How to do Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose or Splits) and its Benefits

Hanumanasana, popularly called as Splits is an intermediate yoga pose which is all about courage and fearlessness. This pose symbolizes the power of devotion and faith, which we need to bring during the practice. Here, you shouldn’t only stretch your legs, but also bring dedication and devotion to your practice. Splits teaches us to overcome obstacles and do what seems impossible to us at first instance. When I started the practice, it was looking impossible for me. But, today I can practice this beautiful asana with ease.

Hanuman-Monkey | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as hah-NU-mahn-AHS-anna, Sanskrit- हनुमानासन. Hanumanasana is also known as Monkey Pose. Lord Hanuman is a Hindu God who looks like Monkey. In Ramayana, Hanuman (Bajrang Bali) made a giant leap from Southern India to the island of Sri Lanka to rescue Princess Sita.  He is courageous, mischief, bold, and agile. Hanuman reminds us that there is always a hero within each and every one of us.

Level of Asana: Intermediate, Vinyasa Yoga

Stretches: Groin, thighs and Hamstrings

Target areas: Hips, Legs and Abdomen

Benefits of Monkey Pose

  1. This asana stretches and strengthens the thigh muscles, groin region and hamstrings.
  2. Stretches the back muscles and makes them strong.
  3. Releases stress, tension and calm your mind.
  4. Stretches and balances the hip flexors. Prevents lower back pain.
  5. Tones the waist muscles, brings flexibility to hips with regular practice.
  6. Stimulates the abdominal and reproductive organs of your body. Improves the digestive function.

Precautions

If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. It’s advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher, as you might end up hurting your body, if not done in a right way. Avoid this pose, if you have a recent or current injury in the groin area or hamstring. Practitioners with hip, low back, knee or foot pain may bring modifications to their practice.

Steps to do a perfect Monkey Pose

  1. Start by kneeling on the floor with knees slightly apart.
  2. Now, move your right foot forward and raise the inner sole. Your outer heel must touch the floor.
  3. Now, inhale gently and as you exhale, bend your torso forward and touch the floor with your fingertips.
  4. Move your left knee backward until the knee and front of the foot touch the floor. Simultaneously, slide your right leg forward till it touches the floor completely.Monkey Pose (Splits).png
  5. Ensure that to come into a Split position, you should slide your left foot backwards and front foot (right foot) forward.
  6. Continue to slide the toes of your right foot forward. Ensure that the toes are pointing skywards. Simultaneously, slide your left foot backwards, ensuring that the toes are touching the floor.
  7. Now, raise your arms above your head and join the palms together. Stretch your arms and arch your back until you feel comfortable.
  8. Breathe gently and stay in this position as long as you feel comfortable and ease.
  9. Now, to get released from this pose, shift your body weight on the hands. Press your hands firmly on the floor and slowly slide your left and right foot back until you reach the original position.
  10. Relax for few breaths and then repeat the same procedure with your left leg forward and right leg behind your body.

Variations and Modifications

Splits is not a basic pose, it takes intense dedicated practice to perform Splits. Practitioners who are new to this asana should use a blanket or yoga block under their ankles and knees to make it more comfortable and avoid discomfort and pain. To increase the length of the torso, press your back foot into the floor. When you put pressure on your back foot, your shoulder blades lift and now set them firmly on your back.

If your hamstrings and hips are tight, then place one or two blocks on both sides of your front thigh and place your hands on the block. This will provide you more support and allow you to intense your stretch.

You can deepen this pose, after gaining strength and flexibility. To enter into the advanced pose and increase the stretch, once you split both your legs, stretch your arms up and lean forward. Bend over your front leg and touch your feet. Hold this pose for few breaths, as long as you feel comfortable. Now, inhale and come back to the original position.

Tips

It is an intense leg stretching exercise, thus your leg needs to be more flexible and stretching. Practise basic yoga poses and hip opening poses before you attempt to practise splits.

You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Keep the following points in mind while practising this pose to gain maximum benefits for your mind, body and soul.

  1. When you begin to practice this pose, ensure that your focus should be on the front leg and how tight you feel.
  2. There will be a tendency to stretch your hamstrings as much as you can to get the flexibility. But, you should keep in mind that both your legs should be flexible enough to perform this asana.
  3. Learn to balance both your legs while you split them to touch the floor.
  4. It really doesn’t matter whether your pelvis touches the floor or not, what really matters is how much you can protect your lower back and push as much as you can go.
  5. Never force your body to split, stop when your body asks you to. Otherwise, you may end up with hurting yourself.
  6. Keep breathing throughout the practice to keep yourself engaged and motivated.

You will fail to see yourself in that 180 degrees angle many times during the practice. But, don’t afraid to fail. With every failure, you will learn patience, dedication and a new way to learn and win. Regular practice of this pose will provide you with enough strength and hip flexibility. Remember one thing, never force yourself during splits, as it can harm you. Listen to your body and practise as per your capability.

Preparatory Poses

Baddha Konasana

Virasana

Uttanasana

Supta Virasana

Janu Sirsasana

Follow Up Poses

Paschimottanasana

Upavistha Konasana

Natarajasana

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your Split practice and have an awesome day! More you devote yourself to the practice, your Split practise will get better and better. Just remember lord Hanuman and his devotion towards the master lord Rama. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

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Author: Rakesh Pradhan

Rakesh Pradhan is a Yogi, Blogger, Civil Engineer and a continuous learner. When he was 14 years old, one day his neighbourhood uncle asked him about Yoga and Meditation. He got so motivated about the amazing benefits of this beautiful Yoga that he started reading Yoga books, watching videos and practising yoga poses. Now, he is helping people to learn Yoga and keep them away from stress and lifetsyle diseases.