• T
  • H
  • M
  • Half Side Splits
    An Inner Thigh Stretch and Full Split Preparation Pose

    half side split, inner thigh stretch with elbows straight
    Half side splits is a easy (less terrifying) way to work towards full side splits. It's also a great pose for stretching the inner thighs.

    The pose is actually very simple. Instead of having both knees straight as in full side splits, bend one knee and place it on the floor. The other knee is straight. Slowly work at sliding the foot of the straight leg and the bent knee apart.

    You can start of with your hands on the floor with your elbows straight (as shown at right). As you go lower you can bend your elbows and place your forearms on the floor.

    As you go lower yet you can go back on to your hands, and bend your elbows to lower your chest as if doing a push up.

    With this last variation you can then repeatedly lift your chest to add weight to the inner thigh stretch and then lower your chest back down to rest and recover.

    Basic Positioning and Moving into the Inner Thigh Stretch

    When getting into the half split position place your knee and the heel of your straight leg on the same line. Positio your pelvis in the vertical plane that passes up through the knee and foot.

    In other words, when viewed from the side, your knee, foot and pelvis should all be aligned.

    half side split, inner thigh stretch with elbows on the floor

    Viewed from the top your ribcage should be 90 degrees to your thighs.

    Generally I suggest students fold over their matt and place their bent knee on that for comfort. Have the foot on the bare floor so that it can easily slide away from the bent knee.

    As your foot moves away from your knee, move your elbows in the same direction so that you keep your body at 90 degrees to your legs.

    As you can see from the picture above I'm not letting my head hang, nor is my chest sagging down between my shoulders. When doing this inner thigh stretch I'd suggest keeping your spine, and neck, long. And use your shoulders to push your ribcage up away from the floor.

    Engaging and Relaxing the Inner Thighs

    To help relax your thighs so that you can stretch deeper practice activating them. As you inhale squeeze your inner thighs as it to pull your foot and knee together. At the same time lengthen your spine by pulling your ribs away from your pelvis and your ears away from your ribcage.

    As you exhale you can relax your spine and also relax your inner thighs and let your foot slide away from your knee.

    You could also activate your inner thighs by pressing your foot (and knee) down into the floor each time you inhale. Again relax as you exhale.

    Or in either case focus on slowly activating your legs and then slowly relaxing the when you are ready.

    Paying Attention To Tight Adductors

    The adductors are ideally the inner thigh muscles that you are stretching while doing this half split and also full split yoga poses. As you do half side splits focus on feeling your inner thighs. See if you can notice the line of greatest tension along your inner thighs. When you inhale focus on contracting the muscle that is most tense. Then see if it releases when you relax the tension.

    Lifting and Lowering the Chest

    Lifting and lowering the chest while in half side splits is a great way to add weight to the pose and increase the inner thigh stretch.

    If you can't quite get your chest to the floor then prop it with blocks. (Sorry ladies if this isn't quite feasible for you. If you have room perhaps try perching the lower edge of your ribcage on the block or blocks.)

    half side split, inner thigh stretch using yoga blocks to support the chest.

    Prior to liftng your chest engage your inner thighs. Then slowly press down with your hands to lift your chest. Lower your chest and then relax your thighs. You can hold the raised position or slowly lift and lower either in time with your breath or as you see fit.

    Adding More Weight To Your Inner Thighs

    An additional way to add weight to half side splits, or if you like, leverage, is to move your hands or elbows, further forwards. In the first picture below my elbows are almost under my shoulders. In the second picture I've added weight by moving my elbows further forwards.

    half side split, inner thigh stretch with elbows on the floorhalf side split, inner thigh stretch with elbows on the floor

    Cheating the Inner Thigh Stretch

    One way to cheat the stretch when doing half side splits is to move your hips further forwards as I'm doing in the picture below.

    half side split, inner thigh stretch with chest on the floor

    Sometimes it just happens. If you do get your hips to the floor by moving yoru pelvis forwards, then enjoy the sensation for a few moments and then lift yourself up and push your hips back a little bit. Wait till your hips sink down and then move back further.

    I use this method in full splits. In full splits, so that I know my hips are in linke with heels I do it with my heels against a wall. When I feel my butt against the wall I know my pelvis and legs are in line.

    Return to Home Page

    Return to Yoga for Flexibility from Half Side Splits

    Stretching to Improve Flexibility

    Shoulder and Arm Flexibility

    Back Flexibility

    Psoas Stretching

    Hip Stretches

    Leg Stretches

    More Stretches

    Improve Strength and Flexibility

    Relaxed Meridian Stretching

    What's New?

    Stability in Yoga Poses

    Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Stability in Yoga Poses"

    Arm Supported Yoga Poses

    Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.

    Continue reading "Arm Supported Yoga Poses"

    Joint Pain Yoga

    Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Joint Pain Yoga"

    Feeling Your Center of Gravity

    Make balancing easier. Use pressure sensitivity to feel your center of gravity.

    Continue reading "Feeling Your Center of Gravity"

    How to do Squats

    A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.

    Continue reading "How to do Squats"

    Camel Yoga Pose

    Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.

    Continue reading "Camel Yoga Pose"

    Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability

    The transverse abdominis can have an affect on sacroiliac joint stability as well as stability of the lumbar spine and the T12/L1 junction.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability"

    Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy

    Fluid tensegrity joint anatomy looks at the tendency of the body to maintain space within the joints. The question is, how is this space maintained?

    Continue reading "Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy"

    Why Improve Body Awareness

    Why improve body awareness? So that you can use your body more effectively and fix problems yourself when they arise.

    Continue reading "Why Improve Body Awareness"


    How is tensegrity maintained at the joints even as the body adopts non-tensegrity postures or movements?

    Continue reading "Tensegrity"

    Being Present

    Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.

    Continue reading "Being Present"

    Pigeon Yoga Pose

    Pigeon yoga pose variations include lifting the front hip and resting it on the floor. Learn how to activate the front hip in either variation for better hip control and more effective stretching.

    Continue reading "Pigeon Yoga Pose"

    Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses

    Creating tensegrity in yoga poses. What is tensegrity, why should we aim to achieve it when doing yoga or any other activity where mindfullness is required?

    Continue reading "Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses"

    Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    Obturator externus anatomy for yoga teachers. If you have hip pain in forward bends and your hip feels weak, obturator externus may be the culprit.

    Continue reading "Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"

    Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings

    Yoga stretches for tight hamstrings. Learn to feel when your legs are active and when they are relaxed so that you can gradually stretch tight hamstrings.

    Continue reading "Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings"

    Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses

    An experienced yogi's yoga pose has a sense of bigness. How do you as a beginner add bigness to your yoga poses?

    Continue reading "Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses"

    Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1

    Basic yoga sequence for flexibility. Includes hip, hamstring, quad stretches and neck stretches and recovery exercises.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1"

    Back Strengthening Yoga Poses

    Back strengthening yoga poses can be used to strengthen the back of the body including hamstrings, glutes and both the lower and upper back.

    Continue reading "Back Strengthening Yoga Poses"

    Handstand Intro 6

    A look at getting your feet off of the wall and balancing in handstand plus tips for greater arm stability.

    Continue reading "Handstand Intro 6"

    Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength

    Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.

    Continue reading "Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength"