The pose of the week is Standing Splits, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be able to do the splits in order to practice this pose! This pose is a lot of fun to practice balancing while building single leg strength and flexibility in the hamstrings.
Stretches the hamstrings, back, the front thigh and groin. Strengthens the thighs and muscles of the ankles. Stimulates the liver and kidneys and calms the brain.
- Begin standing pose, Tadasana, with your feet about hip distance apart, or wherever is comfortable to you.
- Take a slight bend in your knees and forward fold.
- Notice how your hamstrings feel. If the back of your legs feel tight, feel free to take a deeper bend at the knees.
- Hands or finger tips can be on the Earth, or placed on blocks if there is a rounding in the spine.
- Shift your weight into the right foot, keeping a micro bend at the knee.
- Press down into all 5 toes, root down through the heel and lift the arch of the foot.
- Lift the left leg towards the sky as high as you’d like.
- Align the left hip beside the right.
- Lift up and out from the right hip.
- Engage the core.
- Engage the glutes, thighs, quads, hamstrings of the left leg to keep it strong.
- Actively reach the legs away from each other.
- Reach through either the heel and ball of the left foot or through pointed toes.
- Lengthen the sternum forward to elongate the spine.
- Reach out through the crown of head.
- Option to place one hand, either hand on the side of the right ankle.
- If you’re feeling stable, hold the ankle with both hands.
- Remember to breathe and hold for as long as you’d like.
- To come out of the pose, lower the left leg down to meet the right. Exhale and take a moment in your forward fold.
- Bend the knees and with a long spine rise back up to standing.
- Shake out the legs as needed!
If your hamstrings are tight, it will be really helpful to place your hands on blocks rather than on the ground. Another modification is to keep the lifted leg lower. The lifted leg doesn’t have to be as high as possible, it could be lower.