Achieving the Full Split Pose can be the ultimate flex (excuse the pun!). It requires flexibility in your glutes, calves, quads, hamstrings and hips, so it is no easy feat. Being able to do a full split can open up a whole new world of yoga poses, so it is no wonder it is on many of our yogi bucket lists. But don’t be disheartened, with the right yoga poses, the Full Splits is achievable.
So to help you achieve your goal we have outlined 6 popular yoga stretches that will help you on your journey. We recommend practicing these for at least 10 minutes each day. The more you practice, the faster you will achieve your yogi goal. You’ve got this!
6 Stretches For The Splits
1. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
The Low Lunge is the perfect yoga pose for stretching into the splits. Incorporating this into your daily routine will increase hip flexibility which is essential for achieving the full splits.
Begin in a Downward Facing Dog pose, and from there step your right foot between your hands, parallel with your knees. Lowering your left knee onto the mat, uncurl your toes so the sole of your foot is facing the sky. Hold this pose for 5-7 deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
2. Half Split Pose
This pose is all in the name, perfect for helping you on your way to achieving a Full Split Pose. Practicing this pose daily will help you stretch your hamstrings and your calf muscles, essential if you have been sitting at a desk all day.
Starting in a Low Lunge pose, shift your weight backwards, resting your left knee and shin on your yoga mat whilst straightening your right leg outwards. Your right heel should be planted on your mat with your hand holding you steady on either side. Hold this pose for 5-7 deep breaths before repeating on the other side. If you feel comfortable you can make this a deeper stretch by folding your torso forward.
3. Reclining Hand-To-Big-To Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
If your biggest hurdle for achieving the Full Splits Pose is tight hamstrings, this yoga pose is definitely one not to miss! If you have one, a yoga strap can also help prevent injury and ease you into this stretch.
Begin by lying on your back on your yoga mat. Bring your right knee to your chest before straightening it towards the sky. As your flexibility improves you will be able to straighten that knee and make this a deeper stretch. However, if you are just starting out on your journey to a Full Split, keep that knee in a soft bend to prevent injury. Hold this for 5-7 deep breaths before alternating to your other leg. If you have a yoga strap, try looping the strap around the sole of your foot, this will allow you to have more control.
4. Reclining Quad Stretch (Supta Matsyendrasana Variation)
This one is for the quads! Quads are another vital area to stretch before being able to safely achieve a Full Split and a muscle that can be particularly prone to stubborn tightness.
Start by comfortably lying on your back and hugging both of your knees to your chest. With your right hand, reach over to your left foot and lower that knee towards your mat. This will create a nice stretch that you will feel across your thigh muscles. With your left hand continue to hold your right knee to your chest, ensuring your core is engaged to protect your lower back. Hold this pose for 5-7 deep breaths before switching to the other side.
5. Happy Baby
The Happy Baby pose will help you improve your hip flexion and hamstring flexibility, vital areas to stretch for a safe journey to the Full Splits.
Start by lying on your back and hugging your knees to your chest. With your right hand grasp the outside of your right foot, and with your left hand grapes the outside of your left foot, pulling your knees towards your shoulders and the soles of your feet towards the sky. Hold this pose for 5-7 deep breaths.
6. Full Splits Pose with Yoga Block Assist
If you feel you are close, but not quite ready to make a full split, using a yoga block can be the perfect way to help you safely take a step towards your goal.
Begin this pose by returning to your Half Split Pose, and switch it up by placing your yoga block under the glute of your front legs. Using your hands flat on your mat either side of you for support, lift the back knee off your mat and straighten the leg as far as you feel comfortable. Hold this pose for 5-7 deep breaths on each side. As you increase your flexibility you can lower the height of your yoga block until you no longer feel you need one at all. And voila! The Full Split Pose.