Friday Flows

Monkey See, Monkey Do! Flexibility Stretches | Friday Flow 32

Watercolor Monkey

«never reads the directions crew»
Previously I had an extensive flow dedicated to Nightime Flexibility.  However, that routine is lost to me. Sadly, it got trapped in an app that I can no longer use. But if there are readers that still use the Yoga Studio App, go check out my very first yoga flow article. There is a .yoga import file located there and it may still prove useful.  For all other readers, I’ve decided to rebuild a portion of that vintage flow (which includes Monkey pose).

Monkey Spirit

Today’s flow is dedicated solely to Hanumanasana or Monkey Pose, ie. the front splits. The popular flexibility goal of dancers, cheerleaders, yogis and others worldwide. For good reason! It is a flexibility threshold that tends to pack a lot of visual punch. Just look at any person in full splits and try not to be impressed. Jean-Claude built a whole career on it!

Jean Claude Van Damme does Monkey Pose
Jean Claude Van Damme in Monkey pose, from movie Timecop (1994).

If you have a desire to obtain the splits, this is the nighttime routine for you.  It helped me go from moderate flexibility to full split in a few weeks.

General Flexibility Training: A Guide for the Rest of Us

Some people spend a lifetime practicing their flexibility. Some people are just born bendy. But if you are not a reformed dancer or naturally limber, this might take some time. Flexibility has to be trained and practiced.

In my experience, progress with flexibility is greatly impacted by two things:

  • consistency
  • hydration

For best results, practice a stretching routine at least 3-4 times a week. Any less and you are merely maintaining your current level of flexibility vs growing it!

Same goes for water intake. Drink a glass in the morning, before meals, before bed. Keep your body well hydrated and don’t fudge it. A common guideline for water intake is to take half your body weight and drink the same number of fluid ounces. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink roughly 70 fluid ounces a day. This is a good starting point.  It can be adjusted a lot based on lifestyle factors, so use your own judgement. Drink more if you workout, sweat a lot, live in a warm climate, etc. Scale back if you eat a lot of fluid rich foods like fruits and veggies. Whatever your personal water needs, just be consistent. Same as the stretching.

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Access the Yoga Flow Routine

Here are a few of the key poses you will want to practice for Monkey. A link to the full routine is directly below images.

head to knee pose  hurdler stretch

pyramid pose forward fold standing split

low lunge and half splits sequence
STOP HERE UNTIL YOU’RE READY

monkey pose / hanumanasana

Hanumanasana / Monkey Flow
(click for full flow sequences and printable worksheets)

The “Don’t Be a Dodo” Disclaimer

It is very easy to try and rush it along. Please don’t.

Just because you want to do the monkey doesn’t mean you have to act like one! Honor your own body and work at a speed that makes sense to you. Going too fast is a quick way to injury. This is an important point to drill in, so I’ll repeat: Just because you can go faster, doesn’t mean you should.  I’ve come to realize that even more as my body ages. There are no prizes. Take your time. Progress will come.

Have fun, my adventurous friends
&Namaste

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