Hanumanasana or Monkey Pose is an asana. Sanskrit: हनुमानासन; Hanuman – A Hindu deity who resembles a monkey, Asana – Pose; Pronounced As – hah-NU-mahn-AHS-anna.
The name comes from the Sanskrit word Hanuman. He is a Hindu deity, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, who took the avatar of a monkey. This pose marks the giant leap made by BajrangBali to reach Lanka from India.
Everything You Need To Know About The Hanumanasana
- What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
- How To Do The Hanumanasana
- Precautions And Contraindications
- Beginner’s Tips
- Advanced Pose Variations
- The Benefits Of The Monkey Pose
- The Science Behind The Hanumanasana
- Preparatory Poses
- Follow-Up Poses
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be practiced on an empty stomach. Make sure you have a gap of at least 10 to 12 hours between your meal and the practice. For this to happen, you must practice this asana early in the morning. You must also make sure your bowels are empty before you practice this asana.
- Level: Intermediate
- Style: Vinyasa Yoga
- Duration: 30 to 60 seconds
- Repetition: Once on the right leg and once on the left leg
- Stretches:Hamstrings, Thighs, Groin
- Strengthens:Legs, Abdomen, Hips
How To Do Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)
- Kneel down on the floor, making sure your knees are slightly apart. Move your right foot forward and raise the inner sole. Only the outer heel must touch the floor. Inhale.
- While you exhale, gently bend your torso forward, and touch the floor with your fingertips.
- Now, move the left knee backward until the front of the foot and the knee touch the floor. While you are doing this, gently slide your right leg forward till it touches the floor completely as well.
- To finish off the pose and come into a split position, continue sliding your right foot forward.Make sure the toes are pointing skywards.Slide your left foot backward, making sure the toes are touching the ground.
- Raise your arms above your head and join your palms together. Stretch your arms and gently arch your back until you are comfortable.
- Breathe normally.Hold the position for about a minute, or until you are comfortable.
- Release the posture by shifting the body weight on the hands. Press your hands on the floor firmly, and slide both your feet back to the original position. Repeat the asana with your left leg forward and the right at the back.
Precautions And Contraindications
These are a few points of caution you must keep in mind while practicing this asana.
- It is best to practice this asana with a doctor’s advice and under the guidance of a certified yoga trainer as it is not a basic yoga pose.You might end up hurting yourself if you don’t do it the right way.
- It is best to avoid this asana if you have an injury in the groin area or the hamstrings.
- At no point must the split be forced as it can harm you. Listen to your body, and push only as much as you can.
This is not a basic yoga pose, and it takes intense practice to perform the split. When you practice this asana initially, you can use a blanket under your ankles and knees to make it more comfortable.
Increase the length of the torso by pressing the back foot into the floor. The pressure you put on your back foot will lift your shoulder blades and set them firmly on your back.
Advanced Pose Variations
To increase the stretch, once you split your legs and stretch your arms up, you can lean forward, bend over your front leg, and touch your feet. Hold the pose for a few seconds.Inhale and come back up.
The Benefits Of Monkey Pose
These are some amazing benefits of the Hanumanasana.
- This asana helps to stretch as well as strengthen the muscles in the thighs, groin region, and hamstrings.
- This asana also helps to stimulate the reproductive and digestive organs, thereby improving their functioning.
- With regular practice, this asana makes the hips extremely flexible.
- The back muscles are stretched.
- Being an intense stretch, this asana helps release stress and tension.
The Science Behind The Hanumanasana
When you begin to practice this asana, your focus will be on your front leg and how tight it feels. You will feel the urge to stretch your hamstrings as much as you can to get the flexibility this asana requires. However, you must keep in mind that this asana requires your front and back legs to be equally flexible. If the front leg requires suppleness in the hamstrings, the back leg has to be open enough at the hip flexors. Once you manage to get this right, you will be able to balance yourself in this pose.
It doesn’t matter whether your pelvis touches the floor or not.What is more important is that you protect your lower back, and push only as much as it can go. The key is to always pick up the signs your body gives, and stop when it asks you to. You could use the support of cushions and bolsters, but most importantly, you must use your leg muscles to support your pelvis. This advice might seem odd as this asana is, after all, a stretch of the leg. But by hugging your inner thighs towards each other and pressing your legs down, not only will it help to stretch your pelvis up, but it will also help engage your hamstrings and support your joints. Just remember to keep your breathing right through all the muscular action.
This asana is challenging and hard, and it might take you months to learn and master.But once you do, it is an accomplishment to be proud of.
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