Monkey Posture - Hanumanasana

Hanumanasana 
(Monkey Posture)


(hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna)

This yoga pose depics Hanuman, chief of the army of monkey warriors from India's great epic, Ramayana. This yoga position should only be practiced once the muscles are warmed completely and is generally used as an advance yoga exercise. Feel the balance of the torso and lightness of the lower body of this yoga pose.


 

Benefits

Stretches the thighs, hamstrings, groins 

Stimulates the abdominal organs

Contraindications/Cautions


Groin or hamstring injuries

Performing the Asana


Kneel on the floor. Step your right foot forward about a foot in front of your left knee, and rotate your right thigh outwardly. Do this by lifting the inner sole away from the floor and resting the foot on the outer heel. 

Exhale and lean your torso forward, pressing your fingertips to the floor. Slowly slide your left knee back, straightening the knee and at the same time descending the right thigh toward the floor. Stop straightening the back knee just before you reach the limit of your stretch. 

Now begin to push the right heel away from your torso. Because we started with a strong external rotation of the front leg, gradually turn the leg inward as it straightens to bring the kneecap toward the ceiling. As the front leg straightens, resume pressing the left knee back, and carefully descend the front of the left thigh and the back of the right leg (and the base of the pelvis) to the floor. Make sure the center of the right knee points directly up toward the ceiling. 

Also check to see that the 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. Keep the front leg active by extending through the heel and lifting the ball of the foot toward the ceiling. Bring the hands into Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) or stretch the arms straight up toward the ceiling. 

Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out, press your hands to the floor, turn the front leg out slightly, and slowly return the front heel and the back knee to their starting positions. Then reverse the legs and repeat for the same length of time. 

Anatomical Focus


Thighs 

Hamstrings 

Abdomen 

Groins 

Chest 

Shoulders 

Therapeutic Applications


Sciatica

Modify Your Practice


If the stretch to the pelvis is too intense, place a bolster beneath the pelvis beforehand.

Variations

From the position described in step 4 above, lean the torso into a forward bend over the front leg and take hold of the foot with your hands. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then come up on an inhalation. 

Complimentary Yoga Poses


Baddha Konasana - Bound Angle Posture
Paschimottanasana - Noble Pose 
Prasarita Padottanasana - Stading Wide Leg Forward Bend 
Supta Virasana - Reclining Hero Stretch 
Supta Baddha Konasana - Reclining Bound Angle Posture 
Supta Padangustasana - Reclining Big Toe Stretch 
Upavistha Konasana - Seated WIde Angle Stretch 
Uttanasana -Standing Forward Bend 
Virasana - Hero Pose

Tips for Beginners


To increase the length of the torso and spine, press the back foot actively into the floor and, from this pressure, lift the shoulder blades firmly into your back. 

Deepen the Pose


The arms are raised overhead from the "trigger" of the lower back ribs. Take the back ribs away from the top of the pelvis, and use this lift to reach the arms closer to the ceiling. Lengthen along the backs of the arms, stretching your pinkies a little closer to the ceiling than the index fingers. Then pin the fingertips against the ceiling and release or "hang" the ribs from the arms. 

Yo-yo the ribs between the arms and the pelvis: relative to the pelvis, the ribs lift, boosting the arms closer to the ceiling; relative to the arms, the ribs drop toward the floor, increasing the stretch in the armpits. 

Partner Practice


The partner can help you create a lift through the arms in the completed pose. Perform Hanumanasana with the arms raised. Have your partner stand straddling your pelvis. She should then press her hands against the outsides of your upper arms (just above the shoulders) and scrub up along the arms toward the hands. Press out against your partner's resistance and release the side ribs downward, away from the arms.