Hanumanasana can be a really intimidating pose for many people. Almost every time I do this pose in class, somebody laughs, as if to say “yeah right”.
So let’s demystify this one a bit. You don’t need to get all the way down to the floor (or even close) to get the full benefits of the pose. All we are really looking for is an equal stretch between the hamstring on the front leg, and the quad on the back leg.
The main thing to be aware of is that you don’t let the back hip rotate open too much. If it starts to open up (i.e. you begin to roll to the inside of the trailing foot), you’ve gone to far. A good way to start in this pose is to use blocks or folded up blankets under either your pelvis or front leg to give a little extra support.
To begin, come into a low lunge and place your hands on either side of the front leg. Try and keep a bit of an outward rotation of the front thigh to begin. Once you are settled here, begin to slide the trailing leg back so the front leg begins to straighten. Once you feel a nice stretch here, you can begin to slide the front leg forward, rotating it inward until the knee points straight up to the ceiling. Adjust the hands so you are stable and the torso is centered, giving an even stretch between front hamstring and back thigh.
Once you get over the initial intimidation of this pose, it’s one of the most rewarding and beneficial poses in yoga. For a sequences built around preparing for Full Splits, click here.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!