Standing Splits aka Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana is an inversion that stretches and strengthens the hamstrings and is often done in preparation for Hanumanasana (Full Splits). It is also a prep pose for Handstand. It is important to practice this posture once the body and muscles are already warm in order to avoid injury!
Begin in Tadasana (mountain pose) with your feet together and arms alongside your body. Distribute the weight evenly in your feet. If you have a hard time staying balanced here stand with the feet parallel and hip distance apart.
On an inhale reach the arms over head. On an exhale hinge from the hips and fold forward. Bring the fingertips or both hands to the floor or blocks as you straighten the standing legs. Keep a micro bend in the standing knee so that you don’t lock them out or hyperextend.
Transfer the weight equally to your right leg and both hands. Then, lift your left leg up behind you towards hip height.
The torso reaches towards the standing thigh without compromising the length of the spine.
Walk your hands in towards the standing leg to deepen the stretch. Shoulders are relaxed and away from the ears. Tuck the chin slightly towards the chest.
Try to square the hips towards the earth as by internally rotating the left thigh and drawing the left outer hip towards the earth.
Stay active through the standing leg, reach through the ball of the foot as you flex the toes towards your face.
To release, slowly lower the lift foot to the rooted foot to come back into uttanasana. Repeat on the other side.
- Increased blood flow to the brain to calm the nervous system
- Stretches hamstrings, calves, groin and lower back
- Strengthens ankles, knees, and thighs
- Challenges and promotes balance
- Ankle, knee or back injury