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Picture of Half Front Splits Pose

 

Ardha Hanumanasana: Half Front Splits Pose


One of the best ways to prepare the body for Hanumanasana, or Full Front Splits pose, Ardha Hanumanasana (are-dah hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna), also known as Half Front Splits pose, is a great stretch for your hips, hamstrings, calves, and lower back. An approachable posture for most individuals, Ardha Hanumanasana strengthens the muscles needed to practice Front Splits safely with the correct muscles properly engaged.

Philosophy + Origin

One of the main characters of the Ramayana, Hanuman, the famous monkey god, devotee of Lord Rama, and son of Vayu (the god of wind), is celebrated in the pose Hanumanasana, which physically represents his famous “leap of faith”, taking him across the ocean from India to the Himalayas. Of course, this leap didn’t happen overnight. Ardha Hanumanasana, the preparatory pose for Hanumanasana, can represent the stability and strength needed to make grand, world-changing (or life-changing) gestures. Rather than only focusing on gaining flexibility, use Ardha Hanumanasana to create a healthy balance. When practicing Ardha Hanumanasana, remind yourself of the dangers of only being flexible in life. In order to really get where you want to go, you must also be strong and stable.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Use blocks under the hands to help keep the torso erect and the spine long.
  • For less intensity, keep the hands directly under the shoulder.
  • For more intensity, walk the hands down the extended leg towards the feet.

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:

  • Back injuries or back pain, especially in the lower back
  • Hip, hamstring or groin injury

TIPS:

One of the underlying benefits of practicing Ardha Hanumanasana is its ability to teach proper muscular engagement. Because Hanumanasana can be so intense for many people (or even so easy), it is often practiced poorly when it comes to alignment and physical engagement. While working in Ardha Hanumanasana, pay attention to your muscles, especially around the pelvis. Rather than collapsing into the joints, which puts muscles and joints at risk, learn to be active rather than passive. Focusing on the right muscular actions can relieve discomfort around the inner knees, the SI joints, and hamstring attachments.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in Uttanasana at the top of your mat. Step back with your left leg so that you come into a long lunge position. Place your left knee on the mat and then stack your hips directly over your back knee. Begin to move your right foot forward until the leg straightens to the best of your ability. Flex your right toes toward your face so that the sole of your foot is off the mat. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, either on the floor or on blocks. Make sure you keep length in your spine, both front and back.
  2. Bring your attention to your right knee, making sure that it isn’t locked or turning inward rather than pointing directly up. To help, engage the quadriceps of the right leg while rooting through the heel. As you do, you will create a slight microbend in the knee, which you can either keep as you practice the pose or you can re-straighten the leg without losing the engagement.
  3. Press down more through your fingertips to keep length in the torso and to help engage the muscles in your belly. To help, draw your front hip points towards each other. To deepen the stretch, begin to walk your hands toward your feet. As you work in the pose, focus on pulling the pinky toe of your right foot back towards your face and pressing forward with the ball of your foot right under the big toe.
  4. Hold the pose for up to 60 seconds before re-bending the front knee and returning to a lunge. Step forward into Uttanasana before repeating the pose on the other side.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

  • Anjaneyasana
  • Baddha Konasana
  • Janu Sirsasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Upavistha Konasana
  • Utkatasana
  • Uttanasana

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

  • Natarajasana
  • Paschimottanasana

SANSKRIT:

  • Ardha = Half
  • Hanuman = the Monkey God
  • Asana = Pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches hips, hamstrings, calves and lower back
  • Strengthens your hamstrings
  • Prepares your body for Hanumanasana
  • Increases awareness and stability through the pelvis
  • Stimulates internal organs

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Increases commitment and devotion

MANTRA:

“Hanuman Moola Mantra”

Chanted to help overcome obstacles and problems, this mantra is said to also increase physical strength, stamina, and power. To practice, recite, “Om Hanumate Namah.”

MUDRA: Pran Mudra

Designed to promote a healthy foundation for all other chakras, practicing this mudra provides strength and balance. To do Pran mudra, bring the tip of thumb to touch the tips of the ring and index fingers. Allow the middle and pinky fingers to extend out. Meditate with the mudra for up to 30 minutes each day.

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