Friday, February 8, 2013

Hanumanasana or Split Pose

Sanskrit: Hanumanasana                                    Western Term: Split Pose

Origin of Word The pose’s name originated from the story of the hindu monkey God, Hanuman, leaping (in the shape of a split) to his love, the hindu Goddess, Lanka

“Hanumanasana” translates to “Monkey Pose.”

Type of Asana: Seated Pose

How To:
1.     Bring both hands down on the floor on either side of you and shift your right foot in front of the right knee (this okay on the knees because both hands are down). Drop your weight down through your pelvis, leaning slightly more into the front leg. This helps stretch the back left hip flexor.
2.     Inhale as you re-square your hips by lifting your front right leg back. Exhale as you lower down into YOUR version of a split. Wiggle your front right leg forward more, wiggle your back left leg further back.
3.     Pull your right hip back and left hip forward to ensure both hips are staying squared in the pose. Keep your front foot flexed and walk your hands back by your hips.
4.     Stay for 5-7 breaths. Be careful getting out of the pose, lifting up out of half split stretch or slowly bending both knees before coming into downward dog.
5.     Make sure you do both sides for an even amount of time, even if one side is not as open as the other! It’s okay if your legs flexibility isn’t perfectly balanced. Most peoples’ flexibility from side to side is not equal :)

Body Points:
*Keep front foot flexed
*Pull front leg back and back leg to the front to keep both hips squared
*Drop the weight of your hips down toward the ground

Emphasized Body Parts: hamstrings, hip flexors, abdomen, groins, chest, shoulders

Mental Achievements: mental maturity and surrender

An aid for beginners: kramas or levels of a pose give us yogis with various levels options. For any given pose, there are various levels of difficulty. This krama that I offer is for beginners to the pose:

-Ardha Hanumanasana or “Half Split” is a great variation for full hanumanasana or split. It focuses on stretching one leg, rather than both. It hits the back of the leg, hamstring area. To get into the pose, start kneeling, start by bringing your right leg in front of the left. Make sure you keep your left knee aligned under your left hip, and keep your right leg lengthened and straight in front of you. Flex the front foot strongly. Inhale into a flat back and exhale as you fold bringing your forehead toward your right shin. Stay for about 5 breaths.

-Make sure you do both sides for an equal amount of time.

-You can also use blocks to help you move down towards your full split pose.

For Advanced Yogis:
-Upon getting into your split pose, lift your arms up and bring hands together in a prayer. Drop your shoulder blades down your back. Bring your gaze up towards the sky and start to come into a backbend in your upper back while in your split pose. Stay for 5-7 breaths.

Chakra: 1st chakra, Muladhara chakra symbolized by a red four-petaled lotus. It is located at the base of your spine. Your first chakra helps you build your life upon a solid foundation.
-bija mantra or “seed sound” for 1st chakra poses like hanumanasana is “lam.” Repeat this word when in a first chakra pose and unlock the secrets of the earth.

Ancient Sanskirt Proverb: “Regular exercise gives you good health, longevity, strength, and happiness. Health is the biggest wealth. It is the key to every success.”

Element: Earth

Yogi Tune of the Week: "Rock on Hanuman" by MC Yogi

*Very therapeutic for yogis with sciatica
**Do not do if you have groin or hamstring injuries


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