Apr 13

How to Modify and Properly Align the Splits

Study the lines of energy in the human body, and you’ll understand every yoga pose you’re trying to do.

This is how I approach any type of movement, like yoga, dance, surfing, etc.

The lines in the splits photo above represent where your efforts and returns should be active.  Remember, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so when you extend effort in one direction, there must be a balancing return of energy in the opposite direction.

Props: 3 yoga blocks

If you do not have yoga blocks, you could fold up blankets and place them where the blocks are shown. 

Splits Alignment: Step-by Step Instructions

  1. Start kneeling in the middle of the mat.
  2. Begin with your 2 blocks on either side of you. They will aid in your descent. Keep your 3rd block near you.
  3. Reach your right leg out in front of you, keeping hips squarely aligned, and staying on your left knee.
  4. Keeping your hands on your blocks, take a big inhale, and on your exhale, slowly descend your hips towards the floor into the splits.
  5. Resist gravity and lift the lower belly in your way down.
  6. Once you get about halfway down, carefully take your third block and place it underneath your front thigh.
  7. Breathe
  8. Keep the hips square, and as the arrows indicate in the image above, stay on the ball of the back foot to help support the squaring of the hips, and to also take on some of the weight of the pose.
  9. Press down into the blocks with your hands to continue the lifting action. Keep the spine long and growing up towards the sky.
  10. Draw the front thigh bone in towards the hips, and draw the back thigh bone in towards the hips. All of the energy of the legs are being drawn in towards the center to help the continual lifting that happens from the pelvic floor.
  11. Hold here for 30 seconds, to 1 minute, or up to 2 minutes.

Why are the splits called Hanumanasana in Yoga Sanksrit? 

The splits mimics Hanuman’s famous leap from the southern tip of India to the island of Sri Lanka.

“It was the greatest leap ever taken. The speed of Hanuman’s jump pulled blossoms and flowers into the air after him and they fell like little stars on the waving treetops. The animals on the beach had never seen such a thing; they cheered Hanuman, then the air burned from his passage, and red clouds flamed over the sky . . .” (Ramayana, retold by William Buck).

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