Ardha Hanumanasana, also known as Half Monkey Pose or Half Splits Pose, is a deep stretching pose for the hamstrings and a warm-up pose for the Full Splits Pose.
The Half Splits Pose is more approachable than Purna Hanumanasana (Full Monkey Pose) and strengthens the muscles needed to safely practice the front split with the right muscles engaged.
|Known as:||Ardha Hanumanasana, Half Monkey Pose, Half Splits Pose, Reverse Lunge Pose, Runner’s lunge|
|Sanskrit name:||अर्द्ध हनुमानासन|
|Type:||Forward Bend, Hip Opener, Balancing|
|Focus:||Calves, Glutes, Hip Flexors, Hamstrings, Knees, Spine|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds|
|Drishti:||Tip of the toes (Padayoragre)|
|Chakra:||Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra|
|Indications:||Abdominal muscles, digestion, hamstring|
|Counterposes:||Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)|
|Preparatory poses:||Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose), Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose), Paschimottanasana (Intense Dorsal Stretch)|
|Follow-up poses:||Utthita hasta padangusthasana (Extended hand-to-big-toe pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose), Upavistha konasana (Wide-angle seated forward bend pose)|
|Contraindications:||Slip disc issues, internal organs, groin, or low back Injury, hamstrings, hips, pelvic floor muscles, knees, ankle, neck or lower back issues|
The Ardha Hanumanasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of three words — Ardha + Hanuman + Asana:
- “Ardha” = “Half”
- “Hanuman” = “Monkey or The monkey god”
- “Asana” = “Pose or Posture”
One of the main characters of the Ramayana is Hanuman, the famous monkey god, a devotee of Lord Rama and the son of Vayu (the wind god). He is celebrated in the Hanumanasana pose, which physically represents his famous “leap of faith”, which takes him across the ocean from India to Sri Lanka.
Ardha Hanumanasana, the initial pose for Hanumanasana, may represent the stability and strength needed to make grand, world-changing (or life-changing) gestures. Instead of just focusing on gaining flexibility, practice this asana to strike a healthy balance of flexibility and strength.
When practicing Ardha Hanumanasana, remind yourself of the dangers of being just flexible in life; To really get where you want to go, you also need to be strong and stable.
Benefits of Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Monkey Pose)
The physical and mental benefits of this yoga pose are listed below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Mental Benefits:
- Calms the mind
- Reduces stress
- Improves focus and concentration
Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Monkey Pose) Practice Guide
- Begin in a lunge with the right foot forward and the back knee on the floor.
- Shift hips back to stack over left knee, and straighten front leg at a point where you feel a stretch, but not a stretch.
- Flex the right toes toward the face so that the sole of the foot lifts off the mat. Place hands directly under shoulders, either on the floor or on blocks. Keep the length in the spine on both the front and back.
- Keep the right knee straight overhead, and engage the quadriceps, with at least a small bend behind the knee to prevent hyperextension.
- Press down through fingers to maintain length in torso and engage muscles in abs.
- Begin moving the hands towards the feet to deepen the stretch. As you work the pose, focus on pulling the pinky toe of the right foot back toward the face and pressing the ball of the foot just below the big toe.
- Stay in the pose for 30 to 60 seconds before bending the front knee and returning to the lunge.
- Repeat the process on the other side.
Pay attention to the sitting bone
Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits Pose) is a hamstring stretch primarily for your front leg. Since the hamstrings originate from your sit bone, it should be the focus area in the pose. To get the most out of Half Monkey Pose, consciously push the sit bone of your front leg back. To do this, externally rotate the thigh of your front leg (don’t be afraid to use the hands here!) and push your hip bone back.
Tilt the pelvis forward
Every forward fold pose is also a slight backbend. This means you want to tilt the pelvis forward to create a slight ducktail. Typically, the hamstrings will prevent you from tilting your pelvis. Therefore, a slight bend in the knee of your front leg will give you more movement in your pelvis and will allow you to deepen the front fold.
Keep shoulders steady
With so much focus on the hamstrings and hips, it is easy to neglect the upper body. However, you don’t want to drop into the shoulders or passively hang in the shoulder girdle. Therefore, actively push the hands or fingers into the mat to lift the sternum. Instead of letting your shoulder blades fall forward, pull them back. If you can’t reach the floor comfortably, place blocks under your hands.
Modifications and variations
- Keep your hands on the blocks, not on the ground. This way, it will be easier to keep the upper body straight and the shoulders open. As a result, you will have more freedom to tilt your pelvis forward.
- Keep the front knee bent to avoid over-stretching your hamstrings. Remember that a pose is not how it looks but how it feels. If you feel a nice and juicy hamstring stretch, even when your knee is bent, this is the perfect body alignment for now.
- If your hamstring stretch is enough for you, go a little easier on the front side. You can leave the torso completely straight instead of leaning forward. This way, you can focus more on the pelvis and hamstrings.
- For a very deep forward twist, tuck your belly into your thigh. Walk your hands forward until your arms are fully extended. It will also deepen the hamstring stretch.
- If you’re ready for a challenging your leg and core workout, lift the front heel of the floor and keep it lifted for a few breaths.
- Another similar challenging variation is to raise the arms and straighten them behind you, like in an airplane.
- The next level of Reverse Lunge Pose will be its full expression Hanumanasana.
Precautions and contraindications
The practicing of Ardha Hanumanasana (Reverse Lunge Pose) comes with certain precautions and contraindications, which are explained below:
Individuals who have problems with the hips, hamstrings, pelvic floor muscles, knees, ankles, neck or lower back should take it easy. If these issues are either related to an injury to the above areas or to general tightness of the same.
Leaning forward is good for the lower back and abdominal region, but if one is suffering from a slipped disc, or has an injury to the internal organs, then, it is a contraindication, so it is best to avoid it.
For individuals with tight hamstrings and lower back muscles, or by women during pregnancy, the use of a block on it before the practice of Half Monkey Pose (Half Splits Pose) may be good.
People suffering from blood pressure should practice and practice it comfortably under the guidance of a yoga teacher/instructor.
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