Standing Splits  -Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana

Step by step

  • Starting in Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend.
  • Lengthen your spine and come onto your fingertips as you inhale.
  • Bring the weight into your left foot.
  • On your next inhalation, lift your right leg up behind you parallel with the floor as in Warrior 3.
  • 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 side of your foot, while lifting the right leg higher.
  • Keep the standing leg engaged by lifting the knee cap and front of thigh.
  • Press through the ball of the raised foot.
  • Come out of the pose by lowering the leg back to Uttanasana.
  • Stay here for a few breaths before repeating on the other side.

Beginners tips

  • Start by working on Warrior III pose. From there come into Standing Splits.
  • Work on keeping the hips level rather than lifting the leg as high as you can. Press the top of your standing leg back without locking the knee.
  • Pressing out through the ball of the lifted leg will help to keep it lifted.

Benefits

  • 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.
  • Avoid locking the standing knee.
  • Focus on stretching the front of the lifted thigh - keeping the hips square and level - rather than opening up the hip to get the leg higher.

Variations

  • If you are feeling steady in the pose try taking hold of the ankle with both hands.
  • Try Standing Splits at the wall, as Sandra demonstrates it in her Monkey up the wall class.
  • 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 Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana with your hands on your hips.