Yoga For Flexibility: Standing Splits (30 Min Practice Along)

hi friends kathy madeo here back with another class this one all about standing splits if you are interested in increasing flexibility want to up level your splits practice this video is for you i want to take just a moment to chat about why this pose is so hard the lifted leg the one that's in the air has nothing to press into so it requires something that is called active flexibility meaning the agonist muscle the big muscle actually your glute maximus needs to be really strong in order to extend the leg up up right and also your hip flexor the opposite muscle the antagonist muscle needs to have quite a bit of flexibility in order to get the lifted leg nice and straight so oftentimes that's why when we say when muscles are tight sometimes they're also weak and sometimes we're referring to actually the opposite muscle so a big key to this pose is increasing your flexibility in the hip flexor and increasing your strength and your glutes now the other thing we don't usually think about with splits is forward fold so when we forward fold we're doing something that's anatomically called compression we're bringing our torso to our thighs and if our forward folds aren't deep again we're going to be inhibited here because for a standing split you're basically in a deep forward fold having a deep forward fold if we think about these muscles the antagonist agonist muscle would require that the whole back line of your body is open and flexible and the front has strength enough to compress so just things for you to think about as we navigate through this practice and as you start to unlock your own standing split for this practice it would be great if you had a set of blocks or something that can elevate you a bit off the floor a strap or something like it and some wall space let's get started make sure you have your strap and arms reach lay on your back and set up for some bridge lifts heels underneath your knees on an inhale engage those glutes to lift the pelvis up we'll take our arms up over our head as well and then set everything down and we'll do that just keep moving so warming up and strengthening our glutes to help lift the leg in our standing splits keep it going every time you lift the pelvis think of engaging the glutes and again we'll keep the arms down lift to the hips again feel the gluteus maximus engage some of the most powerful muscles in your body here and we will take the right leg lift it up straighten the leg or keep it bent if you're feeling tight and we'll just dip down and up down up up three two one keep the hips up and we'll switch so left leg up don't worry if it's straight just yet i'll get it there three two one set it down hug your right knee into your chest you can straighten your left leg flatten your low back here grab the strap bend your left leg so you're just like this you'll place the strap around the sole of the foot if you don't have a strap you'll clasp your hands behind your right leg going to pump the right leg in between bent and straight here i'll do this a few times [Applause] and now we'll work to straighten the leg and yours might be lower than mine that's all good just wherever you can get a straight leg engage your right quadricep and as you do that we'll straighten the left leg breathe here you could actively push your foot into the strap strap into the foot now if you can do this without using the strap right you don't need the strap breathe or maybe your hands are here all good remember your leg might look like this that's all good too take your left hand let it stabilize your left leg so hand onto the top of the thigh bring your right leg all the way to the right extend through the knee joint reach out through your right heel we'll keep the foot flexed here to stretch the achilles heel and calf as well inhale reach the leg up hold so this is that active flexibility we're not using our hands point your foot and then stretch your leg all the way down and we'll switch sides pull your left knee into your chest flatten your low back take your strap if you're using it around the sole of the left foot and we'll take these leg pumps here we'll do two more and now straighten your left leg as you straighten your right leg breathing here so again wherever your leg is is just perfect just making sure it's straight here in this position grab whatever you can whether that's your strap or your foot keep both thighs kind of rotating inward right thigh bone presses down as well and we'll take our left leg all the way to the left now don't let the right hip come off the mat we want to open our hips here so keep the right hip i'm actually taking my right hand to my right hip and grounding it down inhale come up release but keep the leg up and work to really straighten the leg point your foot don't worry about how high the leg is maybe you can go even closer to your chest and we'll stretch that leg out good just bend your knees roll over and meet me in downward facing dog free to pedal your feet here a little bit although your legs hopefully feeling nice and open already we'll sweep our right leg up and let's stay here for a moment so if you think about this we've got a split and we've got this need for active flexibility in the lifted leg i see a lot of people with bent legs here and so i want you to straighten your leg even if that lowers it a lot and maybe it looks like this and that's all good keep breathing think of reaching your right heel up to the ceiling and i want you to bring your mind's eye to your right glute muscle and engage it keep straightening through your right knee joint and on your exhale we'll place the right foot drop your back knee you can pat it with a blanket if it bothers you and we're coming into our low lunge reach your arms up continue to move your pelvis forward so we're stretching here through the groin and the inner thighs as well as the hip flexor the psoas and you can even engage your left glute maximus here that's going to send signals for the psoas to stretch on your exhale we'll fly our hands back and hold without hands for a moment and a runner's stretch keep your right foot flexed holding stay kind of upright through the torso place your hands down they can be on two blocks if they don't reach the floor and drag your right heel back breathing for five four keep dragging your heel back this is a pnf technique to help increase the stretch and we will fold it actually sends signals to a tendon to tell the muscles that it's safe to relax it's almost like we're tricking the muscles we'll be playing with that a couple times in this class let's do that one more time so halfway lift drag your right heel back five four three two one and fold deep breaths [Applause] another breath inhale bend your front leg step it back downward facing dog left leg lifts and we're just refining our three legged downward facing dog draw the left inner thigh in towards the midline remember lowering your leg if you need to in order t

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