Standing Splits / Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana
Step by step
- Starting in Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend.
- Inhale lengthen your spine and come onto your fingertips.
- Bring the weight into your left foot.
- On your next inhale lift your right leg up behind you parallel with the floor as in Warrior III.
- Internally rotate the right leg by rolling the right inner thigh up.
- As you exhale fold over your standing leg bringing the hands back to either size of your foot, while at the same time lifting the right leg higher.
- Work on keeping the hips as level as you can rather than lifting the leg as high as you can.
- Keep the standing leg engaged by lifting the knee cap and front of thigh.
- Press through the ball of the raised foot.
- If you feel steady take hold of the back of your left ankle with your left hand.
- Come out of the pose by lowering the leg back to Uttanasana.
- Stay here for a few breaths before repeating on the other side.
Work on the same actions of this pose in Warrior III with your hands on blocks or a stack of books. This can help you get used to keeping the hips square and the thigh internally rotated. From here you can come into Standing Splits by bending the arms, removing the blocks and walking your hands closer to your foot.
Pressing out through the ball of the lifted leg will help to keep it lifted.
To help keep the hips square press the top of the thigh of the standing leg back taking care not to overextend the knee.
- Tones and strengthens the legs, feet and ankles.
- Improves balance and focus.
- Stretches the hamstrings, calves and quads.
- It is a mild inversion increasing blood flow to the brain and calming the nervous system.
Watch out for
- Avoid this pose if you have ankle or knee injuries or problems with your blood pressure that prevent you doing inversions.
- Locking or hyperextending the knee of the standing leg. Keep a slight bend in the knee if you are prone to this.
- Go for the stretch on the front of the lifted thigh rather than opening up the hip to get the leg higher.
- If you are feeling steady in the pose try taking hold of the ankle with both hands.
- You can also come into Standing Splits from a Lunge as Aki shows in the suggested class below.
- Try Standing Splits as part of a balance sequence moving from Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana to Warrior III to Standing Splits and then from here back to Utthita Hasta Padangustasana with your hands on your hips.
- Complementary poses
- Try it in class