why hanumanasana | monkey pose
As bipedal animals we are balanced and moving over our two legs, rather than the all-fours orientation of our fellow mammals. But due to our propensity to sit in chairs, the hamstrings tighten over time and produce strains across the back body, shortening our gait. As our practice of Hanumanasana deepens, we open and tone the muscles of the groin, hamstrings, abductors and thighs. The resulting stability to the pelvis and sacroiliac joint allows our backs to strengthen and lift the torso powerfully off the hips to experience more lift through our hearts (Anahata Chakra).When I am walking around in the world and allow a deep, full breath to pulse with my step, a strong fluidity can come to my movements. Between steps there is a moment of suspension - I am flying through space. The simple act of walking becomes a meditation, and I am more awake to the world around me.
Start by kneeling on the floor. Place one leg forward and allow the upper body to fold forward over the leg. If the hamstrings are tight, blocks can be placed under the hands for support. Keeping the hips squared forward, spend time opening the hamstrings of the extended leg. In time, you will be able to work the front leg further forward, dropping the groin closer to the mat. A block or bolster can support the groin (block shown) to pause above the floor. Care should be taken if you have groin or hamstring injuries.As you drop deeper and deeper into this split, there is the tendency to lose the square in the hips. Care should be taken to keep the hip of the back leg moving down and forward, and the hip of the front leg moving back. The knee joints are pointing up on the front leg, and down on the back leg. Proper alignment can produce relief and healing for those suffering from sciatica.