Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose

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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.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • 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.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Practice hanumanasana away from your sticky yoga mat. Start by kneeling on wood or carpeted floor and then step your right foot forward.
  2. Shift your hips back and begin to straighten your front leg.
  3. Press your fingertips into the floor or blocks for stability. Tuck your left toes under and slide your left knee behind you.
  4. Slide your right heel forward, flexing your toes up toward the sky.
  5. Engage your legs by pressing through your right heel and drawing your right hip back. Keep your right kneecap pointing toward the sky.
  6. Allow the pelvis to lower down closer to the floor or onto a bolster.
  7. If you feel stable, option to bring your hands into anjali mudra (hands at heart center) or straight overhead.
  8. Hold the posture for up to 60 seconds, then slowly press your hands into the ground and lift your hips. Release back to kneeling.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Hanuman = monkey god
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches hamstrings, groins, and hip flexors.
  • Strengthens the abductor muscles of the thighs.
  • Thought to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and abdomen.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Thought to encourage patience and compassion.


Next Article

Vasisthasana: Side Plank Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS   |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Vasisthasana (vah-sish-TAHS-anna) comes in many variations. At its core, side plank is a challenging arm balance that requires core and shoulder strength.

Philosophy + Origin

The word “vasistha” appears in the yogic tradition as the name of several sages. This pose honors all the vasistha sages, including an array of rishis and prajapatis (lords of creation). In one story of Vasistha, he was the proud owner of a famous wish-granting cow named Nandini that helped Vashistha acquire vast wealth. While the Sanskrit translation of this pose is “Sage Vasistha’s pose,” the common translation is “side plank.”

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