How did last week’s stretch go? Are you any closer to achieving Hanumanasa, a full square front split?
Check out last week’s article if you missed it here!
If you are not advancing, there is always a reason why. Let’s look at some common problems that many people run into when doing last week’s exercise called ~Reverence~ that targets the adductors of the back leg.
A common mistake that many people make is not dropping the torso closer to the floor. Instead, you may be lifting the torso up when you lift the heel up. It is important to be very aware of what is happening in your body when you perform this exercise. Make sure the torso does not rise with the heel- keep it level, and then when you drop the heel, drop the torso closer to the floor.
Where do you feel it?
Are you feeling this more in your glutes than your adductors? If so, all you need is a little adjustment so that you target the correct muscles. Try turning your torso slightly away from the front leg in this instance. This will make some space to target those adductor muscles.
What if you are feeling this as a stretch in your hip flexors rather than your adductors? In this instance, try to squeeze your back hip a little more. Activating your seat muscles here helps to take some of the stretch out of hip flexors and redirect toward the midline of the body, where the adductors are located.
What else can you do?
There are several ways that you can support your body as you ease your way into Hanumanasana. These methods make the posture accessible to anyone.
Blocks are commonly used in yoga to support the hands and the hips in this pose. You will need 1-3 blocks depending on your setup. Many people get 'stuck' in a position when moving into Hanumanasana as pictured below. These setups will you feel supported so you can move deeper into your range of motion with the spine upright, rather than leaning forward, as you would in a true front split.
Place 2 blocks underneath of your hands. Try to keep sliding the legs away from each other with your hands supported and your spine straight up and down. You can set the blocks up as high as you need them.
Place a block underneath of your hips. You can have it on any level that you need. As you deepen your splits, you may find yourself decreasing the level of the block as you progress. This support from underneath is highly beneficial because it allows your muscles to feel supported, and relax a little deeper into the stretch.
Use 3 blocks combining #1 and 2 for support under your hips and your hands.
This week reassess the exercise from last week. Continue stretching your adductors and then try using the blocks for support. You may be surprised at the results! Come back next week for another Zaichik Stretching technique to continue opening your hip flexors of the back leg.