Learn How to Do the Splits
These yoga poses will prepare you for doing a split safely and effectively.
You’ve probably seen someone else do a split, and you might have also winced, just a little, at the sight. The split pose is difficult, there’s no getting around that. This yoga posture literally asks the body and mind to split in opposing directions. To do this, you need focus, strength and good flexibility.
No matter what your level of experience in yoga, you can learn how to do a split safely and effectively, over time. Work your way through the poses below to build yourself up to it.
By Allie Flavio
Plant the foot directly in front of the body and make sure it’s flexed back towards your face – this will help the hips be able to sink down. Hands can rest to the floor, your thigh, or be extended towards the sky. Tailbone is gently tucking and belly is engaged here – think up and in towards the heart. Roll the shoulders onto the back and keep length in the spine – gaze is straight out. Melt the hip down towards the ground – strengthening the front leg and stretching the back hips. Stay for at least 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
From Low Lunge, bring fingertips to the ground as you straighten the front leg and send the hips back towards the heel. Keep the front foot and leg active and engaged – no lucy goosies here! Square the hips. This can take some time, so examine your movements and then adjust accordingly. Keep the back side of the body long and flat while extending through the crown of the head – think extension here. Breathe energy and love into the front hamstring – it’s going to be talking to ya! Stay for at least 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Seated Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Find a comfortable seat and spread the legs wide to your edge – don’t overdo it here! Keep the legs active with quadriceps engaged, knee caps gently lifting, and flexion in the toes. Place the hands behind the legs and use them to help sit tall and lengthen/strengthen the back body. Keep the belly active by sending the bellybutton back towards the spine. If this is easy for you, slowly walk your hands out in front of you as you lower the chest towards the ground. Stay for at least 10 breaths.
Seated Forward Bend
Find a comfortable seat and extend the legs straight out in front of you. Gently move your booty out from underneath and feel the connection of the sit bones and the ground. Keep the legs and feet active and engaged. Inhale the arms overhead, hinge from the hips, and reach towards your toes, shins, or wherever is comfortable. On the inhale, lengthen the crown of the head towards the feet. On the exhale, melt down into this space. Relax shoulders down and away from the ears and keep belly engaged. Stay for a least 10 deep breaths.
Start in tabletop position and bring left knee towards the left wrist and the left heel towards the right wrist – working the shin towards parallel to the front of the mat. Slide the right foot back and release the foot to the ground – toenail side down. Slowly lower the chest to the ground coming down to forearms, a block, or maybe all the way to your mat. Square the hips by gently bringing the right hip forward and sending the left hip back. Stay for at least 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
All images courtesy of Allie Flavio / YogiApproved.com.