Hanumanasana—the pose dedicated to Lord Hanuman—is quite possibly one of the most intimidating postures in the yoga practice. This asana requires lots of opening, acute understanding of body alignment, and a great deal of compassion.
Doing the splits may seem like an impossible dream for you, or it may feel like one of the easier asanas. Either way, there are lots of benefits to practicing this pose or working your way towards this pose on a regular basis. Here are my top five reasons to practice Hanumanasana.
1. Deeply Stretches the Thighs
Hanumanasana and any variation on the way to Hanumanasana requires some serious opening in both the hamstrings and the quadriceps. While you are hanging out in this pose, the hamstrings of your front leg will be getting a wicked stretch, and your back leg will be getting a slight quadriceps stretch.
No matter where you are on your way to fully expressing this pose, your legs will be getting the stretch of a lifetime. This is especially great if you ride a bike, walk, run, or generally use your legs a lot on a day-to-day basis.
2. Opens the Hip Flexors
The opening that is required for this pose means that you will be getting deep into your hip flexors. Generally speaking, most people have extremely tight hip flexors due to sitting in chairs all day, walking, running, and engaging these muscles without ever taking the time to mindfully stretch them out.
This pose offers one of the deepest openings for this area of the body, and will increase your range of motion faster than any other hip flexor-opening pose I know of when practiced regularly.
3. Deepens Body Awareness
This pose is one of the more challenging postures to get right when it comes to alignment. There are many areas in this pose where you are able to ‘cheat,’ so to speak.
For instance, I have very open hamstrings, so I was able to get my pelvis right down to the ground by circumnavigating the forward alignment of my hipbones, by accessing the openness in my legs. So I looked like I was doing the full pose, but I was actually just working around a tighter area of my body.
In this posture, you will be asked to be acutely aware of almost every muscle in your body which, when practiced mindfully over time, will help you to develop deep body awareness.
4. Develops Perseverance
For most of us—even the most flexible of us—this splits pose is not going to come on the first try. Achieving the correct alignment, the deep opening, and the core strength required to really ‘master’ this pose will take some time and some work.
I love this pose for developing the will of mind to stick with a difficult pose and see yourself through the desire to give up or cheat. This strength of mind can then be used in many other areas of your life. One of the many hidden benefits of asana!
5. Helps Develop Patience in the Practice
Finally, this pose is going to give you the gift of patience. There is really no rushing the body to open, and there is no forcing this pose to come any faster than it is going to come.
If you are ready to really develop some deep respect for your current abilities, for your current place in life, then this pose is for you. When you stick with this pose, you will be calling on your mind and heart to be soft and gentle, to be compassionate and kind to your body.
If this is not one of the greatest things asana has to offer, then I don’t know what is!
Do you practice this pose often? Are you intimidated by it? What other health benefits of Splits Pose do you know that isn’t on this list? I would love to hear what you think!