In Hindu mythology, Lord Hanuman is a legendary character, well known for his potential, strength, and courage. Hanumanasana is similar in terms of inculcating such qualities into a yogi.
You must have heard about the front splits, Hanuman asana is its yogic version. It is performed in the sitting position. The intense stretch and the body balance required in it categorizes it as an advanced pose.
This pose can be approached by splitting the legs, with extending one of them in the forward and the other in the backward direction. The hips are bought the floor with the pelvis supporting and balancing the upper body. Ensure to keep your hips closed while performing the split.
Follow this step-by-step guide to gift your legs the enhanced flexibility and strength.
The pose is named after Hanuman, the Monkey God. The story behind it can be traced from the epic Ramayana.
There is an incident where Sita was abducted by Ravana to Sri Lanka, then Rama took help from Hanuman to rescue her back. Hanuman went to Sri Lanka making a giant leap from South India to Sri Lanka.
This gigantic heroic leap by Hanuman is interpreted as the front split made in the pose, hence named after him. Hanuman was described as a monkey in the scriptures, therefore this asana is also referred to as monkey pose.
As the legs attain a full split, therefore hanumanasana targets the hamstrings, groins, and hip flexors. Also, the core muscles and quadriceps are actively engaged holding the pose.
Hanumanasana Practice Guide
Precautions & Contraindications
- Do not attempt hanuman asana if you have a slipped disc or hernia.
- People suffering from sciatica must refrain from this pose.
- Do not try this pose with a dislocated hip joint.
- Avoid this pose there is an injury in the hips, pelvis, hamstrings, knees, and ankles.
- Pregnant women are advised not to practice Hanuman asana.
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu sirsasana)
- Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
- Supine Thunderbolt Pose (Supta Vajrasana)
- Reclining Hand-to-big-toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana).
- Hero Pose (Virasana)
- Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)
How to Do Hanumanasana (Steps)
- Begin with kneeling on the left knee, placing the right foot in front of it.
- The gap between the right foot and left knee must be about 30cm.
- Bring the palms to the floor on either side of the right foot.
- Pressing the palms to the floor, slide the right foot forward.
- Straighten both the legs by extending the right foot forward and left foot back as far as possible.
- Both the legs and pelvic region are aligned in a straight line with buttocks reaching the floor.
- Relax the body and bring the hands together in the Anjali mudra pressing against the chest.
- Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
- Release the pose and repeat it alternating the leg position.
- Finally, relax extending both the legs forward for one to two minutes.
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
- Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
- Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana)
The splitting action of hanumanasana can be modified using following yoga props;
- Yoga blocks – While performing the hanuman asana place a block on either side of your front foot. Place your hands on the block and then continue stretching the legs. Blocks help to enhance the stretch easily and open the heart, straightening the back muscles. Beginners find it to be the most useful.
- Bolster – Holding the starting position for Hanuman asana, place a bolster between the front foot and back knee. As you straighten, the legs rest the pelvis onto the bolster. It helps to keep the hips square and eases the pose.
- Blanket – Pace a folded blanket under the back knee at the beginning of the pose. Then continue further steps. It will prevent the knee from getting hurt and ease your way to get into the pose.
- Monkey Pose (arm variation) – Step up the monkey pose by raising the arms overhead. Bring the palm closer to join them in a prayer pose, fix your gaze to your hands arching the neck.
- Monkey pose Forward Bend
- Come to monkey pose splitting both the legs. Drag your hands and place them on either side of your front foot. Bend forward, bringing the forehead to the front knee and forearm resting on the floor.
- Half Monkey Pose (Ardha hanumanasana)
- This is a simple variation of hanuman asana where only one leg is stretched out while another leg remains in the kneeling position.
Begin with kneeling on the left knee and placing the right foot in front of it. Place the palms to the floor on either side of the right foot. Push your hips backward, eventually straightening the right knee. Keep gazing at the floor.
- Hanuman asana acts as a pain reliever for patients with sciatica.
- It is also practiced to alleviate any stiffness in the groins and leg cramps.
- The spine is elongated to the crown of the head. This brings fresh oxygen to the brain, thus soothes the nervous system, thereby relieving stress.
1. Tones the legs
The legs get elongated and stretched fully, holding hanuman asana. This tones the hamstrings, thighs, groins, and hip flexors. The calf muscles are also stretched and strengthens the leg muscles.
2. Improves spine flexibility
After stretching the legs fully, the upper body is straightened, maintaining spine integrity. It stretches the spinal muscles and prana flows from nostrils to the upper back, reaching the lower back.
It expands the spine and improves its flexibility.
3. Improves reproductive health
In Hanuman asana, the pelvis is actively engaged in bearing the body weight and balancing it. This stimulates the reproductive organs by providing deep stretch and improving blood flow.
Thus, this posture is beneficial in maintaining the reproductive system.
4. Stimulates digestive organs
This pose also stretches the abdominal muscles which massage the internal organs. This enhances the efficiency of the digestive organs and aids in better digestion.
5. Energetic benefits
Hanuman asana also provides spiritual and energetic benefits by activating the Root (Muladhara) chakra, Sacral (Svadhisthana) chakra, and Heart (Anahata) chakra. It develops stability, creativity, and self-love within the practitioner.