The splits – you kinda love them or hate them. Or you fall into a weird in-between group, like me.

My relationship with splits started out strong from years of gymnastics, then it became extinct, then we had a love affair when I first met yoga, then it became extinct again from my sciatica/piriformis issues, and now we are somewhat romanticizing each other.

Somewhat  is the key word…. don’t get it twisted.

Journey Junkie Happenings:

Whether you love, like, hate or are indifferent – this post is to help you understand your options when practicing Hanumanasana (split pose). It’s a pose that is accessible to everyone, including you – yes you. But to make it accessible, comfortable, and supported – we must use blocks! 

Let me repeat that – you must use a cushiony, foam, square looking yoga prop thing.

Or  simply put… grab 3 blocks and let’s get on with it.

Yogis – below is a quick split tutorial that teaches us four different variations to approach the pose. I definitely recommend warming the body up before attempting any  type of split – no matter what!

Important Ish to Note:

  • For warm-up inspiration, you can check out this video here, this sequence here, or this tutorial here.
  • For a full breakdown of Hanumanasana – read my article here. 
  • The inspiration for this post came from Kathryn Budig (a yogini badass), check out her article here.
  • If you have a shortage of blocks, never fear, Amazon is here – just click!

And with that said, let’s get into it yoga babes.


1. Ardha Hanumanasana

*Optional to use two blocks if needing help in the flexibility department or because you just love blocks (I fall into both categories).

The How-To:

  • Start in downward facing dog.
  • Step your right foot between both hands and soften the left knee down to the mat – you’re now in a low lunge with fingertips on the ground.
  • On exhale breath – send the hips back over your left knee, straighten the right leg and flex the right foot.
  • This is where the blocks make their debut! If you’re using them – place one on either side and bring your hands to rest on top of them. If not using them, fingertips can stay connected to the mat.
  • For the back – I want you to focus on a flat/long/extended back and think baby backbend. Imagine the heart is pulling through towards your toes…. yes, that’s the spot!
  • Stay for at least a full minute – breathing, stretching, and opening!
  • Switch sides & repeat everything above.

The key focus of this posture is to stretch and awaken the hamstring. In order to do this safely, activate your right quadricep and gently feel the knee cap lift.

Like any posture – splits are all about opposition. We must activate one part of the body in order for the other to open and release. Keep this in mind as we delve deeper into this tutorial!

Hanumanasana - 4 Different Ways - Pin now, practice later!

Pin now, practice splits later! Outfit c/o – Titika Active Couture

 


2. Split + 3 Blocks

You will need all your blocks here, so bundle them up, place them on standby, and let’s begin….

The How-To:

  • Start in downward facing dog.
  • Step your right foot between both hands and soften the left knee down to the mat – you’re now in a low lunge with fingertips on the ground.
  • Grab two blocks – place them on either side, on the tallest height, and place your hands on top of them to start.
  • Curl the left toes under, lift your back knee, and start to wiggle your left foot back – MOVE SLOWLY!
  • When you begin to experience an interesting sensation, stop here and place the third block underneath your right hamstring attachment.
  • You can release the back toes to the ground or keep them curled under – do what feels right.
  • Using the two blocks by your side with hands connected – begin to push into the blocks as you lengthen the torso.
  • Important Ish to Remember Here – 
    • Don’t stop breathing, keep it flowing, keep nourishing the body with energy and encouragement.
    • Keep the front leg active to help protect the hamstring.
    • Engage the lower abdominals as you continue to lengthen through the torso.
  • Stay here for 10 deep breaths or more.
  • Switch sides and repeat everything above.
Hanumanasana - 4 Different Ways - Pin now, practice later!

The “curl the toe under” & then wiggle it back action….

Hanumanasana - 4 Different Ways - Pin now, practice later!

Pin now, practice splits later! Outfit c/o – Titika Active Couture

*When I refer to an “interesting sensation” up above, it’s important to understand this concept so as to prevent discomfort and/or injury.

In yoga, we work to strengthen and stretch our bodies simultaneously, and to do this we must learn when to go deeper, when to stay, and when to soften. The sensation will be different for everyone, depending on overall flexibility, but overall – there’s a difference between creating space & forcing the body into a shape.

Learn to treat every posture with respect, to treat your body with respect, to move with care, and to know that there’s never an end goal.

It’s about the journey.


3. Split + 1 Blocks

We’re slowly inching our way forward, slow being the key word yogis.

For this one, you’ll need one block, but keep those other babes nearby (for backup purposes).

The How-To:

  • Start in downward facing dog.
  • Step your right foot between both hands and soften the left knee down to the mat – you’re now in a low lunge with fingertips on the ground.
  • Curl the back left toes under and start to shimmy/wiggle/slide your left foot back, then start to inch your right heel forward. Keep doing the split wiggle until you experience that “interesting sensation.”
  • Place a block – on whatever height you prefer – directly under the right hamstring attachment. Make sure it’s stable!
  • Either stay here with fingertips on the ground OR take it further by lifting the fingertips towards the sky.
    • If you lifted the fingertips – engage the abdominal muscles and think energy through the crown of the head.
Hanumanasana - 4 Different Ways - Pin now, practice later!

Pin now, practice splits later! Outfit c/o – Titika Active Couture


4. Full Splits

Before we dive into the last split variation, please know that you NEVER need to experience or even attempt the full expression of Hanumanasana. There’s no prize waiting at the end of your split journey, aside from incredibly open hamstrings…. meaning don’t force it, don’t injure yourself, and don’t push your body into a shape for the sake of it.

It’s not worth it.

But what is worth it is understanding the mechanics of your body, honoring where you’re right now, and doing the work there (wherever there is).

So with that said, let’s end this tutorial babes.

The How-To:

  • Start in downward facing dog.
  • Step your right foot between both hands and soften the left knee down to the mat – you’re now in a low lunge with fingertips on the ground.
  • Curl the back left toes under and start to shimmy/wiggle/slide your left foot back, then start to inch your right heel forward.
  • Keep doing the split wiggle until you find the full expression – take your time wiggling!
  • Once there – either keep the fingertips connected and grow taller through your torso OR reach the arms overhead and reach for the stars.
  • Remember – the front leg is actively engaged, foot is flexed, and lower abdominals are engaged.
Hanumanasana - 4 Different Ways - Pin now, practice later!

Pin now, practice splits later! Outfit c/o – Titika Active Couture


How ya feeling yoga babe?

I’m hoping a bit more open, courageous, knowledgeable, badass…. you know the usual!

If splits are a new posture within your practice, don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed. Instead – set a date with yourself, work on your flexibility, and take the time to develop a relationship with this posture. I promise Hanumanasana wants to be your friend.

Let’s Talk – Do you practice splits regularly? Are you a lover or a hater? What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to flexibility? Did you enjoy this tutorial?

As always – comments, suggestions, feedback, questions, or general yoga love are welcome down below!

Until next time – xoxo.

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