Kim Hyunjoo(200hr YTT weekend class)
Hanumansana is called ‘monkey pose’ because it is named after a divine entity, Hanuman, who resembles a monkey. This asana comes from a famous story in which Hanuman made the giant leap from India to Lanka. This pose requires you to split your legs, i.e. one leg forward and the other backward, which is why it has another name, ‘full front splits’.
There are many benefits of this pose. First, it can stretch the thighs, hamstrings, groins and the calf muscles. It also opens up the lower body. In the full version of the front splits, with arms up, the core can be strengthened and the abdominal organs stimulated. However, this pose is quite an advanced pose that requires great flexibility in both legs and openness in the hip. So, people will take some time to master it. You need to take your time and just practise regularly.
Getting into the Hanumanasana pose
As mentioned before, this pose is quite an advanced pose, so you need to do prep work for it. It will be a good sequence to move from Ardha Hanumanasana to Hanumanasana as below, because Ardha Hanumanasana (half front split) is a perfect warm-up pose and a preparatory for the full version, front split pose.
1. Begin with ‘Downward Facing Dog’ and take a few breaths in this pose.
2. Inhale, step your right leg forward between your hands. Lower your left knee on the floor and release your left toes.
3. Exhale, straighten your right leg and shift your hips back. Keep your hips squared by pulling the hip of the right leg back and the hip of the left one forward. Keep the hips over the left knee.
4. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Then, exhale and fold over the right leg while bringing your right foot towards you with the heel on the floor to stretch the hamstrings and the calf of the right leg.
5. Keep your shoulder blades down and away from the ears.
6. Stay in this pose and take 5 full, deep breaths.
7. Slowly extend the right and left legs by wriggling the right heel forward and the back knee backward to move into full Hanumanasana. Keep the hip squared.
8. For those with tight hip and hamstrings and without strong muscles around the spine, use blocks to support the weight of the body.
9. If your hips can touch the floor with both legs extended fully and you feel comfortable and stable in this pose, put the arms up. Keep the spine lengthened and straightened. Focus on flexing the front foot toward the torso, squeezing the inner thighs of both legs and rotating the back leg internally.
10. Take 5 breaths in this pose.
11. Come out of this pose by tucking your left toes, placing the palms on the floor and moving into the Downward-Facing Dog pose. Then, repeat for the other side.
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