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Picture of Front Splits Pose

 

Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose


Honoring the great leap made by Hanuman, the famous monkey god from the Ramayana, is Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna), or front splits pose. A physical representation of the leap Hanuman made, which took him across the ocean from the tip of India to the mountains in Sri Lanka, front splits pose demands flexibility, strength, and stability. When practiced with careful alignment and proper muscle engagement, Hanumanasana can alleviate discomfort associated with sciatica issues.

Philosophy + Origin

More than just an incredible leap, Hanuman is remembered, celebrated, and worshiped because of his great devotion, courage, and his desire to see good rise above evil. To be devoted, one must be bold enough to stand firmly in their beliefs, selflessly serving others and putting others’ needs above their own. Through devotion, we can be inspired to do good deeds each day, no matter how small or how grand (like bringing back an entire mountain to save someone you love). 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 ego in check as you dedicate yourself to the posture. Above all, kindness and selflessness should flow freely out of the posture. As you practice, ask yourself how you can embody Hanuman’s devotion both in your physical yoga practice and, more importantly, your everyday life.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Use a bolster under the pelvis to help support the body as you work on flexibility in the legs and the fronts of the groin muscles.
  • Use blocks under your hands to keep the front and back of the torso evenly elongated.
  • Place a blanket under your back knee to facilitate the actions of the pose and to offer more padding.
  • Place a blanket under your front heel to facilitate the actions of the pose.

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:

  • Hamstring and groin injuries.

TIPS:

In Hanumanasana, it is critical to keep the muscles actively engaged. When practicing, be sure to keep the spine as long and comfortable as possible. To help, use the back foot to press actively into the floor. As your back leg engages, feel the shoulder blades firm against your spine, which will lengthen both the front and back of your torso.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Practice Hanumanasana away from your sticky yoga mat. Instead, start by kneeling on the floor and then step your right foot forward. Draw the outer muscles of the right thigh back.
  2. Press the tips of your fingers into the floor or block, and slide your left knee back. Straighten your right leg forward, flexing your toes up toward the sky.
  3. Engage the legs by pressing through your right heel and bringing your kneecap so that it points directly up towards the sky. Allow the pelvis to lower down closer to the floor or onto a bolster.
  4. If you feel stable, option to bring your hands into anjali mudra (hands at heart center) or straight overhead.
  5. Hold the posture for up to 60 seconds before releasing back to kneeling. Change front and back leg to repeat on the other side.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Hanuman = monkey god
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches hamstrings, groin, and hip flexors.
  • Strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor and abdomen.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Increases devotion, kindness, and selflessness.

MANTRA:

Hanuman Mantra

Reciting the Hanuman mantra, “Om Hanumate Namah,” is said to improve physical strength, stamina, and power. Chant aloud each day or recite silently during meditation.

MUDRA: Ashvaratna Mudra

A powerful way to help you cut through ego, practicing this mudra is also said to improve circulation and vitality. To practice, bring the palms of the hands together with fingers extended. Bend your middle and index fingers, interlacing them with the same fingers from the opposite hand. Keep your thumbs, ring and pinky fingers extended and touching. Keep your hands in front of your chest, level with your heart.

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