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Splits (Monkey) Yoga Pose – Hanumanasana

the yogic splits are called monkey pose

Hanumanasana

[ha-new-mahn-AHS-anna]

Hanuman means monkey god. Monkeys symbolize mischief, humanity, mimicry, benevolence, cunning, curiosity, keen wittedness, and cleverness.

In the Ramayana (a classic yogic text), Hanuman takes a giant leap across the ocean between India and Sri Lanka to rescue the princess Sita. Hanuman is courageous, mischievous and agile and does not waste a moment when he hears that Princess Sita is in trouble.The gods and goddesses of yoga are only aspects of ourselves there to remind us of our own divinity. Hanuman represents the hero within each and every one of us.

Benefits of Monkey or Splits

  • Strengthens the deep gluteal muscles and balances them, preventing and improving sciatica.
  • Stretches and balances the hip flexors, preventing and improving lower back pain.
  • Tones the muscles of the waist, especially your deeper abdominal muscles and your obliques.

Contraindications

  • People with low back, hip, knee or foot pain may need to start with modifications.
  • People with inguinal hernia (protrusion of the abdominal cavity contents through the inguinal canal in the groin) should avoid this pose.

Step-by-Step

  • Start with your feet together and your toes touching.
  • Exhale into a forward fold. Place both hands on either side of the feet.
  • Slide your left foot back, coming into horse pose with the back knee down on the mat. Bring a chip foam block underneath your back knee.
  • Straighten your right leg and flex the ankle.
  • Hinge from your hip crease and interlace your hands on your right thigh.
  • If this is already a deep stretch, stay here and enjoy the stretch. For a deeper stretch, slide your right heel forward and bring your hands to either side of your front foot.
  • Safety note: To avoid injury in your lower back, it is important to slide the heel as far forward as possible before bringing your hands down on either side of your front foot.
  • Curl the toes of your back foot under or bring the top of your back foot flat with your toes pointing behind you.
  • Feel the dynamic of the legs working in opposition.
  • Make sure the pelvis is square.
  • Press into your hands and draw your right foot back until the sole of the right foot is flat on the floor.
  • Curl the toes of your left foot under. Raise the left knee up, coming back into horse pose.
  • Step the left foot forward, coming into a forward fold.
  • Roll up into mountain pose.

Preparatory Poses

Counter Poses

yoga splits variation