Hanumanasana/Purna Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose/Full Monkey Pose)

English Name(s)
Hanumanasana / Purna Hanumanasana, Monkey Pose/Full Monkey Pose
Sanskrit
हनुमानासन / पूर्णहनुमानासन/ Hanumanāsana
Pronunciation
hah-new-MAHN-AHS-anna
Meaning
Hanuman: “Lord Hanuman”
purna: “full”
asana: “pose”

Introduction

Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna) and Purna Hanumanasana (pur-nah hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna) sometimes also referred to as Splits Pose stretch and strengthen the muscles in the thighs, hamstrings and groin. Over time this pose also helps the hips become more flexible. The abdominal organs are stimulated, improving how they function.

In Purna Hanumanasana the arms are extended by the ears (in Hanumanasana the hands are on the mat); this provides a gentle back extension and chest opener. The lungs and chest are expanded and the arms and shoulders are strengthened and stretched.

Hanumanasana is an advanced pose that requires a lot of flexibility in the hips and hamstrings. Hanuman is one of the most beloved deities in Hinduism, renowned for his loyalty to Rama and his devotion to dharma. He is an epitome of Bhakti Yoga as well. Hanumanasana symbolizes Hanuman’s leap across the ocean from India toward Sri Lanka to find Sita while being chased by Ravana (the Demon King). Hanumanasana can be translated as Monkey Pose or Full Monkey Pose because it resembles Hanumans’ legs during this leap. It encourages the full expression of your body which helps you develop courage on both physical and psychological levels.

A study published in International Journal for Life Sciences and Educational Research Vol. 2(3), pp. 89 – 96, July – 2014 was the first of its kind to show that perceptual training and yoga can improve preadolescent basketball players’ hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity as well as speed dribble.

Muscle Focus

Splits Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Hip opening (Glutes)
  • Quads
  • Groin (Pelvic muscles)
  • Inner thighs (Adductors)
  • spine muscles (Spine Extensors)
  • Hamstrings

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • It helps to relieve tensions from the hip joint.
  • It releases muscles around the hip joint.
  • Hanumanasana also relieves Sciatica.
  • Increases (Range of Motion) ROM.
  • Prevents the risks of getting an injury.

Benefits of Hanumanasana/Purna Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose/Full Monkey Pose)

1.  Increases Range of Motion

Practicing Hanumansana is a great way of increasing the range of motion and improving your flexibility. Hanumansana is an advanced posture with a lot of intense hip opening that stretches your groin, quads, inner thighs, and spine muscles.

2.  Practicing this Helps to Prevent Injuries

As it helps to increase your range of motion, especially in activities like walking, running, and skiing. Hanumansana also enhances the flexibility of your feet which makes it easier for you to move around.

3. Improves Digestion

Hanumanasana has a number of health benefits on our body because it stimulates the abdominal organs. Hanumanasana stimulates digestion by enhancing stomach acid production and increasing peristalsis (the wavelike muscle contractions that push food through the digestive tract). Hanumanasana also increases circulation in this area which brings fresh blood into these organs helping them function properly while carrying away toxins from these organs. Hanumansana is one of yoga’s most effective poses for stimulating internal organs as well as relieving constipation.

4. Tones Abdominal Organs

Hanumanasana is also beneficial for abdominal organs as it tones and stimulates them. Hanumanasana helps to improve the function of the digestive system and reproductive organs while toning these organs. This posture also strengthens the back muscles which give support to these organs.

5. Develops Courage

By doing Hanumanasana, you stretch the front and back of your legs, which mimics the movements you do in other activities including walking, running, cycling, and skiing. These stretches help develop courage on both physical and psychological levels by opening up our body fully and helping us face our fears head-on. As we open up more fully into this pose we learn to surrender ourselves completely to the experience, developing trust in our abilities and ourselves.

6.  Stimulates Reproductive and Digestive Organs

Hanumanasana has a number of benefits for our reproductive and digestive organs. This posture tones and stimulates the abdominal organs while enhancing their function. Hanumansana is one of yoga’s most effective poses for stimulating internal organs as well as relieving constipation. In addition, Hanumanasana helps to improve fertility in both men and women by increasing blood flow to these areas.

7. It Helps in Sciatica

Hanumanasana is also beneficial for people who are suffering from sciatica. This posture stretches the hamstrings and hips which helps to relieve the pain caused by sciatica.

8. It Helps in Leg Cramps

Hanumanasana can help prevent leg cramps by stretching the muscles in the legs. Hanumansana is a great pose to do before bedtime as it can help relax the muscles and prevent leg cramps from occurring during sleep.

9. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Hanumanasana has a number of psychological benefits that include reducing stress and anxiety levels. This posture opens up our body fully, helping us to connect with our inner selves while releasing any pent-up emotions or stress we may be carrying around.

10.  It Cures Tightness Caused in the Groin Area

Hanumanasana is helpful for relieving any tightness caused by sitting all day or performing repetitive tasks. Hanumansana opens up the muscles in your legs and hips while stretching them out, which helps to relieve stiffness and tension in these areas. Hanumanasana also stretches the back of your leg, providing relief from sciatica pain caused by sitting too long at work.

11.  It Strengthens Quadriceps Muscles

Hanumanasana can help strengthen quadriceps muscles as this pose involves a lot of intense hip opening that stretches quads. This posture also enhances flexibility in feet which makes it easier for you to move around during activities like walking, running, and skiing without causing injury due to lack of mobility.

Contraindications

Avoid Hanumanasana if you have groin or hamstring injuries. Those with chronic shoulder injuries should avoid Purna Hanumanasana. Do not force this pose and modify with bolsters and preparatory poses as needed.

Variations

  • Half Hanuman Pose
  • Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

Preparatory Pose

  • Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
  • Anjaneyasana II (Double Lunge Pose)
  • Virabhadrasana I (Warrior-I)

Beginner’s Tips

  • When coming into Hanumanasana/Splits Pose, try to keep your spine as long as possible by lifting up from the tailbone.
  • Remember to maintain equal weight on both feet and ensure that your front knee is directly over the ankle while in the pose.
  • If you find it challenging to balance in this pose, practice with your hands against a wall for support.
  • For an easier variation of Hanumanasana/Splits Pose, come into Child’s pose (Balasana) after releasing Step Five. This will help rest and rejuvenate your body before moving on to another posture.
  • Hanumanasa or Splits Pose is one of the most advanced yoga poses which needs lots of patience

How to do Splits or Monkey Pose

The steps involved in practicing Hanumanasana are given below:

  • Step One – Come to the Lunge Pose, by bending your front knee and making sure that it is over the ankle. Place your hands on either side of this bent leg, to help you balance.
  • Step Two – Bring your back foot forward so as to maintain hip squaring. Lengthen the spine by lifting from the tailbone towards the sky with each inhalation and lower down towards earth during exhalations; repeat this for about five breaths or until you feel ready to move into Hanumasana/Splits Pose.
  • Step Three – Slowly release both legs straight while keeping them parallel (one in front of another).
  • Step Four – First, straighten your front leg then shift your body a little forward to observe the stretches in the front leg. Make sure to practice this pose as per your capacity.
  • Step Five – Now, slowly shift your body backward to engage hip flexors/front and back thigh muscles in both legs; hold this position for a few breaths taking longer inhales and exhales as you feel comfortable.
  • Step Six – Gently release Hanumanasana/Splits Pose by bending your knees with an exhalation then lift up into Warrior I pose on each side before coming out of the lunge pose.

Mental Benefits of Monkey Pose

  • Releases mental tension and stress.
  • Focus & Concentration.
  • Relieves anxiety.

Bottom Line

So Hanumanasana is a pose that can offer us many benefits physically, emotionally, and mentally. It encourages the full expression of our body which helps us develop courage on both physical and psychological levels while stimulating abdominal organs and toning them. Hanumanasana also increases range of motion and flexibility making it easier for us to move around in our daily lives. If you are looking to improve your digestion, increase circulation or simply gain some courage in your life, then Hanumanasana may be the perfect pose for you!

1 sources
  1. http://unitedlifejournals.in/ms_files/ijlser/MSS06-Vol-2-Iss-3-JULY-2014-JULY_Effect_of_perceptual_skill.pdf
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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