Wednesday, April 16, 2014

3 Yoga Moves for Splits

Splits are hard to do. Unless you are a gymnast, yogi, or cheerleader, there is really no reason to be able to do one. However, many people like the challenge of attempting something that they know is quite hard to do. The benefits of being able to do a split are the added flexibility and range of motion, which can come into good use and to help relieve pain if you have tight hips or joints. Splits take lots of time and patience to do, but with practice, it will happen.

To do a split, flexible hamstrings and hips are a must! Here are 3 yoga poses to help get you there:

Pigeon Pose
  • From Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat.
  • If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins open up toward the ceiling, draw your right foot back in toward your body.
  • Stay here with your hands resting on your right leg or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.
  • Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least five breaths.
  • Then place your hands on the mat in front of you, tuck your left toes and step your right foot back. Take a vinyasa, then step your left foot forward and repeat Pigeon on the left side.

Lizard Pose
  • Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your palms keeping your hands on the floor.
  • Lower your left knee to the floor, and release your elbows to the floor as well. Either rest your hands palms facing down on the mat, or bring your hands together in prayer position.
  • Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and keep your gaze in front of you to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor.
  • Stay here for at least five breaths. Then come back onto your hands. Tuck your back toes and step your right leg back. Take a vinyasa and step your left foot forward to do this pose on the other side.

Crescent Lunge
  • Start in Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). On an exhalation, step your right foot forward and place it beside your right thumb, lining up your right knee over your right ankle. Lower your left knee to the floor, ensuring to place it behind your hips.
  • On an inhalation, raise your torso and sweep your arms above your head with your palms facing one another, placing your biceps beside your ears. On your next exhale, allow your hips to settle forwards and down until you feel a stretch in the front of your left leg and psoas.
  • Draw your tailbone done towards the earth, lengthening your lower back and engaging your core muscles. Begin to draw your thumbs into the back plane of your body as you reach up with your heart, and shift your gaze up for a mild backbend.
  • Stay here, or raise your back knee off the mat for a full Crescent Lunge.
  • To exit the pose, place your hands down on the mat and step back to Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Repeat with the left leg forwards.

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