Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose
Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-ah-nah) honors the great leap made by Hanuman, the famous monkey god from the Ramayana, across the ocean from India to the mountains of Sri Lanka. Front splits pose demands flexibility, strength, and stability.
Philosophy + Origin
More than just an incredible leap, Hanuman is remembered, celebrated, and worshiped because of his great devotion and courage. To be devoted, one must be bold enough to stand firmly in their beliefs, selflessly serving others and putting others’ needs above their own.
Because of its physical demands, it’s easy to get caught up in “achieving” the outward appearance of the posture. As such, it’s important to keep your ego in check as you dedicate yourself to the posture. Above all, invite kindness and selflessness to flow freely from the posture. As you practice, ask yourself how you can embody Hanuman’s devotion both in your physical yoga practice and your everyday life.
- Use a bolster or blanket under your pelvis to support working on flexibility in the hamstrings and hip flexors.
- Use blocks under your hands to keep the front and back of the torso evenly elongated.
- Place a blanket under your back knee to offer more padding.
- Place a blanket under your front heel to facilitate the actions of the pose.
- Practice hanumanasana away from your sticky yoga mat. Start by kneeling on wood or carpeted floor and then step your right foot forward.
- Shift your hips back and begin to straighten your front leg.
- Press your fingertips into the floor or blocks for stability. Tuck your left toes under and slide your left knee behind you.
- Slide your right heel forward, flexing your toes up toward the sky.
- Engage your legs by pressing through your right heel and drawing your right hip back. Keep your right kneecap pointing toward the sky.
- Allow the pelvis to lower down closer to the floor or onto a bolster.
- If you feel stable, option to bring your hands into anjali mudra (hands at heart center) or straight overhead.
- Hold the posture for up to 60 seconds, then slowly press your hands into the ground and lift your hips. Release back to kneeling.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Half front splits pose | Ardha hanumanasana
- Crescent lunge | Anjenayasana
- Reclined heros pose | Supta virasana
- One leg king pigeon pose 2 | Eka pada rajakapotasana 2
- Lord of the dance pose | Natarajasana
- Wide angle seated forward bend | Upavistha konasana
- Hanuman = monkey god
- Asana = pose
- Stretches hamstrings, groins, and hip flexors.
- Strengthens the abductor muscles of the thighs.
- Thought to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and abdomen.
- Thought to encourage patience and compassion.
Parsvottanasana: Intense Side Stretch Pose
From lengthening the spine to stretching the legs to calming the mind, there’s a little bit of everything in parsvottanasana (parsh-voh-tahn-AHS-ah-nah) Also known as intense side stretch pose or pyramid pose, this shape is helpful for finding balance while stretching hamstrings.
Parsvottanasana requires a combination of flexibility, strength, and patience. With the help of props such as blocks or a wall, the\is pose becomes accessible for everyone.
- Blocks: Place hands on blocks to help keep the torso long.
- Wall: Place hands on a wall in front of you to work on strengthening the muscles of the back.
- Heart opening variation: Take the hands in reverse prayer position behind the back to stretch and open your shoulders and chest while also challenging your balance. If reverse prayer isn’t accessible, you can still bring the arms behind the back, reaching for opposite elbows instead.
- Adjust your stance: If the back heel is lifted off of the floor, shorten the stance so you can push through the heel to activate the back leg. For more stability, widen your stance.