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sadhamstrings

Need Some Help Understanding My Monkey

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Since November I've been devoting at least an hour a day mainly to the front splits.  I've made slow but steady progress (started about 11 inches away from the ground (!) lol, but now about 6 inches). 

 

What I've noticed is that most of the stretch seems to come from the back leg (and my backside!) and have always had a slight bend in the front leg.  Do I need to focus more attention to the front? Or will the slight bend sort itself out when (if!) I get to the ground? 

 

Atm, I'm taking things slowly; 'sitting' in the split shape for extended periods of time and mainly concentrating on getting the hips straight and the knees properly aligned, rather than striving too much.  So I'm wondering should I work to get that front leg straight as well, before going for the lower form? 

 

Cheers. 

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This is a good question. Just so I'm understanding - your back leg is straight and your front leg is not? 

If the front leg is not straight, that's hamstring work for the front leg. Make best friends with this pose. It's a beast! 

I was also taught to ease into splits by using blocks under each hand, hands in line w the shoulders. I was taught to keep the back toes curled, pressed into the floor and slowly scoot them back with control as I lowered down and (tried to!!) straighten out both legs. I do think your front leg will straight out when you get to the ground. Just do some hamstring work and keep at it and you'll get there.

LarryD517 and sadhamstrings like this

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Thanks a lot Candace, yes, that's exactly the problem; I've seemed to have developed quite a bit of movement in the back area and tbh, when I'm in that position for long enough I feel I could slip down even more, but it's a combination of fear and that pesky front leg (but hey, I'm living up to my username I guess lol). 

 

But damn, you've just linked to my all-time hated pose I think.  :( 

 

No, in all seriousness I will embrace it and make it part of my routine now. 

 

The way you described on how to use blocks and keeping the toes curled is exactly how I'm doing it, so this is good to hear (although I do flip my back toes out when I'm in my edge). 

YogaByCandace likes this

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Woof, yeah that pose is ba-rutal! BUT! You know what that say - keep your friends close and enemies closer!  :3: I am willing to bet that once you start incorporating that pose into your practice you are going to see huge improvement in the splits.

sadhamstrings likes this

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Haha, that's a good way of putting it :P

 

Thanks a lot Candace, I'll be sure to make this pose into one of my split staples then.  God help me!, both my backside and my hams are going to be on fire now.  ^_^   :lol:

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I have always found with any pose that counterposes are very helpful. Hanumanasana is in it's self a counterpose by switching sides. And it is also considered a backbend. The counterposes would be a seated forward fold, a wide-legged seated forward fold or Agnistambhasana (Fire log pose). And there are others as well.

 

Wide-legged seated forward fold is also a very humane way to prepare for the center-splits. Ahimsa to ourselves.

Jhocy and sadhamstrings like this

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Ah, interesting points there Anahata, and I never thought of the counterpose aspect merely by the act of switching sides.  Yeah, I'm dying to try the backbend and forward bend aspect of it as well, although I'm guessing I won't be able to really do that until I'm on the floor.  Blimey, it's a versatile pose, which I've never really thought through tbh.  One of the things I'm doing is lunging in front of a wall, with my back leg against the wall.  Initially it was a killer on the psoas (?) but now find it really easy, and can't wait to incorporate that aspect of it as well.  But again, I'm not low enough yet I guess. 

 

Does my head sometimes though; how strange the body works.  I can sit all day at my desk in fire log pose and can do a pretty intense forward bend in it as well.  I can also do cobblers with both knees on the ground no problems.  But can I do a decent lizard?  Can I do a half decent Wide-legged seated?  Nope :( 

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Wide-legged seated forward fold is also a very humane way to prepare for the center-splits. Ahimsa to ourselves.

 

I like that approach!  Like sadhamstrings, I find some poses are easy for me but there are some which challenge me every time I try to go into them.  Wide-legged seated forward fold comes easy to me because it gives my fat belly room to settle in, whereas standing forward bend is a struggle because my flab won't have anywhere else to go but get squeezed against my legs!

 

Lizard is another great hip opener that I love!  I can do that no problem but pigeon pose?  I can't keep my sitting bones close enough to the mat.

Anahata likes this

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Yeah, I'm dying to try the backbend and forward bend aspect of it as well, although I'm guessing I won't be able to really do that until I'm on the floor.  

 Sadhamstrings, Hanumanasana is always considered a backbend regardless of the version of the pose. Even Hanumanasana C , with a forward fold, there are some components of a backbend in the back leg. Although the back leg may not be very deep it is the beginning of a backbend. At a minimum the quads will be lengthened. If you can picture this pose http://yogabycandace.com/blog/2014/7/14/how-to-do-parsvottanasana with the feet getting further apart, eventually towards the splits the quad on the back leg eventually gets lengthened. The pose becomes such an intense hamstring lengthening that we may not pay attention to what is going on in other parts of the body.

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