10 minutes to Splits

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One of my goals for 2016 is to work on Hanumanasana otherwise known as a split. I know yoga isn't about a goal pose or nailing that handstand and when I am practicing on my mat I don't worry about if I do that crazy arm balance. Off my mat, I love setting physical fitness goals.

2016 has been a  year of changes so far.

Here are 9 poses that should take you 5 minutes on each side:

1. Low lunge with hips pressed forward (30 seconds)

Sorry- I don't have a picture for this but this is where we are starting-- picture to come.  Start with one leg in from the entire time.  Let's say right. Place your right foot forward, left knee on the mat. Tuck your tailbone to the ground (aka a posterior pelvic tilt) and engage your core to protect your low back. Gently press your hips forward with your hips squared, pressing your hips toward your front heel and opening up the front of your left hip. Hands can come up not your front thigh or to your hips.

2. Half Split (30 seconds)

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Keeping your front foot where it is and left knee where it is from the previous position.  Gently shift your hips back  towards your back hip and pull your front toes up towards your face. Keeping your back flat (core engaged) hinge forward at your hip.

3. Pyramid Pose (30 seconds)

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Right foot is still forward! Best way to get into this pose is from runners lunge (Right knee stacked over right ankle, hips squared, left toes digging into the floor, with the left heel pressing away from your with the left leg straight and strong) From runners lunge, press your hips gently backwards, straightening out your front leg. If you are looking for a more intense stretch, press your right heel into the ground and pull your toes up towards your nose.

4. Twisting Triangle pose (2 variations) (30 seconds)

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From the previous posture, step your back foot in and bring your left foot flat to the ground. If you feel unsteady widen your stance a little by stepping your left leg away from midline.  Both legs stay straight with a slight bend in the front knee to prevent it from locking out. Hips square to the ground. Press the left hand into a block or the mat and bring the right hand to your right hip. Twist from your core, twist your torso towards your front leg.

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If you want a deeper stretch, twist from your core more towards the front leg and reach the right hand up to the sky.

5. Lizard Lunge (30 seconds)

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Come back into a runner's lunge and walk your right foot out towards the edge of your mat.  Keep your left leg straight and engaged or bring your left knee to the mat. Roll onto the outside edge of your right foot, your knee coming away from the middle of your body.  Bring your forearms to a block or the mat. This works into the front of your left hip and the outside of your right hip.

6. Lizard Lunge with quad stretch (30 seconds)

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This picture isn't the exact depiction of lizard lunge with a quad stretch but it is a less intense version.  In this picture, press your hips forward in a low lunge, bend your left knee and grab the inside of your left foot with your left hand. This is a deep stretch for the front of your left thigh.

A more intense option:  Keep your left hand on the ground or a block, rotate your right foot on outside edge and twist from your core to grab the outside edge of your left foot with your right hand.

7. Pigeon pose (30 seconds)

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MY FAVORITE:) From downward dog: Bring your right knee towards your right wrist and your right foot towards your left wrist. Your right lower leg becomes as close to parallel as possible without forcing. Slide your left leg back away from your front leg.  Pause for a moment, squaring your hips towards the ground and slowly walk your hands out coming down onto your forearms, eventually connecting your forehead to your forearms or the mat.

8. King Pigeon Pose (30 seconds)

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From pigeon pose, walk back up onto your hands. If you are close enough to the ground, reach back and grab the outside of your left foot with your left hand, hooking your left foot into your left elbow if you can.  If you can reach your right arm back and grab your left foot.

9.  Hanumanasana (1 minute)

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(FYI: this photo is opposite legs as the rest of the photos)

This is really easy and almost comfortable in the sand on the beach but on a hardwood floor not so much so use some blocks so support yourself.  Slide your right foot in front of your body and your left foot behind your body. Keep your hips squared forward and towards the ground, trying not to rotate either leg in or out.  Stay here for one minute.

There you have it a 10 minute sequence to work on some muscles to get you into a split. 10 minutes a day-- not too and if you ask me.  Now I should go give my 10 minutes a day a try.

Namaste!