Monkey Pose Yoga: The Ultimate Stretch for Legs and Hips

Monkey Pose Yoga: The Ultimate Stretch for Legs and Hips

Monkey pose ( Hanumanasana ) is a powerful stretch commonly called the split. In yoga, Monkey Pose is done with the hips closed, while in gymnastics and cheerleading, the split is done with the hips open. This alignment is subtle but very different.

The ideology behind this pose is to take a leap of faith and serve others. The name comes from the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman, who rescued Sita, the wife of the god Rama. Sita was captured on the island of Sri Lanka, so Hanuman had to take a long step across the strait to reach her.

This giant step is interpreted as a split in this pose. Yoga teachers often like to tell this story when you hold Monkey Pose for what seems like an eternity, which is a lesson in patience. It is usually preceded by a Low Lunge Pose and followed by a Seated Forward Bend.

Benefits Of Monkey Pose

  • Improves Flexibility: Particularly in the hamstrings, thighs, and groin area.
  • Strengthens Muscles: Targets the muscles of the abdomen and legs, enhancing overall body strength.
  • Enhances Stability and Balance: Cultivates a sense of balance and stability, both physically and mentally.
  • Stimulates Abdominal Organs: Encourages the proper functioning of abdominal organs, aiding digestion and circulation.
  • Relieves Stress: The focus required in this pose helps reduce stress and promote mental calmness.
  • Improves Posture: Regular meditation helps correct posture and alleviate lower back issues.

Step By Step Guide To Perform Monkey Pose

Prepare your body for Monkey Pose by doing warm-up asana sequences such as Sun Salutations or jogging lightly.

  1. Come to a kneeling position with your thighs perpendicular to the yoga mat
  2. Exhale as you lower your hands to the floor before your knees, «tent» them so you come up on your fingertips. 
  3. Bring your right leg straight out in front of you, with your heel on the floor. Bend your right leg firmly.
  4. Start sliding your right leg forward, keeping your right leg straight, as you also extend your left leg as far as possible behind you. It helps to get right from the yoga or meditation mat, so it slides more easily. 
  5. Keep your hips facing forward. You can place the toe of the left foot under it or drop the top of the foot to the floor.
  6. Hold the Monkey pose for 5five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
  7. To come out of Monkey Pose, bend your right leg, reach your left knee, and pull your right leg back toward your body.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

For this pose, you need to know the open and closed hip positions. In the closed-hip Monkey Pose, the two hip points are lined up in the same plane and facing the front of the mat. Sometimes, it helps to think of the hip point as a light on a car; you want both headlights facing forward.

In yoga, the way you move into a pose or position is always more important than the result. If you can put your feet on the floor but your alignment is off, reevaluate your position. It can help to have an instructor guide you in doing this pose correctly.

Modifications And Variations

  • If you are a yoga beginner or just learning to do Monkey Pose, place a blanket or yoga bolster in front of you to help you slide forward. Go slowly so you can control your descent and stop when necessary.
  • You can also use a yoga block in both hands to support your body if you can't fully straighten your back leg. Another option is to place this block under the front hamstring for support if it doesn't go down to the floor.

Ready To Take One Step Ahead?

If you can straighten both legs and lower them to the floor, raise your arms above your head and slowly move back. Reach up to the ceiling with your pinky finger.

Safety And Precautions

This is a powerful hamstring stretch. So, avoid Monkey Pose if you have a hamstring or groin injury. Also, lower your body so it is as close to the floor as you feel comfortable doing it. This helps you enjoy the stretch without causing pain.

You can prepare your body for Monkey Pose by doing other yoga poses, stretching your hamstrings, and opening your hips. 

Poses to consider are:


The Monkey Pose, or Hanumanasana, is a significant asana in yoga that symbolizes the giant leap made by Lord Hanuman. This pose stretches the thighs, hamstrings, groins, and hips and embodies the strength and devotion inherent in its mythological inspiration. Practicing it can enhance flexibility, strength, and mental focus, serving as a testament to the blend of physical and spiritual growth that yoga promotes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Mental Benefits Of Practicing Monkey Pose?

Besides the physical benefits, Monkey Pose requires focus and concentration, which can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and enhance mental clarity and mindfulness.

How Does Monkey Pose Affect The Chakras?

Monkey Pose is believed to stimulate the sacral chakra (Svadhisthana), which is associated with creativity and emotional balance, and the root chakra (Muladhara), which relates to stability and grounding.

Can I Do A Monkey Pose During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women should exercise caution and consult a doctor or yoga teacher before practicing Monkey Pose, especially in the second and third trimesters. Modifications or alternative poses may be recommended to ensure safety and comfort.