Oh, Hanuman, the great Monkey God in Hindu mythology. Hanumanasana is totally in honor of his great leap from South India to the Himalayas, so don’t be put off if your hamstrings are a little too tight for both legs to stretch in opposite directions. The full splits seem nearly impossible for some but always remember that your outward appearance of this posture is not the goal. Rather dedicate yourself to achieving the proper muscle engagement and alignment. As you progress in your practice, your hamstrings, groin and hip flexors will become more flexible while your pelvic floor and abdomen muscles strengthen. Julia Lee mentions that this asana will help you to move deeper into other yoga poses.
First, let’s get started with what yoga props you’ll need for support.
- Use a bolster or two blocks under the pelvis to help support the body
- Position a block under each hand to keep the front and back of the torso evenly elongated
- Place a blanket under your back knee to provide a little bit of cushioning
- Place a blanket under your front heel to facilitate the actions of the pose.
Here are 7 Steps to entering Hanumanasana, the full front splits pose
1. Come into Downward-Facing Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana, with your the palms firmly grounded and the hips lifting up high and back.
2. When you exhale, step your right foot forward between your hands. Bring your left knee down and release the top of the left foot on to your mat.
3. Take your fingertips to either side of your hips or alternatively you can rest your hands on blocks beside your hips instead. Open up your hip flexors by sinking your weight into your hips and avoid rounding in your spine.
4. Slowly begin to extend the front leg, flexing the right foot so that the toes point back toward your face. Slide the right heel forward as much as you are able to.
5. Once you’re comfortable in the stretch here, try wiggling your left knee back a bit this time. Ensure that you’re keeping your hips square and that your weight is evenly distributed across the left and right sides of the body. Make sure that your back leg extends straight out of the hip (and isn’t angled out to the side), and that the center of the back kneecap is pressing directly on the floor.
6. Alternate between extending the front leg and back leg until you reach a point of ease and effort. If your legs can’t yet comfortably come down onto the floor yet, keep your hands propped up on blocks or take a block or bolster under the front thigh.
7. Once you feel comfortable in both legs, place your block under the hamstring connector of your front leg. Engage your core and raise your arms above your head and remain here for 5-10 breaths. To come out of the pose, tuck the back toes under, plant the palms, and make your way into Downward-Facing Dog.
Follow Hanumanasana with one-legged pigeon pose, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or a seated forward bend, Paschimottanasana.
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