About the pose

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (Standing Split Pose) is an Intermediate to Advanced Level pose practiced for the deeper opening of the hips, and hence forms part of the Hip Opening Yoga Sequences. The upward (urdhva) extending (prasarita) of one leg (eka pada) in this pose, is considered an inversion, while the stretching of the adductors of hips (inner thighs) along with the hamstrings is the primary focus.

The practice of Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (Standing Split Pose) also teaches students to make efforts to understand their body and its effects, and limitations. With this understanding, it helps to maintain a healthy body since in this posture the stretching of both sides (right and left) should be consciously done.


Anatomy

Standing Split Pose benefits the following muscles and hence can be included in yoga sequences with the corresponding muscle(s) focus:

  • Hamstrings
  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Psoas
  • Quadriceps

How to do the pose

  • 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.

FURTHER READINGS


Variations

  • If you are feeling steady in the pose try taking hold of the ankle with both hands.
  • Try Standing Splits at the wall.
  • 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.

Credits

Model Lydie
Yoga Mat b’EARTH  &  b’EARTH X by Beinks
Photographer Sophie Dupont
Content Tummee & Ekhart Yoga

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