Hanuman Asana

Kula Journal, Hanuman Asana, Yoga With Durgaya

Leaping Hanuman

Hanuman Asana is not only a deep stretch that will give you greater mobility though out your legs and lower back: it has a great name. Hanuman is a powerful monkey God immortalized in ancient Hindu scriptures, such as the Ramayana. As a child he played mischievously with the Sun and as punishment was only able to know his powers when he truly needed them. His form is often portrayed leaping through the air with a weapon and an open heart. This leap symbolizes his jump from land to island in a successful attempt to save the life of the beautiful Sita. Hanuman is the embodiment of devotion and all his deeds were done in service to his beloved Rama. I choose this pose to be in my logo, not only for the physical benefits the pose offers, but also because this pose symbolizes that leap in his life. With a mindful intention we can use it to symbolizes our own epic Journey’s.

This is one of my students, Laura. Ever since she has started to come to my classes we have worked on opening the inside of her thighs. These are some of the poses that she has found the most helpful along the way.

Begin every practice by sitting in a comfortable seat either on a pillow, on your yoga mat or even on a chair. From here use the breath to scan the body. Notice if your breathing is faster than normal, notice if your breath feels shallow, just notice your breath and when you are ready, begin to deepen and slow your breathing. Bring your energy in and recommit to your intention for your practice. It’s okay if it takes you a while to feel grounded, it will be easier at the end of your practice.



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Bound Angle


Bound Angle: {Buddha Konasana} Sit with the bottom part of your feet together and spine up long. With your feet flexed press your two big toe mounds together and keep your feet engaged. Press the knife-edge of your feet into the mat and allow your ankles to be even on all four sides. If your knees are above your hips then elevate you hips with a blanket or two, and your lower back will start to release tension in the pose. If your legs and feet are engaged and your thighs touch the mat then begin to lean forward holding engagement in your legs to protect you knees and open you hips.



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Extended Head to Knee Pose


Extended Head to Knee: {Janu Sirsasana}Extend out through your left leg and bring your right leg into your upper thigh. Flex both feet, pressing the knife-edge of your right foot into the mat and aligning your second and third toe of your extended leg with your ankle. If your left ankle comes off the mat there is a good chance you are hyper extending your ankle. In this case engage your leg and slightly bend your knee. Inhale both hands up and exhale as you fold over your extended leg. When folding forward lead with the center of your chest to keep your heart open and your shoulders plugged into your back. Switch and move to the other side after a few breathes here.


Wide knee cat cow: Come into hands and knees pose. Bring your hands one hands length in front of your shoulders and your wrists parallel to the front of the mat. Bring your knees wide and feet together. On the inhale bend your spins towards the mat, fill your belly with breath and open the front of the throat mimicking a cow. On your exhale bring your abdomen up and in and reach the back of your spine towards the ceiling mimicking an angry cat.


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Modified Cresent Pose


Modified crescent pose: From a modified lunge (back knee on the mat with your back toes curled under) engage the muscles around your thighs and hips. Bring both hands to your front knee and take a breath that expands your ribcage in every direction. Feel the breath expand through your lower back. From this place of awareness point your tailbone towards the earth and bring your hips forward. This stretch should open the front of your thighs. To bring your arms into the pose, reach your arms up and plug engaging your arms from the shoulder blades to the tips of your fingers. Separate each finger and press through the bottom tips of the shoulder blades and the back of your head.



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Baby Hanuman Asana



Baby Hanuman Asana: From lunge drop your back knee and keep your back toes turned under. Engage your legs as if you were flexing your muscles from your toes all the way up to your hips. Straighten your front leg, press your heel into the mat and press through the ball of your front foot. Keep your toes pointing up (middle toes inline with you ankle) and separate each toe to protect your knee from hyper extending. Bring your hands to the mat on either side of you or place your hands on a yoga block underneath your calf and fold forward into a hamstring stretch.




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Wide Angle Forward Fold


Wide-angle forward fold: {Prasarita Padottanasana} With your feet about as long as a lunge, ground through both heels bringing your feet parallel to each other. Bend your knees and engage your thighs, feet and shins. With this engagement through your legs straighten your legs and lengthen through your hamstrings. When your legs are engaged (or flexed) it will be easier to protect your hamstrings from tearing and your knees from hyper extending (or locking). To lean forward into your stretch, place your hands on the mat or a block. Work on scooping your tailbone so it points down instead of straight behind you, and bring the lowest part of your abdomen up and in.



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Intense Side Stretch



Intense Side Stretch: {Parsvottanasana} From Lunge pose work towards straightening your front leg. While pressing through all four corners of your front foot, continue to bring the insides of your thighs back and apart through muscular engagement. Keep your hips on an even plain (not shifting out to one side) and continue to hug your muscles in from every direction. To protect your front knee, work your kneecap inline with your ankle.



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Lizard Pose



Lizard: Come to the inside of your lunge and place your back knee on the mat. Bring your hands or forearms to, or towards the mat as you scoop your tailbone and bring your hips forward. Keep the inside of your back thigh high and maybe even lift your back knee off of the mat. Keep your hips on an even plain and your legs strong. To modify this pose bring your forearms onto a yoga block.



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Standing Split


Standing Split: {Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana} From lunge pose, engage your back leg and foot as you bring your weight into your front foot. Place your fingertips about six inches ahead of you, either on the mat or on a yoga block. Keeping your back foot and leg strong lift your back leg off of the mat. You can open your hip to get height but then work your hips towards an even plain leading with the inside of your lifted thigh. Keep your stomach strong and create enough space between your abdomen and the front of your thighs to hold a rolled up yoga mat. This space and core engagement will keep you from tightening the front of your hips.



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Pigeon Pose


Pigeon: Flex your right foot and bring the knife-edge of that foot behind your left hand. Press through your big your ankle even on all four sides (this will protect your knee). Keep your back toes curled under and stay strong in your inner thighs as you bring your hips down, on an even plain. This is deep groin stretch as well as a stretch for the outside of your front leg. Hug the mat from all directions, keeping your back foot and your front shin engaged energetically pull them towards each other as if you could crumple up your yoga mat like a piece of paper. Keep your back leg hugging in towards the midline of your body and breath deeply into the pose for just a few breaths. To exit Pigeon safely press both hands into the mat and come back into Downward Facing Dog.



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Balancing Wide Angle


Balancing Wide Angle: Come back to bound angle pose and ground through your pelvis and sits bones. Bring your hands to your two big toes and begin to lift your heels. Stay engaged, flexing your legs as you work on lifting your feet into your hands and off the mat. Keeping your feet flexed work on bringing your shins parallel to the mat and maybe even opening to a full wide angle. Keep your breath even to help you balance. Bring your chin parallel to the mat and the front of your chest open.





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Seated Wide Angle


Seated Wide Angle: {Upavistha Konasana} Widen both legs and flex your feet. With your feet and knees pointing up bring your hands behind your hips for support as you continue to widen your legs. Press through the bottom tips of your shoulder blades and keep the top palate of your mouth raised as you move the center of your chest forward. If you feel open, bring your hands out in front of you. Press your finger pads into the mat and bring your elbows out to the side as you bring your shoulders closer to your spine and lengthen through the sides of your body. Consciously breath even inhales as you expand and exhales as you soften and move deeper into the pose. Place one hand under each knee to lift your legs out of the pose.



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Hanuman Asana


Hanuman Asana: Come back to your Baby Hanuman Asana, and deeply engage your legs from the tips of your toes all the way up the back of each hip. The action of this pose is different then the outside form. While you prepare to open deeper into this pose begin by hugging in from all directions. You will keep this balance of hugging and expansion to protect your hamstrings in this pose. Keep your back foot curled under and press though your back heel and big toe mound, engaging your calf muscle. Work your pinky toe (this helps keep your shins engaged) and press your front heel into the mat and press through your big toe mound as you move your front leg forward. Keep your hips inline with each other and your front toes and knee pointing towards the ceiling.





End each series of poses with stillness. In seated or lying on your mat. Begin by connecting back into your breath. Allow your breath to flow in and out of your nostrils with out any extra effort. Bring your awareness to the rhythm of your breath as your focus turns towards the rise and fall of your chest. Ask your thoughts to come slower as you spend your last few moments of your practice in deep relaxation. Connect back into your intention and remember you may not know your own powers until you truly need them.


Love & Gratitude


Kula Journal, Intuitively Charged Yoga, Durgaya Palmieri

About Durgaya Palmieri

Durgaya Palmieri is the creator and yoga instructor behind Kula Journal. Her love of yoga and community has lead her to the create KJ and to continue to seek out new contributors and readers who will enrich our yoga community with truly inspirational post, teachings and musings. Durgaya recently moved back to the spiritual community she grew up on, Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida. For a full bio check out Yoga With Durgaya's bio page.

7 Responses

  1. Rumor says:

    Holy sizhint, this is so cool thank you.

  2. Durgaya says:

    Thanks for the great comment Rumor! Check back next week for a full post about working our working edge with Side Plank variations. It offers a break down of my favorite variations from modified Side Plank to Vishvamitrasana. It’s a lot of fun!

  3. Pardon me, but I tried to email you about something on your blog but the given e-mail address did not work. Is there an alternate place I could contact you?