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Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana: Standing Splits Pose


Urdhva prasarita eka padasana (OORD-vah pra-sa-REE-tah EH-kah pahd-AS-ana) is a great pose for practicing balance and increasing flexibility in the hamstrings. An effective way to strengthen your entire lower body, standing splits also helps stabilize the hips and pelvis, making it a great pose for building a solid foundation for your asana practice.

Philosophy + Origin

A variation of Hanumanasana (front splits pose), standing splits requires many of the same physical attributes and awareness. This version of the splits asks you to be physically challenged, but to respect where you are and why you are here. Think of your lifted leg as an opportunity to strive and your lower leg as a reminder to be patient with your capacity in this moment.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place two blocks under your hands to bring the ground closer to you.
  • Put the sole of your lifted foot against a wall for more stability.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in a lunge with your right foot forward. Place your hands on either side of your front foot, on blocks or the ground.
  2. Shift your weight onto your right foot and slide your left foot in, then lift it off the ground.
  3. Find a halfway lift in your torso, then fold your chest toward your toes.
  4. Lift your left leg up as high as  you can while keeping hips level to the ground.
  5. Hold for up to 60 seconds before lowering the left leg to a forward fold. Pause for a few breaths then step the right foot back and repeat on the other side.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Urdhva = upward
  • Prasarita = wide stance
  • Eka = one
  • Pada = foot
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Lengthens leg muscles, specifically hip flexors, calves, and hamstrings.
  • Creates stability in pelvis and hips.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Promotes balance and patience.
  • Calms the mind.

MANTRA:

Om Bija Mantra

The bija Om represents everything — the beginning, middle and end; the past, present and future. Om contains all the sounds of humanity, nature, and machinery; it is the hum of the earth. Chanting Om cultivates balance and patience.

MUDRA: Apana Mudra

To remind yourself of the importance of rooting down in your standing leg, practice Apana Mudra, which enhances the downward flow of energy as well as calmness and ease. Bring the tips of your middle and ring finger to your thumb. Straighten and extend your pinky and index fingers up.

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