Stretch and stabilize while preparing to go deeper in Half Front Splits Pose…
Half Front Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana) is a great preparatory pose for Full Splits or Monkey Pose. This pose is more accessible for those with limited flexibility, and it also helps to strengthen the muscles needed to perform the full pose correctly. Besides strengthening the core and leg muscles, Half Front Splits also provides a great stretch for the hips, hamstrings, and lower back, increases stability in the pelvic region, and stimulates the internal organs. It is also thought to increase commitment and devotion.
This pose helps remind us that flexibility must be coupled with strength – both in life and in yoga! The strength, stability, and flexibility provided by this pose will take you far towards your yoga goals.
When doing this pose, be sure to pay attention to how your body feels and keep the stretch active rather than passive. Do not collapse into the groin muscles, but remain strong and upright throughout. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders, and if needed, you can rest your hands on blocks to help keep your torso tall and erect.
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Those with lower back pain, or hip, hamstring, or groin injuries should avoid this pose.
How to Do Half Front Splits Pose:
- Start in a lunge with your right foot forward and your back knee on the ground. Shift your hips back to stack over your left knee, and straighten your front leg to a place where you feel a stretch, but not strain.
- Flex your right toes toward your face so that the sole of your foot is off the mat. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, either on the floor or on blocks. Make sure you keep length in your spine, both front and back.
- Keep your right kneecap pointed directly up, with at least a small bend behind your knee to prevent hyperextension. Engage your quadriceps.
- Press down through your fingertips to keep length in the torso and engage the muscles in your belly.
- To deepen the stretch, begin to walk your hands toward your feet. As you work in the pose, focus on pulling the pinky toe of your right foot back towards your face and pressing forward with the ball of your foot right under the big toe.
- Hold the pose for up to 60 seconds before re-bending the front knee and returning to a lunge. Repeat on the other side.
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