Achieving the full split with completely square hips in yoga is something that many Yoga practitioners seek. The posture is named after the Hindu monkey god named Hanuman. The story of this posture comes from the great Indian epic the Ramayana, where Hanuman leaps across the ocean to an island to rescue a captured queen. It is truly an act of devotion!
If you are ready to devote yourself to becoming better at the splits, then look no further. This week we will dissect what all you need to get into Hanumanasana. Many people who are working on their splits primarily focus on the front leg. This is of course a great place to start but there is more to achieving a full front split than just the hamstrings on the front leg.
Let’s take a look at the lengthening action of the back leg. Remember, this is a square frontal split, so we are trying not to open the hip of the back leg here. There are quite a few muscles that are being stretched in the back leg. The muscles that are lengthening in the back leg include the psoas major, iliacus, tensor fascia latae, rectus femoris, pectineus, sartorius, adductor magnus upper fibers, adductor longus and brevis, and the gracilis. As you can see, the hip flexors and adductors play a pretty big role in maximizing the extension of the back leg!
A common area that is often overlooked in stretching for the splits is the adductor group. Today we are going to learn an exercise called ~Reverence~ that targets the adductor magnus and longus through Zaichik Stretching. Make sure you are properly warmed up before attempting this exercise. Read below to learn more!
- Start in a low lunge position with the torso folded forward toward the floor, with both hands inside the front leg
- Keep your torso as it is and lift the heel of your front foot off of the floor. This is our Leverage.
- Lower the heel back down, and drop the torso closer to the floor, advancing into your Target position. Never lift the torso up- always keep it dropping downward!
- Do this 5 times on each side
Try ~Reverence~ before your move into your splits the next time that you practice. You will begin to see improvements in your Hanumanasana right away! Come back next week for more tips on how to continue advancing into your full split.