Stretch all the way out with this week’s Pose of Week: The Splits! The Splits, known as Hanumanasana in the language of yoga, will provide you with a deep stretch for the hamstrings. If you’re looking to make a commitment to yourself, this is a great pose to practice everyday to increase your flexibility.
Stretches the hamstrings, thighs, groin, hips and buttock muscles. Stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Begin in either table top on all fours, or downward facing dog.
- Step one leg forward, let’s say the right leg, to place the right sole of foot down on the Earth beside the right thumb.
- Lower the left knee down to the Earth, or to a blanket to arrive in Low Lunge.
- Shift the hips back to extend the right leg, keeping a slight bend in the right knee.
- Walk your hands back until they align underneath the shoulders.
- Pull the right hip back to align both hips to be side by side.
- Press down with your right heel into the Earth.
- Lengthen the sternum forward to have a long spine.
- Inch by inch, take turns sliding the left knee back and the right leg forward.
- The kneecap of the right leg is pointed straight up, while the kneecap of the left leg remains pointed straight down.
- Continue to pull the right hip back and the outer left hip forward to maintain square hips while extending the legs out.
- Pull the low belly in and up towards the diaphragm.
- Reach up through all four sides of the torso and out through the crown of head.
- Hands can stay on the floor, come to the heart centre, or reach up to the sky, keeping the ribs knitted in.
- Remember to breathe and come out whenever you need to or whenever you’d like to.
- To come out of the pose, press your hands or fingertips into the Earth to help lift yourself up and inch the left knee forward and the right leg back in.
- Return to the low lunge position you started with.
- Press the hands down to Earth framing the right foot and step back to table top or downward facing dog.
- Lower your knees and rest in childs pose.
If your hamstrings are tight, it is not necessary to start extending the left knee back and right leg forward to feel the stretch. Ardha Hanumanasana, or Half Split Monkey, allows you to stretch the right leg hamstring if you stop at Step #8. If there is pulling in your low back or rounding in the spine, then you can place your hands on blocks to bring the Earth closer up to you. A folded blanket can be helpful to slide under the hips/pelvis to support the legs as you extend.