17 Jul Keeping It Real Mind, Body, Breath And Heart: The magic of Hanuman 2019
By Jessie Lucier
Every year I look forward to Hanuman so much so that the dates for next year’s festival are usually on my calendar the day after that year’s event concludes. Next year’s dates—the 10th anniversary of Hanuman! — already are. They’re June 11-14, 2020, in case you were wondering and want to get them on your calendar too. No one wants to miss next year! Anyhow, feeling so full, awake and inspired, I set an intention at the close of each Hanuman to do what I can throughout the year to keep its spirit alive. Hanuman Festival truly is special, as is everyone who attends, and the 9th annual 2019 Hanuman proved to be as heart opening and inspiring as ever.
Starting off in Amy Ippoliti’s “Being Human: Yoga to Keep it Real” immersion, Hanuman kicked off with my heart opening right away—literally. I went into wheel guided by one of her amazing 500-hour teacher training students for the first time since I injured my back over a year ago. As I went in, with support and in proper alignment, I literally felt my chest expand and heart open in a way I realized it hadn’t in a long time. Tears streamed down my face as joy poured in to a space in my heart that had been stuck. What a way to start Hanuman!
After a lunch break to refuel and process, Govind Das and Radha facilitated the second of the Thursday immersions with their class “The Human Heart.” Awaiting the start, a well-known yoga teacher friend of mine here in Boulder sat down on my mat in the grass. She immediately asked me what Hanuman I thought this would be for me this year, explaining that Hanuman is, in a way, a barometer for her every year (she’s been all nine years). We laughed, enjoying the start of the magic that truly defines Hanuman, as I shared with her that I’d been thinking and journaling about that exact thing at that exact moment. For me, there’s been the Happy Hanuman, the Falling In Love Hanuman, the Heartbreak Hanuman and so on. She suggested that this year might be Healing Hanuman—and that it so beautifully proved to be.
Govind Das and Radha’s immersion began—so different, yet equally as inspiring as Amy’s. I love that about Hanuman—the depth and the breadth of it all. Govind Das talked us through the classic story of Hanuman in a way I’d never heard it described, explaining that we all have superpowers, which we get to remind ourselves and each other of everyday. We get to leap and trust that we are being held as we show up in devotion and with humility. As we considered Hanuman’s huge heart, Govind Das led a sweet flow set to beautiful live music. Radha, with her absolutely amazing voice, then led us in a chant that grew into an ecstatic dance of pure devotion and joy. With people in tears, embracing neighbors they just met, I knew Hanuman’s magic was being spun up and setting the vibe for the next three days.
There’s something really special about the Thursday immersions. They provide a space for intention, deep connection and reflection before the beautiful busyness of the weekend begins. As I did, you get to consider Hanumans of the past. You get time to go really deep (3.5 hours) into a workshop style class. You get to connect with old friends and meet new ones in a more intimate way. And, the immersions are always infused with some kind of huge Hanuman heart magic.
Keeping It Real
This year’s theme, “Keeping it Real,” was a big part of every experience I had—both on my mat in classes and off of it. Hanuman—both the festival and our beloved monkey—inspire us to take yoga off the mat and into our hearts and homes. The spirit of both serve as important reminders that how we each show up in our lives—in this world everyday—matter, and that with honesty, integrity, authenticity, devotion and fearless love, we can make a difference. As Govind Das mentioned in the Thursday immersion, it’s the actions of our lives that become our yoga practice.
Keeping it real means being real, and that thread was weaved throughout Hanuman 2019 in a powerful way. It’s a blessing to be part of this community that comes together every year in a space that is safe, welcoming and infused with attention, intention and love. From gut-based laughter to heartbreaking tears, ecstatic dance to reflective yin, deep connection with new friends and warm embraces with those we’ve known for years, Hanuman is a place to open up hearts, really be seen, really see others and, totally in line with this year’s theme, keep it real. We all have our joy. We all have our pain. And then there’s this beautiful thing that we call yoga that brings it, everything and us together. There’s a lot happening in the world right now that we get to show up and be present for. In our Hanuman community this year, in years past and in years to come, we are stronger. The healing of the world begins with truly keeping it real as we hold space for the healing of each other and ourselves.