It also stretches your hamstrings, your groin and back muscles, and your hips and thighs. The splits pose called the advance pose because it takes a lot of practice to master it.
However, when you have done your practice with dedication and perseverance, the splits pose the most rewarding yoga pose in the world.
In Sanskrit, it is called Hanumanasana because Hanuman, a Hindu mythological character from the Ramayana, inspired the name. The posture demands a great deal of technique, flexibility, and patience.
The pose works best when you are partially flexible in your hamstrings. You can do this pose on a mat or the floor. The mat is good to use if you have sensitive skin; otherwise, the floor will be fine.
Level of Difficulty
Advanced [note: this is not an “easy” pose even for advanced students, but those who are intermediate and advanced might find it easier to go into the pose than to hold it].
This pose is held for a few seconds.
Benefits of the splits pose.
The splits pose is a very rewarding yoga pose. This posture works on your entire body, and it also helps to improve your concentration.
The power of this asana is that it strengthens the whole body no matter what level of flexibility you are at in your hamstrings.
Stretched the Thighs deeply.
Hanumanasana and any variation on the route to Hanumanasana necessitate significant hamstring and quadriceps opening.
Your front leg's hamstrings will get a severe stretch, while your rear leg's quads will get a slight stretch while you're hanging out in this pose.
Your legs will get a lifetime stretch no matter where you are on your approach to express this stance fully. It is especially beneficial if you frequently ride a bike, walk, run, or otherwise use your legs daily.
Hip Flexors are opened.
Because of the opening necessary for this position, you will be digging deep into your hip flexors. Most people have incredibly tight hip flexors due to sitting in chairs all day, walking, running, and using these muscles without ever taking the time to stretch them out mindfully.
However, when practised frequently, this position provides one of the most profound openings for this part of the body and will expand your range of motion faster than any other hip flexor-opening pose I know of.
Deepens Body Awareness
This pose will force you to focus on things you can’t find in most other poses. It takes your awareness deep down into the hips, groins, lower back, and thighs. It will help develop body consciousness and feel what parts of your body are moving.
If something isn’t feeling right about this pose, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the anatomy of your body.
It’s tough to go into this posture. One of the most critical aspects of doing split variations is when you have a general physical disability or health condition that prevents you from going into this pose.
This posture is notorious for causing injuries and breakdowns in many people with physical limitations.
However, I’ve seen clients with severe personal challenges put it together through perseverance and dedication to the pose, even when they’re feeling mainly “done” physically.
Strengthens the Hamstrings
The splits will strengthen your hamstrings with every repetition you do. The longer you hold this pose, the more your hamstrings will boost over time.
It is especially advantageous to those who need a bit of extra hamstring strengthening from time to time.
The splits pose will also help you develop further flexibility in your hamstrings and provide some of the most intense hamstring stretching you can get in a yoga class.
Helps Develop Patience
This pose will teach you essential lessons never taught in any other posture in yoga. When you express this pose enough times, you’ll learn to do it mindfully and with patience.
Cultivating patience will strengthen your character, not only in the splits but all of your yoga practice.
Now that you know the benefits, it's time to reap the rewards of the splits poses by learning how to do it! The most important tips are the deep stretch in your hamstrings, hip flexors and lower back.
The splits pose will also develop body awareness and strengthen your patience. When you succeed in this posture, be proud.
As you gain experience practising these poses, prove yourself as a student by holding not just one minute but longer than a minute or two because this is an advanced pose.
How to do it:
You must never attempt a full split without warming up properly.
- To begin, stand in Tadasana with your feet together.
- Start with a low lunge and your right foot forward.
- Return your left knee to the ground.
- Reach hips back into left heel and lengthen right leg to runner’s lunge as you walk hands back.
- Take a deep breath and slide your right heel forward as far as you feel comfortable. With square hips, your hips will eventually release to the ground.
- Take at least five deep breaths here.
- Slowly exit the stance and repeat with the opposite leg.
- I recommend stretching the splits on a carpeted floor or yoga mat.
- If you have tight hamstrings, work towards your first split on a carpeted floor.
- Don’t be afraid to slowly build up the flexibility to do this pose by practising it regularly.
- Build strength in your legs, hips and back with sequential exercises before attempting Hanumanasana.
- Keep breathing deeply and evenly as you hold the posture for best results.
Half Splits Pose – Ardha Hanumanasana (अर्धहनुमानास)
The Half Split is a good stepping stone towards the Full Split. It is an excellent pose for those just starting to learn about the splits.
The Half Split is also one of the most heart-opening and calming postures you can practice. The benefits are endless and continue to expand your range of motion.
Full Splits Pose With a Yoga Block Assist – Ardha Virasana (अर्धविरासा)
This posture is a great way to practice if you’re new to Hanumanasana. Use a yoga block and chair to assist you in bringing your legs down into the splits.
Keep your hips square and lift your tailbone to help your hamstrings and hip flexors release longer to get deep into the pose.
Splits with 2 Blocks
To complete the full splits, try using two yoga blocks. They will ensure that you remain squared on your hips.
If you don’t have two yoga blocks, you can even use a thick book or a blanket folded into a thick square to achieve the same effect. Always make sure your front knee is well above your ankle as you progress through this pose.
What poses to do before and after the splits pose?
Before doing the splits pose, try this simple warm-up routine.
- Runner’s stretch or half-seated splits
- Standing forward pose
- Half Pigeon Pose
- Lizard Lunge
- Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose
- Happy Baby
After doing the splits pose, try this simple cool-down routine.
- Seated forward fold
- Standing forward bend
- Child’s pose (Balasana)
- Reclining twist or supine spinal twist
Who should avoid the splits pose?
People with a high fever, pregnancy, or kidney disease should avoid this pose. If you have low blood pressure, your doctor will recommend avoiding the splits pose.
People with a herniated disc should avoid the splits pose as well. It is also important not to do this posture if you have a knee injury or sprained ankle.
If you have any adjustments for this posture because of your physical limitations, always ask your healthcare provider before doing the splits.
Some people choose to use the splits pose to practice inversions. Inversions like Headstand, Half-Moon, etc., can be easy and safe to do if you are only looking for an upside-down position that is not too stressful on your body.
With practice, you can learn to do the splits on all fours. You can also put your belly on the floor or use a prop like a blanket or a pillow.
In yoga, different asanas help strengthen specific parts of the body (muscles). Pilates has some exercises that are suitable for this.
Working through these areas will help support them and make sure they can hold the position of their upright poses more easily.
In yoga, you can try these supportive poses:
- Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose), Virasana (Hero Pose)
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand Preparation or Handstand). This pose is also suitable for working towards handstand backbends.
- Parsvakonasana or Side Angle Pose
- Utthita Parsvakonasana or Extended Side Angle Pose
- Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
- Navasana (Boat Pose)
- Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
- Virabhadrasana I (Warriors Pose I)
- Parsvottanasana or Intense Side Stretch Pose
Pro tip: Before starting this pose, make sure to warm up by practising some simple stretches for the hamstrings!
The yoga pose of the splits is a unique posture. The satisfaction you get from it is incredible, and its benefits are off the charts.
If you practice this asana with patience, dedication and practice, your body will begin to do its splits on its own accord.
The splits can be a great conversation starter for getting more people interested in yoga.
As you learn about different yoga poses and the benefits of each posture, remember to keep practising this pose.
For example, the splits pose a great way to relieve tension and stress. It’s an excellent posture to practice when you feel angry, frustrated, tired etc.
If you face difficulties with this pose because of your flexibility level, you can either build upon the flexibility or work on your legs and core strength.