If achieving the splits is on your bucket list, Yoga can help improve and increase your flexibility and allow you to perform splits. Follow these guidelines:
1. Start with daily stretches
Stretch a minimum of 10-15 minutes every day. Stretching first thing in the morning and again just before bedtime would be ideal. Stretch your back, hips, thighs and hamstrings.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Stand with feet about shoulder width and firmly planted. Bend at the waist keeping your hips and buttocks high in the air and place both hands on the mat in front of you. Keep your head in line with the rest of the body, you should be looking at your knees and feet when in position.
From your Downward Facing Dog position step your right foot forward between your hands into a “lunging” position. Shift your weight onto the balls of your feet and lift your torso upward. Your hips should now be aligned and parallel with the front of the mat. Lift your arms up and press your palms together and look upward toward your hands. Hold this Warrior 1 position for five breathing cycles and then resume the Downward Facing Dog. Switch legs and perform the Warrior 1 from the other side.
4. Bodyweight Lunges
Stand with your feet together and hands on your hips. Step off (lunge) with your right foot forward into a fencer’s lunge position. Drop your body as low as possible and hold the stretch for 10 cycles. Lunges will increase flexibility and make your splits easier.
5. Monkey Pose
From your Downward Facing Dog position, step your right foot forward as if going into the Warrior 1. But leave your hands planted firmly on the floor. Lower your left knee into the mat as you point your toes. Straighten the front leg as you shift your hips back.
Lower your hips as far as possible as you try to keep your right leg straight. Once your hips are all the way to the floor, lift your arms straight above you. Hold for five breaths, place your hands on the floor and slide the right heel toward your body and resume the Downward Facing Dog position.
6. Sun Salutation
Lower your body to the floor and place your palms flat on the mat on each side of your body. Breathe slowly in and out and move deeper into the position. Inhale deeply and rest your weight on the tips of your fingers. Keep your back flat during this movement.
Breathe out slowly and move back into the “Downward Facing Dog” position.
The splits are the ultimate feat of flexibility, stretch twice daily and practice these yoga positions and you will soon be able to perform your splits.