Open Your Pelvis: Deep Straddle, Front Splits in Yoga


By: Gaia Staff  |  February 7, 2013

I grew up in the 1980s in the U.S.A. and one of my first fitness memories was of the “Thigh Master”. This invention was sold as toning the thighs and giving a sleek looking leg to the user. The exercise had the result of tightening the inner thigh muscles. Without much technical instruction the do-it-yourself home workout junkie would just squeeze the inner thighs muscles, including the Adductors, Gracilis and Pectineus. When I started practicing yoga the one area of serious tightness that I found on my body was my inner thighs. When your inner thighs are tight and over worked it can restrict healthy inward and outward rotation of the hip joint. In the yoga practice we rely on a healthy range of motion in the hip joint to practice most of the postures. Yoga practitioners who find their inner thighs a little tight need to take the time to understand how to soften and release this tender area in order to practice safely.

The thighs form the gateway to the pelvis and opening the muscles along the thighs takes patience, humility and good alignment. Between the hamstrings, the quadriceps and the inner thigh muscles, the upper legs create a solid protection for the pelvis. In yoga you practice how to let go of all unnecessary protection so that the body can relax. In essence flexibility is about laying down the armor of the body so its natural state of peace and harmony can be revealed. That’s easier said than done.

When I first started attempting to deepen my front splits I realized that my inner thighs were blocking the pathway. This is a sensitive area to work with in the body that cannot be rushed. In the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series many students who are eager to open their inner thighs in postures like Upavistha and Supta Konasana end up creating injury out of their enthusiasm. As a teacher I strongly encourage students not to push themselves too hard while in these postures. Eager students will sometimes grab hold of their feet and attempt to force their torso down to the floor between their thighs. But without waiting for the body to relax and release its protection, the tightness around the thighs cannot release and they only end up making their body tighter. In the worst-case scenario that I have witnessed, a student injures their hamstring or inner thigh attachment around the sitting bones while attempting to go deeper. This can all be avoided if you work patiently, surrender the go and apply healthy alignment principles while working the yoga postures.

In the yoga practice, we cannot control when the body will release and open. All we can do is show up each day and practice while letting go of the need to get any particular result. The openings and transformations that happen through yoga practice occur because we surrender ourselves to the divine and in that grace we experience our natural freedom. There is no way to rush that process. But I know first hand how frustrating it can be to turn up every day on your mat and not feel like there is any improvement. When I work with front splits I get impatient and want to hurry along the tedious journey of softening an area of tightness. If you are also working on front splits this video will help you find a safe path to opening the inner thighs.


 

Kino MacGregor

Dedicated to transporting the torch of Ashtanga Yoga throughout the world, Kino Macgregor broadcasts the amazing practices and benefits to all.
In her motivational yet easy going approach, Macgregor aids her students in developing and deepening their understanding of their own life through yoga. As one of only 14 people in the United States to receive Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga from its founder, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India, Macgregor finds that yoga?s most authentic manifestation is through its message of spiritual empowerment, composed flexibility, and expressive harmony.
As the youngest woman to receive the Ashtanga yoga certification, Kino Macgregor has completed the challenging Third Series and is now learning the Fourth Series. Based at her yoga teaching center in Miami, she travels throughout the world sharing her message of Ashtanga Yoga.
Without any previous knowledge in movement training, Kino MacGregor tried her first yoga class at the early age of 19. Three years later, she joined Govinda Kai’s Mysore-style classes in New York City and became a devoted Ashtanga Yoga practitioner. After seven months of traditional Ashtanga practice, Macgregor traveled to Mysore, India to meet her true spiritual teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (“Guruji”). After seven years of consistent trips to Mysore, at the age of 29, she received the Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga and has since has worked tirelessly to spread the inspiration and benefits of practicing.
After devoting a major portion of her life in personal growth work, Kino Macgregor returned to her home of Miami Beach to create an area devoted to the incorporation of yoga, and holistic health. In 2006, she and her husband, Tim Feldmann, founded Miami Life Center, where together they now facilitate daily classes, and workshops in addition to upholding an international traveling and teaching schedule.
As a life coach and Ph.D. candidate in holistic health with a Master?s Degree from New York University, Kino Macgregor integrates her passion into awareness and empowerment within her yoga teachings. She has been featured in Yoga Journal, Yoga Mind Body Spirit, Yoga Joyful Living, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Ocean Drive Magazine, Boca Raton Magazine, Florida Travel & Life Magazine, Six Degrees Magazine as well as appearing on Miami Beach?s Plum TV and the CBS Today Show. Her individual products include four Ashtanga Yoga DVDs (Kino MacGregor ? A Journey, A Workshop; Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series; Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate Series; Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga), an Ashtanga Yoga practice card and a podcast on yoga. She is currently working on a fourth DVD. Trailers and excerpts from the DVDs can be viewed at her website (kinoyoga.com) or on YouTube.


 

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