One leg is kept straight, and the other is bent towards the ground with toes either on or off the floor.
The hamstrings are stretched in Ardha hanumanasana. This position is more approachable than full hanumanasana and strengthens the muscles required to perform front splits with the proper muscles engaged successfully.
Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits Pose) is a warm-up pose for Hanumanasana (Front Splits Pose). For students with stiff hips, lower back, hamstrings, psoas muscles, and IT band, Ardha Hanumanasana can be included in primary yoga sequences.
This posture can also help with piriformis muscle tension because of the mild stretch and forward bend.
The abdominals, hip flexors (psoas), quadriceps, and hamstrings are the primary muscles for Ardha Hanumanasana. The abdominal muscles must be engaged throughout the activity to keep the lower back long.
The hip flexors and quadriceps are activated to lift the heels off the floor. To straighten the legs, the hamstrings are tightened.
While performing this pose, the triceps, lats, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles are employed to stabilize the upper body.
Level of Difficulty – Intermediate
- Lower Back
- Upper Back
- Core (Abs)
You may do these poses before attempting the Half split.
- Crescent moon pose – Anjaneyasana
- Head to knee pose – Janu sirsasana
- Seated forward fold – Paschimottanasana
How to do it:
- Begin in a lunge, right foot forward and back knee on the ground. Shift your hips back and straighten your front leg until you feel a stretch but not tension.
- Flex your right toes toward your face, lifting your foot off the mat. Place your hands directly beneath your shoulders, on the floor or blocks. Maintain spine length in both the front and rear.
- To avoid hyperextension, keep your right kneecap pointed squarely up and at least a slight bend behind your knee. Activate your quadriceps.
- To maintain torso length and engage the muscles in your abdomen, press down through your fingertips.
- Begin walking your hands toward your feet to increase the stretch. Focus on dragging the pinky toe of your right foot back towards your face and pressing forward with the ball of your foot precisely under the big toe as you perform the position.
- Hold the stance for up to 60 seconds before returning to a lunge by bending the front knee. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Use blocks beneath your hands to assist in keeping your torso erect and your spine long.
- Keep your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
- Try walking your hands down the extended leg toward the feet as your flexibility improves.
- Perform Ardha Hanumanasana daily to keep the hamstrings and hips flexible.
- Slowly increase the amount of time spent with your foot lifted off the floor.
- Avoid leaning backwards; press forward into your hands and shift as much weight as possible to your front leg.
- Make sure you warm up adequately before attempting Ardha Hanumanasana.
- Stretch each hamstring separately, and do not push yourself too far too fast, or you can overstretch or strain them.
- As always, consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
- Do not force your body into the splits; practice Ardha Hanumanasana on both sides daily to improve mobility, flexibility, and strength before attempting a full split.
- Focus on activating and engaging your quadriceps as you straighten your leg; do not lean backwards or forward, which can strain the knee joint.
- Do not perform this if you have a history of knee injuries or knee pain; stop if you feel any pain.
- During pregnancy, make sure your doctor clears you before performing Half Splits pose.
- Avoid if you have a lower back injury.
- Improves hip, hamstring, and low back flexibility
- It stretches the lower back.
- The abdominal organs get stimulated.
- Prepares the body for the entire hanumanasana stance
- It helps treat knee problems
- It helps to build the joints.
- It benefits the flexibility of the knees and strengthens the quadriceps.
- Increases balance & coordination.
Ardha Hanumanasana is a simple forward bend position that can warm up the body before attempting more challenging poses like the entire split.
It is helpful for tight hips, stiff backs, and other tight muscles. So, if you are looking for a way to loosen up your body, try Ardha Hanumanasana.