Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana)

Monkey Pose is named after the monkey god of Hindu mythology, Hanuman, hence the Sanskrit name Hanumanasana.

The posture displays extreme flexibility in the form of a split, which is reminiscent of gymnastics.

There is, however, a story behind the pose. It is from the tale of the Ramayana, in which Hanuman jumps across the Indian Ocean to save Prince Rama’s true love, Sita, who had been captured and taken to the island of Sri Lanka. He leaps across the ocean in this position.

This posture requires a great deal of flexibility in the hamstrings and hip flexors. It is an intermediate asana and it is necessary to warm up all of the appropriate muscle groups before attempting it.

Monkey Pose is typically performed after standing postures, but before seated postures, in the middle of a practice.

There are many ways to modify this posture to make it accessible to all levels. Time, dedication, and faith are required to master this powerful asana!

It is better to practice this pose on bare floor rather than your sticky mat, because there is some sliding action required.

Unless you’re an experienced and very flexible yogi you may want to use two blocks to support you while getting/sliding into the “split” position.

How to Do Monkey Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

First, you will start in Half Monkey Pose. From a low lunge with the right leg forward, lean back on the left knee until the right leg straightens.

(Optional modification: Place your two blocks on either side of your leg here)

Step 2

Place your hands on the floor (or on your blocks) and begin to slide the front foot forward. You may find a place where the action stops before your hips reach the floor; that’s okay!

(You can stay right here, or place a block underneath your hips for support. This will help you get deeper into the pose and allow you to stay there for longer without straining.)

Step 3

Hold for 5-10 breaths on each side. To come out of the pose, squeeze the inner thighs toward the center and lift the hips back up.

Monkey Pose Benefits

  • Stretches groin, hamstrings, inner thighs, quadriceps, and abdomen
  • Develops patience, persistence, and faith in oneself
  • Improved Body Awareness