Yoga with Melissa 215, Yoga for Devotion, Bhakti Yoga, Hanuman Series

by Melissa West on

Devotion


Episode-215---Free-Yoga-VideoOne of the things that Hanuman is best known for, as we learned a little bit last week with the sun salutations,  is devotion. Hanuman’s selfless devotion is to his beloved Ram and as you know, his strength came from chanting his name, “Ram, Ram, Ram.” In every temple of Ram, there is a statue of Hanuman bowing at the feet of Ram.

Hanuman’s devotion is an example of Dasya Bhava. The attitude of devotion, or the attitude of a servant. This devotion took the form of choosing not to marry and have a family of his own so that he could devote his own life entirely to the service of others, and particularly to his treasured Ram. This is an example of Brahmacharya and I will speak more about this as it relates to us in every day in a few moments. Hanuman’s only desire was to serve Ram.

Through his selfless devotion to his dear Ram, Hanuman gained much strength. You will remember from episode 213 that Hanuman is also known for his strength. Because of his undying devotion to Ram, Hanuman became free from all physical fatigue.

Hanuman as we know, was also a yogi (see episode 212 on breath practice,  and 214 on how he created the sun salutations). One style of yoga he practiced was called laya yoga which means to dissolve into the divine. He controlled his mind (see episode 211 on taming your monkey mind) through mantras (sacred sounds) and yantras (sacred symbols). He had mastery over his senses through selfless devotion and adherence to brahmacharya and he controlled his mind through his absolute faith in the divine believing that every event in his life was a gift from the divine to be accepted without question.

So how does all this affect us? What does it mean to us living in the world? How is Hanuman an example of how we should live our lives? Most of us are in relationships and so celibacy is not an option or even desirable. Even the attitude of entering into this extreme relationship of service is most likely not going to work in our culture.

However, this is an allegorical story with some truths and moral lessons that we can apply to our daily lives. I personally feel that Hanuman represents our monkey mind and Ram represents our higher self. As an archetype of what it is to be a servant to the divine, Hanuman illustrates how our egos or lower selves can become servants to our higher selves or Divine Selves/Atman. Through the control of our senses, by living a life of balance and right sexual conduct (bramacharya) and living in honour and reverence to our highest good always, we can choose to think, speak, and act for the highest good. One of the greatest boons that you can ask of Hanuman is the spiritual qualities that he himself is known for. What is it that you would like to receive from today’s class?

Resources: Hanuman The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God by Vanamali

Props: Block, Blanket

Yoga Poses/Asana: Sethubandasana/Bridge Pose with Namaste Hands, Keyhole stretch, Hanuman Kneeling with Anjali Mudra, ankle stretch, toe stretch, Anjaneyasana/Lunge pose, Chest Opening Arms in Tadasana/Standing Backbend, Humble Warrior/Virabhadrasana, Yoga Mudra/Rabbit Pose, 1/2 Lunge/Modified Camel Pose/Devoted Hanuman, Cow’s Face/Gomukasana, Cow’s Face with Anjali Mudra, Kūrmāsana/Tortoise, Mantra Ram with Anjali Mudra

Yoga with Melissa 215 Photos of Yoga Poses

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