I’m still working on my handstands, are you?
Recently, I’ve been more consistent about practicing my splits. Keeping my splits is helping to make kicking up into handstand and forearm balancing a more controlled experience. Here are a few poses to work into your sequence that will help you as you find your way into a split (make sure to do both sides):
Ardha Hanumanasana: Starting in a knee down lunge with the right foot in front and the left knee bent, shift the left hip back so that it is directly over the left knee. Straighten out the front right leg. Square your shoulders and your hips. Inhale and lengthen your spine, then begin to fold forward. I love the visual of the front body sliding forward, while the back body is sliding down and back, like two sheets of paper moving along each other in opposite directions.
In this pose you’ll feel a strong sensation through the back of your right leg and around the outer hip. Breath here for 5 long breaths and find something to love about this sensation.
Full Hanumanasana w/ block: From ardha hanumanasana, slide the left toes back and the right heel forward. Bring a block underneath the right (front) thigh. The closer the block is to your groin, the more support you will have as you develop your split. Move the block about an inch or so towards the back of the knee to feel release higher up. In this supported hanumanasana, can you lift your arms over head and begin to lengthen the spine. Draw the right hip back and feel the left hip flexor reaching forward. Breath here and love it!
Standing Split up the Wall: This is exactly what is sounds like. It is also awesomely awkward to get into. Start in a forward fold about a foot from the wall. The backs of the legs should be facing the wall. From here, bend one knee so that the shin is now facing the wall. Begin to extend that leg and reach the toes up the wall.
The key here is to be mindful of your hip position. Are they opening? Can you pull the belly in and get the hips to stay square?
Stay here or begin to walk the standing foot closer to the wall. Press into the floor with your hands to lengthen the standing leg and get a little more reach out of the toes that are reaching up the wall.
Come out of this pose the same way you went in.
Try this little series three times around a few times a week and then see where you are with your splits in two weeks.