Thursday, July 5, 2012

Approaching Hanumanasana

This month I am making Hanumasana my focus. This challenging pose, I have found thus far, is just as challenging for the mind as it is for the body. The amount of stretch and opening that occurs in the legs and groin is very intense. I have found, however, that the longer I stay in it, the more the pose unfolds itself. When first entering the pose, my mind jumps right to the stretch and the intense feeling in the hamstrings and groins. It can be daunting to let the first reaction pass - the feeling is rather intense. After holding the pose in a supported position a few times, I can now approach it as a learner - realizing that I need to pull a hip forward or rotate the upper thigh to the floor, using the same lessons that I apply to other poses.

To prepare my body for the pose, I have been using a sequence that I am adapting from an old copy of Yoga Journal and different approaches from classes and workshops that I have taken.

  • The sequence starts with a forward bend. I have been experimenting with this - lifting the toes onto a rolled up mat or block to get a deeper stretch of the hamstrings, holding the pose for a few minutes, or approaching the pose in a restorative way - propping up the head, etc.

  • Next, I move onto rajakapotasana (pigeon). I have been using different variations of this pose. I do this pose twice on each side. The first time, doing the pose my traditional way - front leg bent, back leg straight. Then I do the pose a second time, trying to get my front leg closer to parallel to the front of the mat - which means that I have to prop myself up a bit, but the opening it creates in the hip is wonderful. Sometimes I will bend the back leg into the body as well.

  • I then move onto a lunge sequence - runner's lunge variations, added quad stretches.

  • Then I approach Hanumanasana - utilizing bricks to support where I am currently with the pose. I utilize different brick heights to elevate or lower the groins closer to the floor

The experience thus far has been amazing.

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