Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana: Standing Splits Pose
Urdhva prasarita ekapadasana (OORD-vah pra-sa-REE-tah EH-kah pahd-AS-ah-nah) is a great pose for practicing balance and increasing flexibility in the hamstrings. Standing splits also helps stabilize the hips and pelvis (with correct, closed-hip alignment), 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 is physically challenging and asks to respect where you are today. Think of your lifted leg as an opportunity to strive and your lower leg as a reminder to be patient with your capacity at this moment.
- 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.
- Begin in a lunge with your right foot forward. Place your hands on either side of your front foot, on blocks or the ground.
- Shift your weight onto your right foot and slide your left foot in, then lift it off the ground.
- Find a halfway lift in your torso, then fold your chest toward your toes.
- Lift your left leg up as high as you can while keeping hips level to the ground.
- 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.
- Urdhva = upward
- Prasarita = wide stance
- Eka = one
- Pada = foot
- Asana = pose
- Stretches hip flexors, calves, and hamstrings.
- Creates stability in pelvis and hips.
Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose
Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-ah-nah) honors the great leap made by Hanuman, the famous monkey god from the Ramayana, across the ocean from India to the mountains of Sri Lanka. Front splits pose demands flexibility, strength, and stability.
Philosophy + Origin
More than just an incredible leap, Hanuman is remembered, celebrated, and worshiped because of his great devotion and courage. To be devoted, one must be bold enough to stand firmly in their beliefs, selflessly serving others and putting others’ needs above their own.
Because of its physical demands, it’s easy to get caught up in “achieving” the outward appearance of the posture. As such, it’s important to keep your ego in check as you dedicate yourself to the posture. Above all, invite kindness and selflessness to flow freely from the posture. As you practice, ask yourself how you can embody Hanuman’s devotion both in your physical yoga practice and your everyday life.