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Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose): Benefits, Steps & Modifications

A pose that symbolizes the powerful leap of the mighty monkey god Hanuman. Are you ready to leap into the world of flexibility, strength, and self-discovery? Buckle up and let's swing into Hanumanasana together!

Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

Imagine channeling the spirit of Hanuman, who famously leaped across an ocean to rescue Sita in the epic Ramayana. Hanumanasana is an homage to his incredible feat—a posture that mirrors his expansive leap. It's a deep and graceful split, resembling the jump of a monkey in full stride.

"Hanuman" pays homage to the monkey deity from Hindu mythology, while "asana" translates to pose. It's pronounced as "hah-NOO-mahn-AHS-uh-nuh." As you say it, you can almost feel the energy and enthusiasm that Hanuman brings to the practice.

This pose is a beautiful symphony of muscles. Your hip flexors and hamstrings are the stars here, providing the flexibility needed for the split. Your quadriceps work to straighten your front leg, and your core plays a role in keeping you balanced and steady.

How to Perform Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

  1. Start Small: Begin in a lunge position with your right foot forward.

  2. Slide and Stretch: Slowly slide your right foot forward as you straighten your leg. The left leg extends back.

  3. Square Your Hips: Square your hips to the front of your mat. Imagine your pelvis as a bowl that's level.

  4. Slow and Steady: Gently ease into the stretch, inch by inch, keeping both legs active.

  5. Engage Core: Activate your core muscles to support your spine and maintain balance.

  6. Hands for Support: Place your hands on the floor beside your hips for balance. You can also use blocks.

  7. Breathe Deep: Take slow, deep breaths as you sink into the pose.

  8. Repeat the Other Side: Gradually release and switch to the other leg.

Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

When to Do It

Hanumanasana is like a journey—you don't rush it. It's a great pose to practice when your body is warm. So, consider it as part of your dynamic practice or after a good warm-up.

Preparatory Poses

Get your hips and hamstrings ready with poses like lunges, hamstring stretches, and hip-opening postures. These set the stage for the grand leap into Hanumanasana.

Follow-Up Poses

After exploring the depths of Hanumanasana, show your body some love with poses that provide balance, like gentle twists and forward bends.

Chakra Connection

This pose aligns with the Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana), the energy center of creativity and emotions. As you open your hips and dive into the pose, you're stirring the energy of this chakra.

Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)

Mantra for This Pose

Whisper this mantra as you stretch:

"I embrace the leap of courage and strength within me."

Alignment Cues

  • Keep both hips squared to the front.

  • Flex both feet for an even stretch.

  • Engage your core to protect your lower back.

  • Soften your facial expression—no monkey business here!

Duration of Hold and Drishti

Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths on each side. Your drishti (gaze) can be either forward or upwards, whichever helps you find your balance.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Feel the sensation in your muscles and breathe into it. Allow this pose to remind you of your capacity to leap into the unknown with courage.

Beginners' Tips

If Hanumanasana feels light-years away, don't fret. Use props like blocks under your hands or a cushion under your hips to make it accessible.

Who Should Not Do It

If you have a groin or hamstring injury, approach this pose cautiously. Pregnant yogis should also explore this pose with care.

Who Should Do It

Curious souls who want to explore their boundaries—physically and mentally—should give Hanumanasana a shot. It's a symbol of resilience and strength.

Benefits of Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

  • Increases flexibility in hips and hamstrings.

  • Enhances hip mobility.

  • Builds core strength and stability.

  • Cultivates patience and mental focus.

  • Symbolizes courage to take leaps in life.

Variations of Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

As you become more comfortable in the pose, you can explore these variations:

Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Monkey Pose)

Picture Hanuman's epic leap, then dial it down a notch—that's Ardha Hanumanasana. "Ardha" means half, and "Hanumanasana" is that energetic leap named after the monkey god. As you extend your front leg, you're wooing your hamstrings, hips, and calf muscles.

Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Monkey Pose)

How to Perform Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Monkey Pose)

  1. Lunge Start: Begin in a lunge with your right foot ahead and left foot back.

  2. Slide and Glide: Slowly slide your hips back, straightening the right leg. Left leg stays extended.

  3. Foot Flex Love: Flex your right foot and let the heel cozy up to the earth.

  4. Lean and Learn: Gently lean forward from your hips, feeling the stretch along your hamstrings.

  5. Balancing Act: Keep both hands on the floor to maintain your balance.

  6. Breathe and Ease: With every breath, ease a bit deeper into the stretch.

  7. Curiosity Pause: Hang out there, enjoy the sensation, and breathe.

  8. Switch Dance: Release, switch sides, and let your other leg take the spotlight.

Monkey Pose Forward Bend

"Monkey Pose Forward Bend" is quite the mouthful, so let's call it "Hanumanasana." Imagine Hanuman's mighty leap—you're channeling that energy into your own practice. With this pose, you're giving your hamstrings and hips some well-deserved TLC.

Monkey Pose Forward Bend

How to Perform Monkey Pose Forward Bend

  1. Lunge Launch: Begin in a lunge with your right foot forward and left foot back.

  2. Stretch and Extend: Slowly glide your hips back, straightening your right leg. Left leg reaches behind.

  3. Flex Power: Flex your right foot and let that heel hug the earth.

  4. Lean and Breathe: Gently lean forward from your hips, feeling the gentle tug along your hamstrings.

  5. Balancing Act: Keep your hands rooted on the ground for stability.

  6. Breathe and Surrender: With every breath, surrender a bit more into the stretch.

  7. Pause and Feel: Hang out in the pose, feeling the sensations unfold.

  8. Switch and Flow: Release, switch sides, and let your left leg have its moment in the spotlight.

Modifications for Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

Hanumanasana, the mighty Monkey Pose, might seem like a big leap, but fear not—modifications are your trusty companions on this journey. Let's explore some clever tweaks to make this pose work for you.

1. Cushion Comfort: If your hips need a little extra love, slide a cushion or folded blanket under your front hip. This provides support and lets you ease into the stretch.

2. Prop Up Placing yoga blocks under your hands can be a game-changer. They bring the floor closer and allow you to find your balance without sinking too low.

3. Wall Wonder: Facing a wall? Use it to your advantage! Plant your hands on the wall as you slide into the split. This offers stability and helps you adjust your distance from the wall.

4. Loop It: Loop a strap around your front foot and hold the ends with your hands. This way, you can pull gently to guide your leg forward without straining.

5. High Lunge: Begin in a high lunge instead of a full split. This gives your hips a taste of the stretch without diving in.

6. Supported Splits: Sit on the edge of a cushion or block and let one leg extend forward. It's a gentler way to ease into the hip-opening goodness.

7. Lean on a Wall: Stand beside a wall and place your hands on it as you slide into the split. This extra support can give you the confidence to explore the pose.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Don't let your hips twist sideways—keep them squared. Also, resist the urge to hunch your shoulders; instead, keep your upper body upright and open.

Safety and Precautions

Listen to your body. If you feel sharp pain, back off. Remember that flexibility takes time, so be patient and gentle with yourself.

Additional Preparation Tips

  • Direction to Face: While practicing Hanumanasana, face east—the direction of new beginnings and possibilities.

  • What to Wear: Opt for comfy clothing that allows movement. Think of it as dressing for your personal leap!

  • Suitable Place and Essential Oil: Choose a quiet space that allows you to focus. Consider using invigorating essential oils like eucalyptus to enhance your practice.

  • Music for This Pose: Select music that resonates with your sense of adventure. Whether it's soothing or upbeat, let it guide your journey.

Get ready to leap, yogis! Hanumanasana isn't just a physical stretch; it's a metaphor for the leaps of faith we take in life. Embrace your inner Hanuman and let the spirit of courage and determination guide your practice on and off the mat.

Happy yoga-ing, everyone!


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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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