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.
Ustrasana: Camel Pose
Ustrasana (oosh-TRAHS-anna), offers a long list of benefits for both the physical and subtle bodies. Thanks to its many different variations and modifications, there are plenty of ways for individuals of all levels to appreciate the chest-opening and chakra-opening effects of camel pose.
Philosophy + Origin
Camel pose is named because the shape resembles the hump on a camel’s back, however there are other ways to consider the name when approaching the posture. Camels are known for their slow, steady, almost methodical way of moving. Rather than trying to race into the posture, moving slowly and methodically will help you find its benefits safely. Camels use their humps as food reserves, like well-packed bags ready to be used when needed. This type of physical preparation, a part of the camel’s natural adaptation for survival, is essential for this pose as well. Take your time to gather and practice the skills and knowledge necessary to take a back-bending journey to ensure that you come in and out of the posture with ease and poise.