Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana) | Split Your Way to Stronger Legs and Abs

Take your flexibility to the next level and get ready to stretch and open up your hips from the powerful pose known as Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose).

Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana)

Also known as ‘the split,’ Hanumanasana (monkey pose) gets its name from the powerful Hindu monkey God, Hanuman, and is an advanced yoga pose that focuses on your legs, abdominal region, and hips.

Hanumanasana is a great pose for children as they tend to be more flexible than adults. An effective tip to keep in mind is to make sure to engage in hip-opening exercises and leg stretches during your warm-up routine before you try to execute the monkey pose.

Monkey Pose Directions:

When performing the monkey pose, ensure that your hips are squared to the front.

The following steps will help you practice the Monkey Pose effectively:

Step 1:

Start by kneeling upright on your mat. Place your knees a few inches apart and keep your right foot forward, leaving at least one foot of space in front of your left knee.

Lift your inner sole away from the floor, so that your foot rests on your outer heel and turn your right thigh outwards.

Step 2:

As you exhale, bend your torso forward and press your fingertips to the floor. Slowly move your left knee backward and, as you straighten the knee, simultaneously lower your right thigh. Stop straightening your left knee once you feel you have reached the limit of your stretch.

Step 3:

Push your right heel away from your torso and slowly turn the leg inward while you straighten it and bring your kneecap towards the ceiling. As the front leg becomes straight, press the left knee backward once again.

Step 4:

Carefully drop the front of the left thigh along with the back of the right thigh towards the ground. The center of your right knee should point directly towards the ceiling.

Ensure that your back leg is extended straight out behind from the hip and make sure that is it not angled out to the side. The center of that kneecap should press onto the floor.

Step 5:

Extend the heel of the front leg and lift the ball of the foot towards the ceiling. You could either stretch your hands straight up (towards the ceiling) or bring them together in the Anjali Mudra (salutation seal).

Step 6:

Hold this pose for about 60 seconds before returning to the starting position. To do so, press your hands onto the floor and turn the front leg out slightly and, slowly, return your front heel as well as the back knee to come back to the starting position.

Benefits of Monkey Pose:

The monkey pose has many benefits for the body, specifically the legs, abs, and hips.

1. Legs

Hanumanasana is excellent for your legs as the regular practice of this pose keeps your legs supple and flexible. An improved flexibility in the legs will reduce the risks of injury when you engage in other activities such as jogging, sprinting, cycling, or climbing.

2. Abdomen

Monkey pose stimulates the various organs in your abdominal region and thus works to improve their overall functioning. Additionally, monkey pose can help to keep the core and abs engaged and tone them in the process.

3. Hips

Practicing this pose on a regular basis opens up the hips and the groin region, increasing the body’s overall flexibility, balance, and alignment.

Monkey Pose Precautions:

The monkey pose is an advanced, complex yoga pose, therefore, it is advised to practice this pose under the supervision of a yoga expert in order to minimize the risks of getting injured.

The following are a few other precautions to take before practicing Hanumanasana:

  • Avoid practicing this pose if you are suffering from any injuries, especially in the hamstring or groin area.
  • Make sure to perform this pose slowly and to be careful at every step.
  • Do not push your body beyond its limits of comfort. Forcing any yoga pose can lead to an injury and the advanced level of the monkey pose is no different.
  • With regular practice, you should be able to execute the split all the way, however, as you practice, only go as deep into the pose as your body comfortably allows you to.

Monkey Pose Recap:

Even those who practice yoga regularly may find it difficult to perform the monkey pose during the first few times of trying this pose.

It is always best to learn this pose from a qualified yoga teacher who can guide you on the right posture and how to correctly align your body during Hanumanasana.

Additionally, in order to reduce the risks of injury, make sure that you warm up your legs thoroughly before you try to execute this pose.

Beginner’s Tip:

A beginner’s tip for the monkey pose is to press your back foot firmly into the floor and lift your shoulder blades into your back. This will help you increase the length of your torso and spine while performing the pose.

Beginners can also practice the monkey pose by placing a blanket under the knees and ankles. Make sure to avoid using a sticky mat as it will keep you from sliding forward comfortably.

Quick FAQs

1. What is the monkey pose in yoga?

The monkey pose, also known as the split, essentially requires you to perform a split with your legs. This pose is beneficial for your legs, abs, and hip region.

Updated by Siya Rajan on 06/05/2018

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