Putting the Anjaneya in Anjaneyasana

You may sometimes hear your teacher refer to crescent lunge pose as Anjaneyasana, and to enable you to fully embrace the spirit of this pose you need to understand the story of Anjaneya.  Anjaneya’s mother, Anjana, was a supernatural woman and his father, Kesari, was the king of the Monkeys.  Anjaneya also had a very powerful guardian spirit in the form of his godfather, Vayu the Wind-God.  On top of all this he was believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, so it was only natural that he had inherited some magical powers.

One day when Anjaneya was staring at the sun and thinking that it was some sort of delicious fruit, he decided that he wanted to taste it.  As a divine child, reaching for the sun was not such a tough task and he simply made a giant leap to try and catch what he thought to be some delicious ripe, glowing, fruit in the sky.  Suryadeva, the Sun-God, was glowing peacefully in the sky when he suddenly saw what appeared to be a giant monkey coming towards him.  The terribly hot rays, which would have made it impossible for any mortal to come near the sun, had no effect on Anjaneya.  After continually demanding for the monkey to stop, Suryadeva called on Indra, the king of all the Gods in heaven, to help him.  When naughty Anjaneya refused to stop he was struck down by Indra’s thunderbolt hitting his cheek.

Vayu, Anjaneya’s Wind-God godfather, heard the sound of Anjaneya crashing to the ground and when he realized what had happened he was so angry that he decided to leave and go to the world below the earth.  When Vayu left the earth, there was no air in the world.  People, animals and trees struggled to breathe and started to die.  The Sun-God was shocked at the turn of the events and he ran to Brahma to tell him what had happened and to ask for help.  Brahma admonished Indra for causing such suffering on earth and took him and the other Gods to see Vayu and beg him to come back to earth.  Vayu said that he wouldn’t go anywhere without Anjaneya and so Brahma magically cured Anjaneya’s wounds.  Brahma also declared that no weapon would ever again have an effect on Anjaneya.  To please Vayu even further, Indra told the boy that he would make him immortal and because he had struck him on his hanu (the Sanskrit for cheek) he would now be known as Hanuman.

The adventures of Hanuman are a whole other story, which we won’t go in to here.  So, when we practice Anjaneyasana we are really taking on the form of an awestruck and naughty divine child gazing up at what he thinks to be a glowing piece of fruit in the sky.  Hopefully with this knowledge you will now be able to put the Anjaneya into Anjaneyasana.

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