For front to back splits, you can start with your back knee on the floor and your pelvis over your back knee. Squeeze your legs as if to prevent your legs from sliding apart. Then release.
Get used to this action, then each time you release, slide your front leg forwards just a little bit. Then squeeze and halt.
Have chairs nearby (or blocks in your hands) so that you can catch yourself if you find yourself going too far.
I've tried a number of different leg actions while using my legs to control their own decent. I'd suggest you do the same. It will give you more experience with your body. And it'll help you figure out for your self which action is the most helpful.
For a while I focused on the inner thighs.
If you have trouble focusing on both legs at the same time, focus on one leg first and then the other.
You may also find it helpful to activate the side glutes.
Another action you can experiment with is pressing your back foot into the floor, as if trying to lift your back knee.
For the front leg you could try pulling your heel back when you contract, as if trying to stand from the splits. Or you can try pressing your heel down during the activate phases.
Generally I find the scariest part is just before my front calf touches the floor. If you can see that your calf is only a few inches off of the floor, see if you can resist the urge to put your hands on the floor.
When (or if) you do get your pelvis to the floor, you may find that it feels great but you also want to get out as quickly as possible.
As you get more and more used to "touching down" see if you can hold this position and experiment with slowly relaxing your legs and then re-activating them as it trying to squeeze out of splits. You could also experiment with bending your back knee, grabbing the foot and pressing it down to the outside of the thigh similarly to hero pose (but with the thigh pointing down instead of up.)
When working towards splits, keep your spine long, including your neck.
Once you start working on doing the hands free splits, you may find that its easier to maintain leg tension if you do something with your hands. Whatever you do with them, make them feel long.
Although it is easier to get into splits if you turn your back leg out, I'd suggest keeping the back knee pointing down for a deeper psoas stretch.
You can also experiment with pushing your back foot down into the floor, as if trying to lift your back knee. Keep your pelvis square to the front.
Once you are used to getting your pelvis to the floor, then experiment with turning the back leg out. Careful with the back knee. Do this slowly.
To help work towards side-to-side splits, focus on pressing the back leg side of your pelvis downwards.
I've made fists in my version of this pose. At the time it felt cool.
Remember, while working towards the splits, keep your spine and neck long. Most particularly engage the front of your cervical spine, behind the throat.
For this variation of splits you can press the back shin into the wall. To prevent your back shin and leg from rolling inwards you can reach a hand back and place it to the inside of the lifted foot.
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
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Nauli kriya is a great party trick (look what I can do) but it is also a great way to train the intercostals and stretch the diaphragm.
One way to avoid Hip Joint Popping is by learning to feel the hip joint so that you can keep it centered. So what does centered mean?
IT Band Anatomy and Biomechanics
Anatomy and Biomechanics for Body Awareness and control focuses on understanding the anatomy and biomechanics relevant to feeling your body and controlling it.
When doing yoga poses or exercises for balance, stability and responsiveness are basic requiremenets for finding and keeping balanced.
Foot Anatomy and Biomechanics including Tibialis Posterior, Peroneus Longus, Peroneus Brevis and Tibialis Anterior .
Serratus Posterior Inferior can be used to help anchor the latissimus dorsai muscle (making it easier to do chin ups for example).
Having difficulty bending your thoracic spine backwards? Use your Levator Costarum muscles to lift your back ribs. Then use your erector spinae to bend your spine (and ribcage) backwards.
Improve Strength, Flexiblity, Body Awareness. Muscle control is at the heart of all of these.
You can practice scapular control with the arm movements of the dance of shiva. Scapular stabilization and control can be important when trying to bind in yoga poses like Marichyasana A.
Lifting up into eka pada bakasana from marichyasana A with tips on lifting up and balancing while transitioning from the binding yoga pose to the arm balance.
Grabbing a wrist behind your back. Tips for Binding in Marichyasana C.
How to grab your hand behind your back. Tips for binding in Marichyasana A.
Steps for working towards bound side angle so that you can bind a little more easily.
Modified Marichyasana B is done with the other leg not in lotus. This pose can still be challenging to bind it, so some tips on how to bind with awareness.
Tips for working towards binding in Bound Twisting Side Angle Pose.
Steps for Binding in Seated Half Bound Lotus Pose as well as modifications if you can't bind, and actions you can do when you do bind.
Balancing in side plank can be made easier to learn if you learn the necessary actions step-by-step with this sensational yoga poses yoga tutorial.
The standing forward bend yoga pose can be used to stretch or strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. It can also be used to stretch and strengthen the calves and as a balance exercise.
Yoga forward bends includes forwards bends for the hips and spine. Forward bends for the hips include both bent and straight straight positions.