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Hanumanasana from 3/4 view
Hanuman sets Lanka on Fire, at Wat Phananchoeng, Ayutthaya

Hanumanasana (Sanskrit: हनुमानासन) or Monkey Pose[1] is a seated asana in modern yoga as exercise. It is the yoga version of the front splits.

Etymology and origins[edit]

The name comes from the Sanskrit words Hanuman (a divine entity in Hinduism who resembles a monkey) and asana (posture),[2] and commemorates the giant leap made by Hanuman to reach the Lankan islands from the mainland of India.[3]

The pose is not described in the medieval hatha yoga texts. It appears in the 20th century in diverse traditions of modern yoga, such as in Swami Yogesvarananda's 1970 First Steps to Higher Yoga (as Vikatasana),[4] in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga of Pattabhi Jois,[4] in Swami Satyananda Saraswati's 2003 Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha,[5] and in B. K. S. Iyengar's 1966 Light on Yoga.[6]


Hanumanasana is an advanced pose (rated 36 out of 64 by B. K. S. Iyengar). The pose is approached from a kneeling position, stretching one leg forwards, the other straight back, supporting the body on the hands until the full pose is mastered. The hands may then be placed in prayer position (Anjali Mudra). Finally the arms may be stretched above the head, the palms together. Iyengar states that to reach the full pose, one must make "several attempts each day" and be prepared to work at it for "a long time".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yoga Journal - Monkey Pose". Retrieved 2011-04-09.
  2. ^ Sinha, S. C. (1996). Dictionary of Philosophy. Anmol Publications. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7041-293-9.
  3. ^ Mead, Jean (2008). How and Why Do Hindus Celebrate Divali?. Evans Brothers. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-0-237-53412-7.
  4. ^ a b Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) [1996]. The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace. Abhinav Publications. p. 96. ISBN 81-7017-389-2.
  5. ^ Saraswati, Swami Satyananda (2003). Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. Nesma Books India. pp. 340–341. ISBN 978-81-86336-14-4.
  6. ^ a b Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979) [1966]. Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika. Thorsons. pp. 352–354. ISBN 978-1855381667.

External links[edit]