Not only does February mark the celebration of Valentine’s Day, it also commences the Chinese New Year. In Chinese astrology, this year is the year of the Fire Monkey. According to Narrye Caldwell, a Doctor of Chinese medicine and Chinese astrologer, “Fire brings forth the rose, lays the paint on the canvas, and gives voice to the song that’s been forming in the depths of your heart.” In yoga, Hanuman, who is the monkey hero, brings forth the rose and gives voice to the song of your heart. He is the quintessential Valentine and bhakti yogi.
In Hindu (the tradition from which yoga originates) symbolism, Hanuman represents the spiritual union of the individual self with the universal self. In the Ramayana, the great Hindu Sanskrit poem, Hanuman’s adventures of this symbolic union are narrated. The hero monkey helps Rama, the representation of the universal self, recover the kidnapped Sita, the image of the individual self, from Ravana, who exemplifies the ego self. With this interpretation, Hanuman personifies bhakti, which is the devotional union of the individual and universal in love.
Artwork depicts Hanuman with his chest torn open. Rama and Sita sit in his heart space. The story of this image suggests that there is depth to Hanuman’s devotion. Sita (individual self) and Rama (universal self) live in Hanuman’s heart space. In this way, Hanuman’s heart belongs to Sita and Rama making him a true bhakti yogi.
On this Valentine’s Day, whom does your heart belong to? Take the Leap for Love Workshop with Vidya Ramanathan at Purple Yoga Long Beach from 11:15 to 1:15 p.m. and embody Hanuman. During this workshop, Vidya will help connect your physical strength with breath (perseverance) and leverage the deeper fuel for your practice (devotion) to gradually move from standing postures to full splits (Hanuman Pose). The physical practice will wind down with passive (Yin) poses followed by a final relaxation pose (Savasana). At the conclusion of the workshop, dessert refreshment will be served to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The workshop is suitable for all levels. Bring your own blocks or studio blocks (limited blocks available).
On this Valentine’s Day, practice some self love and tap into the qualities of Hanuman—strength, perseverance and devotion.