Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Hanumanasana Mean?

Hanumanasana is an advanced seated asana that requires lots of flexibility in the hips, groin and legs — particularly the hamstrings and quadriceps. The name comes from the name of the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman; and asana, meaning “pose.” This asana is named as such because it represents the leap Hanuman made from the southern tip of India, as described in the epic poem, "Ramayama."

In the fullest expression of this asana, the legs are in a full split position, with one leg extended in front of the torso and the other behind the torso. The hands and arms may be placed on the ground on either side of the body, in prayer position (anjali mudra) or stretched to the sky.

Hanumanasana is also known in English as monkey pose, seated splits or splits.



Yogapedia Explains Hanumanasana

Traditionally, Hanumanasana is believed to stimulate both the muladhara (root) and svadhisthana (spleen or sacral) chakras. Opening the muladhara through Hanumanasana grounds the individual, providing the inner stability needed for personal growth. The svadhisthana is the center of creativity, pleasure and enjoyment. Opening this chakra promotes focus, productivity and inner acceptance.

This asana symbolizes taking a leap of faith as Hanuman did in service to Lord Rama when his true love was held captive in what is now Sri Lanka. Hanuman leaped to the Lankan Islands to locate her and spy on her captors. When performing this asana, one should meditate on overcoming hurdles.

Because this is such a challenging asana, preparatory poses are essential. Asanas that would be beneficial in preparation for hanumanasana include: paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), janu sirsasana (head-to-knee forward bend), prasarita padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward bend), supta vajrasana (supine thunderbolt pose) and supta padangusthasana (reclining hand-to-big-toe pose).

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