Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose
Honoring the great leap made by Hanuman, the famous monkey god from the Ramayana, Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna), or Front Splits pose, is perhaps one of the most symbolic postures practiced today. 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 their needs above your own. Through devotion, you are 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.
- 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
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.
- Do not practice Hanumanasana on your yoga or sticky mat. Instead, start by kneeling on the floor and then stepping your right foot forward. Draw the outer muscles of the right thigh back and shift your weight into the outer heel of your right foot to help externally rotate the leg.
- Pressing the tips of your fingers into the floor, begin to hinge from your hips and lean your torso forward with an exhalation. Simultaneously, slide your left knee back. Straighten both legs further by bringing the back of the right leg towards the floor and the front of the left thigh towards the floor. Before you get to your maximum stretch, stop and pause.
- Begin to engage the legs by pressing through your right heel and bringing your kneecap so that it points directly up towards the sky. Your back leg should be extending straight back so that the middle of the kneecap presses directly into the floor. Allow the pelvis to lower down closer to the floor or onto a bolster.
- Hands can stay down by your side or you can bring them into Anjali mudra at your heart or straight over the head with the biceps by the ears. 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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- Ardha Hanumanasana
- Baddha Konasana
- Janu Sirsasana
- Supta Virasana
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
- Upavistha Konasana
- Hanuman = monkey god
- Asana = pose
- Stretches hamstrings, groin and hip flexors
- Strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor and abdomen
- Relieves sciatica pain
- Stimulates internal organs
- Increases devotion, kindness and selflessness
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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