Hanumanasana, Monkey Pose
Hanumanasana in yoga is commonly known as ‘doing the splits’.
Sit in Utkatasan, lift your hand in front of your nose and check which nostril is active. Now place your hands on the floor next to you and start stretching the leg of your active side to the front. With exhalation bring your active leg to the front and your inactive leg to the back, at first with the weight on your hands. Go to your full stretch.
If you are able to place your legs flat on the floor, you can bring your hands in front of your chest in the Namaste position.
If you want to go more advanced than even that, you can stretch your arms straight up, look towards the sky and lean back.
For coming out of the posture you first place your hands on the floor and shift the weight back on them by lifting your body up. Take a deep breath, hold your weight up and first bring the leg of the back closer to your body before bringing the front leg back, too. Move carefully and slowly.
Hanumanasana is obviously very helpful for gaining flexibility. But not only that! The yoga pose gives a strengthening stretch to the hamstrings and especially in the time when you cannot place your legs flat on the floor yet, you will need the support and strength of your arms.
It prevents sciatica and a soft and careful practice of the monkey pose even helps against sciatic pain.
Hanumanasana stimulates the abdominal organs and makes the blood flow properly through your veins. If you suffer from insomnia, it helps your system to get back into its normal rhythm. The strong blood flow of course also removes toxins and helps your skin look fresh and alive – yoga for beauty!
The main focus point in this yoga pose is to keep your knees straight. You should also not lean on one side but have the whole upper body and your back straight. Your thorax is wide and open while your shoulders should be completely relaxed.
If you practice Hanumanasana, it is generally better to do it on the floor directly or on a blanket instead of one the yoga mat. The sticky mat keeps your foot from sliding forward which can make the posture difficult.
In the beginning you can also put a blanket under your knees and ankles.
In general you need to be extra careful when performing this posture not to hurt or tear your hamstrings. Always stop when you feel intensive stretch and stay there for a while. The next time you will realize that you can already go further.
If you hamstrings are already injured or hurting, you should not do this posture.