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Yoga Pose of the Week: Split

Strike a Yoga Pose: Split

Not too many people are born being able to do a full split, so after you try these stretches to help open your hamstrings and hips, give this pose a try.

Sanskrit Name: Hanumanasana
English Translation: Monkey Pose
Also Called: Split

For step-by-step instructions


  • From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward as if you're coming into Warrior 1, but leave your hands on the floor. Lower your left knee to the mat and point your toes behind you. Shift your hips back so you can straighten your front leg. Flex your foot.
  • Slowly slide your right heel away form you. Lower your hips as far as you can while keeping your right leg straight. It's OK if you can't go down very far. Don't bend your right knee to get lower because it will take the stretch out of your hamstrings.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths. If your hips are on the floor, straighten your arms up above you and gaze at your palms. After five, place your hands on the floor and slide your right heel in toward your body, step it back and come into Downward Facing Dog. Then repeat this pose with the left leg forward.
Join The Conversation
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I'm a natural gumby - could always do splits, straddles, forward bends and crazy backbends. I am getting to a point where I need my yoga instructor to push me deeper into stretches because I just can't feel the stretch on my own anymore in certain positions. Like in this position - I would end up pulling my back foot up while bending back so that my foot touched my head.
michlny michlny 7 years
I think I was born with the ability to do this - both sides as well as straddle and bend over down the center....... People are amazed, but I think it's just natural.
Beaner Beaner 7 years
I used to be able to do split, but not since I started running. My hamstrings won't cooperate.
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