You don’t have to have full splits to practice the pose, but you do have to practice the carriage in order to have full breaks! This guide will help you step by step to find many variations in order to work closer to full leaves. The holidays require a lot of hamstring flexibility, hip flexor flexibility, a large range of motion in the hip joint, and low back mobility. Try one, two, some, or all of the poses below!
Make sure that your knee does not go past your ankle. You can feel your quads getting longer and more stretched by tucking your tailbone.
Work on: Feeling a slight upward dog expression in your chest by shining your heart forward between your arms.
Start by bending your back leg and straightening your front foot. This variation of the splits replicates the stretch in the hamstring that occurs when you do the full splits.
Work on: Keep a long and lengthened spine as you fold your leg over the top. This will prepare your lower spine for full splits.
Half Splits Low Lunge Flow
Find a flow from low lunges to half splits, taking several breaths between each pose.
What you should work on is Linking movement and breath to create a constant wave motion between two poses.
Half Splits: Walking with the front foot forward
Start by scooting your front foot up towards the top edge of your mat as you work your way to full splits; place blocks underneath your hands and right next to your hips.
Work on: Maintain the length of your spine while stretching out your legs.
Half Splits: Block under the leg(s).
Slide a couple of blocks under your legs from your half splits. Release tension by letting the block support you and sink into the pose.
Work on the following: Contracting the quadriceps of your front leg will increase the stretch in your hamstring. (opposite muscles will work in opposition; when one contracts, the other will release naturally.
Three Legged Dog
Lift one leg towards the sky. This will stretch the hamstrings of the lower leg.
Work on: Keep the hips aligned to mimic the alignment in splits.
Standing Splits: Pressing into the Wall
Put your feet on the wall and do a downward-facing dog. Find the three-legged dog with the extended leg against the wall. Begin to walk backward with your hands towards your bottom leg.
What you should work on Engaging your quadriceps of the bottom leg will help you to stabilize yourself in this balance pose while also allowing your hamstrings to release.
The Pigeon Pose will stretch your hip flexors on the back leg, which is necessary to extend in the Splits fully.
Work on: Leave space for your hips by taking your right leg slightly outside your right wrist or shoulder.
Hanumasana is the Sanskrit term for splits. Hanuman’s attempt to jump across the ocean in search of his love was so big that he stretched into the breaks. As you practice the holidays to increase your flexibility, consider: What else are you pushing toward? What are you trying to reach but can’t? Vacations can help you cultivate courage and extend toward what you want.