intimately. I, on the other hand, having come to jazz and funk in my early teens, still had many years to go before I dared even hope that, one day, you would grace me with your presence.

In my late teens, I left the dancing behind. Yoga beckoned. In the ensuing years, I delighted and amazed myself at some of things my body was capable of. My flexibility increased dramatically, while, I’m so sorry to say, my strength did not (although I have worked harder than ever before over the past 18 months to get it up to scratch).

And yet, you remained elusive. There were a few moments were I – almost – had it, but then my hips would shriek in protest, and I would curl up my legs, defeated.

Years passed. I decided we needed some time apart, that all my neediness was pushing you away. I sought out other asanas instead. Backbends soon become my pose of choice.

And then one day you came. Seemingly out of nowhere, Hanuman’s giant leap was finally in reach. My hip flexors were still tight, but not screechy, and supported by my hands I was able to stay with you for one, two, three, four, five breaths.

As we got to know each other better, I became more comfortable with you. I didn’t need to always support myself, knowing that you would be there for me. This in turn allowed me to go deeper, to start to know your little quirks and idiosyncrasies. With my hands in prayer position at my chest, I begin to slow, to settle deeply, to find stability and strength within the expansiveness. Once, in class, my teacher assisted me to take hold of my back foot and come into a backbend. You were exhilarating! The intense focus required, intoxicating.

But by far my favourite of your idiosyncrasies occurs when I raise both arms overhead, shoulder-width apart, and turn my face up to look at my hands. I feel limitless. Most times I feel a gentle sensation at my heart chakra as my chest lifts and expands. Energy is offered up through my fingertips. I feel nothing but love coursing through me, and I almost weep with joy.

So, Hanumanasana, this letter is to say thank you. For you have shown me the true meaning of devotion, trust and dedication. You have taught me to be patient. You have shown me that it is possible to go beyond the limits that my minds imposes – in fact, to know that there ARE NO LIMITS. I see now that if we, together, are brave enough to take that giant leap, we might just change the world.

For, in the end, only love can create real and lasting change.

So, with grace and humility, I honour your presence in my life.

Hanumanasana, you will always have my heart.