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Yoga Poses: Splits Tutorial

Dear Yoga Students,

The frontal splits is perhaps one of the deepest hamstring stretches of all. Every hamstring stretch helps prepare you for this pose, but it’s also good to practice this pose by itself since it’s very powerful.

Remember, with your full body weight hovering over your hamstrings, it’s very easy to push too far here. So please be careful and follow my guidance closely so you stay safe.

Let’s start together on our knees…

STEP 1
Extend your right leg forward and flex the toes out in front of you on the mat.

STEP 2
Very slowly and carefully, slide your right forward until you feel some resistance.

STEP 3
Once you start to feel a stretch in your hamstring, you need to get your fingertips firmly planted into the floor or else on top of a block.

STEP 4
We’ll use our hands for support to control the weight and pressure on our hamstring so it’s never too much.

You want to feel a strong stretch—but no pain. You should be able to breathe deeply and comfortably in and out through the nose the entire time, and engage your quads to protect your hamstring.

Your hamstrings are actually a group of big muscles on the back of your leg and they’ll loosen up quickly, even as we’re practicing now.

As you feel your hamstring loosen, slide your heal a bit more forward and flex you toes and support yourself with your fingertips.

Take at least 20 breaths here before switching sides. Please feel free to post questions or comments below…

Stay bendy,

Lucas
YOGABODY Naturals LLC

YOGA Poses for Flexibility

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  1. carson wrote
    at 1:14 am - 25th June 2009 Permalink

    this can’t be done for a new person,and this causes the person to think you can do it now!,impossible!!

  2. michael m. a. stavrinides wrote
    at 11:19 pm - 24th June 2009 Permalink

    Dear Lucas,
    Thankyou for theat post.
    Will that help one’s seated forward straddle splits,
    and i’d be interested in any vid tutorial you may have
    moving into a seated forward straddle splits.
    Oh, and some link / info regarding your (new?) DVDs.
    regards,
    M
    California

  3. Daniel wrote
    at 3:42 pm - 25th June 2009 Permalink

    I’ve been practicing these frontal splits for ages, since the beginning of this year, for 3 1/2 minutes each side, and still haven’t been able to reach the floor. I’m close to it, but I didn’t know I’m supposed to do it three times a day! I haven’t been practicing daily either however, more like once or twice a week. I can now do the sideway splits pretty quickly if my hips are opened up. Anyway, thanks for the tutorial!

  4. Lucas wrote
    at 7:10 am - 25th June 2009 Permalink

    Hi Carson,

    Thanks for writing… well, no, you can’t do this immediately if you are new. But if I only showed you poses that were easy to do immediately, that wouldn’t be so valuable, right?

    Hope that helps…

    Lucas
    YOGABODY

  5. Lucas wrote
    at 7:19 am - 25th June 2009 Permalink

    Hi Ben,

    The key is consistency of practice. I went from 24 inches off the ground
    in box/side splits to all the way flat in just over 4 weeks. Now, don’t get
    me wrong, it was still a pretty uncomfortable pose, but it was there… the
    comfort takes a bit longer.

    I wouldn’t call it hard “work” as you don’t really want to work at,
    just relax and practice long holds each day. Start with 40 breaths on each
    side with 3 sets daily. Make sure you are warmed up beforehand and
    be careful…

    Hope that helps!

    Lucas
    YOGABODY

  6. Josie wrote
    at 12:59 pm - 26th June 2009 Permalink

    HI Lucas, love your blogs and videos. Very informative, amusing and entertaining. Thank you.

  7. Free yoga classes wrote
    at 12:47 am - 6th July 2009 Permalink

    Great video I loved the lesson.

  8. Balakrishna wrote
    at 4:45 pm - 14th July 2009 Permalink

    I’ve been practicing different types of yogas daily in the early morning for a hour,but still want to learn more, please provide some pictures of frontal splits with theory. Only theory will not prove perfection.

  9. andre wrote
    at 10:27 pm - 15th July 2009 Permalink

    splits as been like a myth for me.
    never touched the floor. im still trying everyday but its still the same.
    its almost there, but never there.
    im not going to give up on that, but its harder than you say.
    i dont want to be a critic guy but its beeing hard to achive that goal.
    thank you for the toturial.
    ill be practicing more time on the position. if i get to the goal ill give the news.
    thanks for the emails they are quite interesting. :)

  10. patricia m wrote
    at 3:44 am - 23rd July 2009 Permalink

    Thank you, Lucas, for the ongoing education in yoga practice. Your videos and newsletters are packed with great information and easy to follow instruction. So many videos obscure the view of what one actually needs to do with one’s body during a pose. Yours are always clear, concise and straightforward.

    Looking forward to practicing this pose. As a chronic sufferer of short hamstring fibres, it will be a challenge, but the rewards are SO worth it.

  11. Lee wrote
    at 3:55 am - 11th October 2009 Permalink

    Thanks for the video Lucas!
    I have been practicing splits for almost 3 years, and still can’t quite get there. One reason is that I don’t stretch enough daily. What would be a good stretching routine to get these splits down fast?

    Thanks,
    L

  12. Sophie wrote
    at 4:57 am - 26th October 2009 Permalink

    hi lucas, will this help with supta kurmasana?

  13. meline talarian wrote
    at 12:08 pm - 12th November 2009 Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more with the previous posts about your emails being interesting and your tutorials clear and concise. Your email is one of the few that I look forward to reading every time because you do have valuable information to share and you have a very unique writing style. Thank you Lucas.

  14. nancy wrote
    at 9:24 pm - 12th November 2009 Permalink

    I enjoy your videos, and think this is a good front leg tutorial (although I wouldn’t recommend the block reach for anyone over 40). Now, how about Part II on the back leg?

  15. Eugene wrote
    at 5:08 am - 5th December 2009 Permalink

    Hi Lucas, I’ve been practicing regularly for almost six years, and frontal splits is a position that is starting to open up on this old guy. (I’m 62.) You nailed it when you said practice it often, and do it three times each side. In a typical class there’s not enough time to really work on it. I’m increasing my home practice to include this several times a week. I may never get to the floor, but the journey is very empowering! Thanks for sharing your good insights!
    Eugene

  16. angela wrote
    at 11:05 pm - 14th December 2009 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,
    I have been trying to get the splits since March 2009. I take pole classes so it is important to me to get them. I had no luck with my stretching until I bought a bottle of your fleximine. I started a foot off the ground and am now about 4″ away from the left front splits after doing your warm ups. I am in disbelief and so is my instructor. Pilates didn’t even open me up as your stretches and the pills have. I wish you had a tut specifically for pole dancers we would love it. I will be recommending your product to the girls that are struggling with the splits at studioveena.com. It is amazing. I was skeptical at first but I am almost there and with minimal effort. Your pills do every thing you say they will. Thank you for all your research and wealth of information. I will be a repeat customer. Angela

  17. Abdalla wrote
    at 2:00 pm - 3rd January 2010 Permalink

    Happy new year Lucas & thank you for all.
    For a month now i’m copping with a pain in my left leg (from the buttock down to my thigh my leg to the foot).I think it’s the sciatic nerve.But what i’m sure it’s not du to the lower back injury.When i tried to do the split with my left leg forward it is so painful.So can you help me please with some poses for that.

  18. Lucas Rockwood wrote
    at 8:42 am - 4th January 2010 Permalink

    Thanks Angela! Glad to hear you’re getting results… – Lucas

  19. Lucas wrote
    at 8:52 am - 4th January 2010 Permalink

    Hi Abdalla – yes, that does sound like a sciatic nerve issue, but could be something else. Difficult to say. Nerve issues are challenging and finicky. The key thing is to get nutritional support (omega-3′s and b vitamins… I use Chia and Liquid Clarity-B) and to really take it easy and not irritate it. Engaging muscles while stretching can help protect nerves. You might want to try to find a local teacher to give you some tips as well. Hope that helps! ~ Lucas

  20. Valeria wrote
    at 12:27 pm - 3rd March 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,
    I have broke my left knee ligament (the external cruciate or something like that). When I try to do the splits with my right knee on the front, and the left supporting in the back, (its hard to write technical stuff in english so please bare with my poor translations!!) the knee gets very unstable and it even has “sliped” out of its place. What I feel would help a lot is to put the knee on an “open” position… more like a split you’d do as a dancer. So finally the question: is it better not to do the split at all than trying to do it this way? Is there any way to make it feel more stable? Thanks!!!

  21. Lucas wrote
    at 12:36 pm - 3rd March 2010 Permalink

    Hello Valeria – thanks for writing. You really don’t want to mess with knees, particularly if you’ve had serious injury in the past. Stretching is going to be an important part of healing/strengthening, but perhaps splits variations are not the best choice at least for now… hope that helps!

    - Lucas

  22. Jim Watt wrote
    at 4:29 pm - 14th June 2010 Permalink

    IS THERE ANY ADVICE/VIDEO MATERIAL, ON THE LATERAL VERSION, NAMELY, THE SIDE/BOX SPLIT YOU COULD GIVE LUCAS PLEASE?

  23. Lucas wrote
    at 3:25 am - 15th June 2010 Permalink

    @Jim – Yes, I’ve got a new video. Check out the YOGABODY Revolution Show here

  24. Sornie wrote
    at 11:36 pm - 7th August 2010 Permalink

    I think you need to write more warnings for the newbies. Splits is really hard to do and can result varieties of pains in our muscles. I am still practicing this split pose and it may sound so easy but I promise it isn’t that easy to do. But by continuous practice anyone can do these.And I’m glad for the video you posted

  25. Bong wrote
    at 8:36 am - 12th August 2010 Permalink

    Great split there man! I envy you, I really cant do it but anyway thanks for the demonstration it is a great help to me. Gonna try and try till I do it!

  26. Carolyn wrote
    at 10:53 pm - 26th November 2010 Permalink

    Used to be able to do these, now after bilateral pelvic reconstruction surgery it will never happen. But this does help stretch my hamstrings.