Monday, November 4, 2013

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Half Splits

Open the hamstrings, thighs, groins, and calves in Half or Full Splits, Ardha or Full Hanumanasana. Half Splits is a powerful stretch that allows for lengthening and opening in tight areas. It can provide effective results for athletes and for those who sit for long periods of time. It is also a beneficial posture to lengthen and strengthen the spine.

In order to keep from straining a muscle by going straight into half-splits, it is good to gently warm up the hamstrings first. Move through a few rounds of sun salutations (see Clairemont Central blog for description of a simple sun salutation) or take a brisk walk in order to get the blood flowing.

To do the half splits: Come to your hands and knees onto the floor. Kneel on something padded like a mat or the carpet for a soft support. Bring the palms shoulder-width distance apart and bring the knees hip-width distance apart. Stack the palms under the shoulders and stack the knees under the hips for alignment. Option to use a block under the hands for support.

Bring the left leg forward and walk the heel forward towards straightening the left leg. If the left leg stays bent, allow for time, patience and the breath to help you work towards straightening. Shift the hips over your right knee and flex the toes towards the face. Notice the hips and try to maintain the hips level and squared towards your feet.

Keep the chest lifted. Try not to round through the mid-back to come lower in the pose. Instead, on an inhale, left the chest and draw the shoulders away from the ears. Exhale, and lengthen the crown of the head towards the foot, creating length in the spine. Notice if the back starts to round, if it does, back off a little and lift the space in between your heart, and exhale to bring more length than depth in the pose. Draw the low belly inward towards the spine.

Keep breathing deeply in the posture with long and smooth inhales and exhales. Allow for time and patience to go further in the pose. Notice the areas that feel tight. Visualize creating more space on the inhale and visualize a softening at the area of tightness on the exhale. Stay in half-splits or if accessible, move into full splits. Stay in half or full splits for 3-5 smooth rounds of breath. Focus on keeping the mind present. If the mind wanders, notice the breath. On an inhale, feel the lungs, belly, and back grow bigger. On an exhale, feel the lungs contract and the belly soften. Repeat the pose on the other side.

When we take the time to nurture ourselves by practicing yoga, we create space and opportunity in the body, relieving tension, tightness, and negative energy. Through regular yoga practice, transformational shifts can happen on an emotional and potentially spiritual level. The breath creates a window into the soul and into our subtle energy body. Our relationships may become healthier, personal goals and aspirations may become more transparent, and happiness may become more sustainable.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono, In Rhythms Yoga

Christi is a certified yoga instructor that focuses on teaching adults, small group and private lessons, kids and family yoga. She has an intimate space in Clairemont, San Diego, located in the Mount streets. Christi has experienced many positive transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. Christi believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, she carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact for more info. Go to to see the class schedule and instructors.

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