What strikes me most about anjaneyasana, or devotion pose, is its feeling or personality (what Rupali calls its “attitude”) of heart-opening. It always leaves my nervous system soothed and leaves me with a warm, calm afterglow.
It’s also a pose I love because the physical openings rendered by devotion pose are yummy! It’s part of every bike ride I do as it opens many of the muscle groups that I tighten up on the hills and against the trade winds that are prevalent here in Hawaii.
It’s perfect for my athletic students who work their lower bodies regularly.
There are several variations of arm positions that add a little something extra, such as arms lifted, palms touching or “cactus arms.” Sometimes Rupali invites students to make up their own arm variations or try several to experience how they change the feeling of the pose.
As your hips, legs and abdominals begin to open, it’s possible to deepen into more of a backbend. Be aware of really lifting the heart though as you reach into the back space to distribute the arch throughout the entire spine.
That’s when you’ll really feel the essence of anjaneyasana.
In yoga lore, when I think of the concept of devotion, I think of the devoted servant Hanuman, the monkey god who plays a role in the Ramayana. In this tale, he leaps across the vast expanse of ocean from India to Sri Lanka in pursuit of Sita, who has been captured against her will. In that moment of selflessness, Hanuman was serving his master, Rama.
This pose honors the story of Hanuman’s birth (and kind of looks like his leap across the ocean, doesn’t it?).
Click here for a longer, more complete version of Hanuman’s birth.
Below are some additional details of this pose…as usual, download this tip sheet at the bottom of this post.
- anjaneya = son of Anjani
- asana = seat
- Improves digestive.
- Stimulates reproductive organs.
- Strengthens balance and focus.
- Builds strength in shoulders, arms, back legs and abs.
- Opens front and back of hips, quads and hamstrings – great pose for athletes!
- Can be good for sciatica.
- Opens the heart.
- Heart problems
- Arms may be down, fingers touching floor or on blocks for increased balance.
- Deepen backbend by reaching lifting heart and further back.
- Pad back knee if tender.
- Face wall and place hands on wall for balance assist.
- Go stronger by lifting the back knee, pressing through the back heel.
- Heart-opening honoring of the highest within
With lots of variations to choose from, this pose has a ton of great benefits on both a physical and emotional level…plus a cool story you can tell in your classes.
Feel free to modified the arms to achieve different effects or take it into a stronger version by pressing through the back heel to lift the back knee.
Sometimes simple is good, too. And this knee-down variation can feel deeply satisfying for all levels of practitioners.
What you can do next
- What’s your feeling about this pose? Do you feel something special when doing it?
- Get your free asana tip sheet by clicking the button below.
- If you’re missing a few of these tip sheets from your personal collection, click here to get our ebook containing the first 30 at a super-reasonable price.