Hanuman Pose or The Monkey Pose
Hanumanasana copies the famous leap of Lord Hanuman, the leap of faith, which was taken from the Southern tip of India to Srilanka. Hanuman, who plays a crucial part in the epic Ramayana, showing great valour in reuniting Lord Rama with his wife Sita, covers the biggest leap ever.
Hanumanasana is a similar leaping pose wherein you do the famous full front split. It is quite a challenging pose, an intense leg-stretching exercise and requires a lot of flexibility. You need to give your best effort and utmost dedication to get your personal equivalent of Hanuman Leap.
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Hanuman Pose – Steps to Follow
The monkey pose yoga is the intermediate level of asana. Being quite an intense stretch, this requires a lot of flexibility and hence a master’s level in basic yoga. You could practice a few warm-up preparatory poses like the Paschimottanasana, or the sun salutation or the horse riding poses to loosen your hamstrings and hips and improve your flexibility.
Follow the given step by step instructions to get the perfect Hanuman Pose:
Step 1: Place both knees on the floor. Raise your right foot putting it forward a foot distance apart from your left knee, twisting your right thigh outwardly. Get this stance by lifting the inner sole away from the floor and putting the weight of the foot on the outer heel.
Step 2: Breath out slowly, bending the upper part of your body forward, taking support by placing your fingertips (not palm) on the floor. Slowly slide your left knee backwards till it is straightened, at the same time bringing down the right thigh toward the floor. Know when you’ve reached the stretch limit and stop straightening the back knee.
Step 3: Start pushing your right heel away from your torso. Since we had, in the beginning, carried out a strong external rotation of the front leg, now slowly turn the leg inward, straightening it while lifting the kneecap upwards toward the ceiling.
As the front leg is straightened, continue stretching and pressing the left knee back, at the same time, bringing the front of the left thigh and the back of the right leg (and the base of the pelvis) down towards the floor. Check to ensure the centre of the right knee is pointing straight toward the ceiling.
Step 4: Now check and ensure that your back leg is stretching straight out of the hip (instead of out towards the side), and that the centre of the back kneecap is placed directly on the floor.
Maintain the stance of the front leg by extending through the heel and lifting the ball of the foot toward the ceiling. Bring the hands into Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) or stretch the arms straight up toward the ceiling.
Step 5: Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out, press your hands to the floor, turn the front leg out slightly, and slowly return the front heel and the back knee to their starting positions. Then reverse the legs and repeat for the same length of time.
This is not an easy or basic pose. So make sure that you practice it under the supervision of a trained instructor. Do not risk it if you have any injuries.
Hanumanasana Yoga Benefits
Eight weeks of consistent practice of the Hanuman pose, people reported incredible benefits.
- The Hanuman pose makes the body agile and flexible.
- It is the best-known exercise for the legs.
- This mammoth stretch or split helps make your muscles stronger, increasing their endurance.
- It increases the flexibility of hamstrings, calves, pelvis and hips.
- It stimulates the reproductive organs, preventing menstrual cramps.
- It helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Monkey Pose Yoga For Beginners
As we already discussed, the Hanuman pose is not a basic yoga pose. It requires a lot of strength and flexibility and hard practice to master the full split. Hanumanasana for beginners can initially be very difficult because most beginners have never even practised yoga.
You need to first keep practising to loosen your hamstrings and stretch your legs as much as you can. If you find it hard to keep your knees directly on the floor, you can use a folded blanket, keeping it under your knees and ankles for comfortability.
You can stretch the upper part of your body by pressing your back foot into the floor. This pressure on the back foot will lift your shoulder blades and set them firmly on your back.
Half Monkey Pose Yoga Or Ardha Hanumanasana – Steps and Benefits
Half monkey pose yoga is practised to open up the hamstrings and the hip. This half-splits pose or Ardha Hanumanasana is a preparatory pose for full splits (Hanumanasana). Read on to find out how to do the half-split pose.
- Begin with a lunge position, your right foot forward and your back knee on the ground. Shift your hips back and place them over your left knee, and stretch your front leg such that you feel the stretch, enough to not overdo it.
- Flex your right toes toward your face lifting the sole of your foot off the mat. Place your hands on either side, directly under your shoulders, on the floor or on blocks (if needed). Keep your spine aligned and stretched, both in the front and at the back.
- Point your right kneecap straight upwards, bending your knee slightly to prevent hyperextension and engaging your quadriceps at the same time.
- Press down with the help of your fingertips to stretch the torso and engage your abdominal muscles too.
- Slowly deepen the stretch by walking your hands towards your feet. As you do that, maintain your focus on pulling the pinky toe of your right foot back in the direction of your face and press forward with the ball of your foot right under the big toe.
- Stay in the pose for as long as 60 seconds and then bend the front knee, returning to the lunge. Repeat the same on the other side.
Benefits of Ardha Hanumansana
Practice Ardha Hanumansana to create a healthy balance of strength and flexibility.
- Half Monkey Pose helps bring fresh blood to the pelvic region.
- Helps stretch hamstrings, quads and hip flexors.
- Strengthens the core muscles and helps prevent lower-body injury.
- Ardha Hanumanasana or the runner’s lunge is ideal to start the split practice and move to the advanced pose.
- Instead of rounding the spine and curling the shoulders to bring the torso near the extended leg, try to find the stretch in the hamstring by stretching and aligning the spine and bending the chest down toward the toes.
- If you find it difficult to balance your hands down on the ground, walk them a little closer toward your body, or place them on blocks to elevate them. That will make the stretch less intense.
- It generally happens that the hip on the straight leg side pulls forward and the hip on the bent knee side pulls back. So when you hold this pose, focus on your hips, and check on the action of drawing the hip on the straight leg side back, and the hip on the bent knee side forward until the hips are square.
- If you feel any discomfort in the back knee, you may fold the long edge of your mat over or tuck a folded blanket or towel under the knee for extra support.
Hanumanasana is not just any other yoga pose. It is a very intense pose that requires flexibility in both the front and back sides of your legs. Instead of pushing your limits on the very first day, remember that this pose is not actually a leap of faith for us because we are not Lord Hanuman. We are normal human beings who need plenty of practice to get us anywhere near copying the greatest leap ever of the Monkey Lord through this monkey yoga pose.
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