Updated: Jul 11, 2020
By Allison Ray Jeraci
Photo by Andrea Killam
Hanumanasana is a full split named for the monkey god, Hanuman. In the epic The Ramayana, Hanuman is introduced as an energetic and playful child, later becoming known for his great devotion and heroic leaps.
Hanumanasana is meant to resemble Hanuman’s leap—and when it comes to this pose, there is no monkeying around. Hanumanasana asks of the practitioner both strength and flexibility, in order to split the legs front to back while balancing the torso vertically over the pelvis.
When approaching hanumanasana, we may be inclined to take an all-or-nothing approach. We may think Either I can do the splits or I can’t, not realizing the many variations and possibilities that lie between the extremes of “full splits” and “no splits.” After all, splits can be intimidating to many yoga students, particularly if they feel limited by either tight hamstrings or (as was the case for me) tight hip flexors.