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Standing Splits (Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana): Find Balance and Liberation

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

In the realm of yoga, there exists a multitude of postures that offer unique benefits to the mind, body, and spirit. Each pose carries its essence and purpose, inviting practitioners to explore the depths of their physical and spiritual awareness. Among these captivating postures is the Standing Splits Pose or Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana, a dynamic asana that embodies grace, strength, and freedom. In this blog post, we will dive into the world of the Standing Split Pose, unraveling its meaning, benefits, variations, and safety considerations. So, roll out your yoga mat, and let's embark on this journey together.

Standing Splits

What Is Standing Splits Pose?

Standing Splits Pose, also known as Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana in Sanskrit, is a standing balance pose that requires strength, flexibility, and focus. In this posture, one leg extends high into the air while the other leg remains grounded. The torso folds forward, creating a beautiful display of extension and openness. Standing Splits Pose demands both physical and mental stability, encouraging practitioners to find their equilibrium and release any limitations that may hold them back.


The Standing Splits Pose symbolizes the quest for balance and liberation. As we elevate one leg towards the heavens, we strive for higher consciousness and spiritual growth. The grounded leg represents our connection to the Earth, reminding us to stay rooted in our foundations and embrace stability. This pose urges us to let go of inhibitions, reach for new heights, and embody the freedom that lies within us.


How to Do Standing Splits Pose

To practice Standing Splits Pose, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Begin standing at the top of your yoga mat, with your feet hip-width apart and arms relaxed by your sides.

  2. Shift your weight onto your left leg and engage your core for stability.

  3. Slowly raise your right leg straight up, extending it towards the ceiling. Flex your right foot to activate the leg muscles.

  4. Hinge forward at the hips, folding your torso over your left leg. Reach your hands towards the floor or place them on blocks for support.

  5. Find your balance and lengthen your spine. Allow your head to hang freely, releasing any tension in your neck.

  6. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for several breaths, finding a comfortable stretch in your hamstrings and hips.

  7. To release the pose, gently lower your right leg back down and return to standing.

  8. Repeat the pose on the other side, shifting your weight to your right leg and raising your left leg towards the sky.

Standing Splits

When to Do Standing Splits Pose

Standing Splits Pose can be practiced at any time during your yoga practice. However, it is particularly beneficial for warming up the body, building strength and flexibility, and preparing for more challenging asanas. It can also be incorporated into a flow sequence or performed as a standalone pose to cultivate focus and stability.


Preparatory Poses

Before attempting Standing Splits Pose, it is helpful to prepare your body with the following poses:

  1. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): This pose stretches the hamstrings, calves, and shoulders, preparing the body for the deep stretch in Standing Splits Pose.

  2. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): Uttanasana loosens the back of the legs and helps to improve flexibility in the hamstrings.

  3. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III): Warrior III pose builds strength and balance in the legs, which is crucial for maintaining stability in Standing Splits Pose.

Follow-up Poses

After practicing Standing Splits Pose, you can transition into the following poses:

  1. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana): Tree Pose helps to ground and stabilize the body, promoting balance and focus.

  2. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): Uttanasana can be revisited to lengthen the hamstrings and release any tension that may have built up during the pose.

Chakra

Standing Splits Pose primarily activates and balances the Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra, which is located in the lower abdomen. This chakra governs our creativity, passion, and emotional well-being. By engaging the pelvic region in this pose, we stimulate the flow of energy in the Sacral Chakra, enhancing our vitality and igniting our creative spark.

 Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra

Mantra for this Pose

While practicing Standing Splits Pose, you can recite the mantra, "I am rooted in stability, and I embrace the freedom within."


Alignment Cues

To ensure proper alignment in Standing Splits Pose, keep the following cues in mind:

  1. Ground the standing leg firmly into the earth, distributing the weight evenly throughout the foot.

  2. Engage your core muscles to support your spine and maintain balance.

  3. Extend your lifted leg towards the sky, activating the quadriceps and lengthening the hamstring.

  4. Hinge from the hips, maintaining a long spine as you fold forward.

  5. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.

  6. Avoid hyperextending the knee of the standing leg. Maintain a micro-bend to protect the joint.

Duration of Hold

Hold the Standing Splits Pose for five to eight breaths on each side. As you become more comfortable with the posture, you can gradually increase the duration of the hold.


Drishti

During Standing Splits Pose, direct your gaze toward a fixed point on the floor to enhance your focus and stability. This focal point, known as the drishti, can be a few feet in front of you or slightly ahead of your standing foot.


Physical & Spiritual Awareness

As you practice Standing Splits Pose, remain aware of both the physical and spiritual aspects of the posture. Pay attention to the sensation in your legs and hips, noticing any areas of tightness or resistance. Embrace the opportunity to release physical tension and invite a sense of lightness into your body. Cultivate a connection to your breath, allowing it to guide you deeper into the pose and encouraging a calm and focused mind.


Beginners' Tips

If you are new to Standing Splits Pose, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Start with a gentle warm-up to prepare your body for the pose.

  2. Use blocks or props for support if you are unable to reach the floor with your hands.

  3. Focus on finding balance and stability before attempting to lift your leg higher.

  4. Be patient with yourself and respect your body's limitations. Avoid pushing beyond your comfort zone to prevent injury.

Who Should Not Do Standing Splits Pose

While Standing Splits Pose offers numerous benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. Avoid this pose if you have any of the following conditions:

  1. Recent or chronic injuries to the legs, hips, or lower back.

  2. High blood pressure or vertigo.

  3. Pregnancy, especially in the later stages.

Always consult with a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions before attempting Standing Splits Pose.


Who Should Do Standing Splits Pose

The standing Splits Pose is an excellent choice for those who wish to enhance their balance, flexibility, and mental focus. It is particularly beneficial for:

  1. Individuals looking to improve leg strength and stability.

  2. Practitioners who seek a deeper stretch in the hamstrings and hips.

  3. Those who want to cultivate a sense of freedom, liberation, and self-expression.

Benefits of Standing Splits Pose

The practice of Standing Splits Pose offers an array of benefits, including:

  1. Strengthens the legs, ankles, and core muscles.

  2. Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips.

  3. Improves balance, stability, and posture.

  4. Enhances concentration and mental focus.

  5. Releases tension and stress in the body.

  6. Cultivates a sense of liberation and freedom.

  7. Stimulates the Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra, promoting creativity and emotional well-being.


Modifications for Standing Splits Pose

To accommodate different levels of flexibility and experience, here are a few variations and modifications of the Standing Splits Pose:

  1. Use blocks: Place yoga blocks under your hands to bring the floor closer and provide support.

  2. Wall support: Stand next to a wall and use it for balance and stability while lifting your leg.

  3. Bent-knee modification: If you have limited flexibility, bend the knee of your standing leg slightly to ease the stretch in the hamstrings.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes while practicing Standing Splits Pose:

  1. Overarching the lower back: Maintain a neutral spine to protect the lower back and engage the core muscles.

  2. Collapsing the shoulders: Keep your shoulders away from your ears and maintain an open chest.

  3. Forcing the stretch: Find a comfortable range of motion and avoid pushing beyond your limits. Honor your body's capabilities and progress gradually over time.

Safety and Precautions

To ensure a safe and fulfilling practice of Standing Splits Pose, keep these precautions in mind:

  1. Warm up your body before attempting the pose to prevent injury.

  2. Listen to your body and avoid any sharp or intense pain.

  3. If you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions, seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional.

  4. Never force or push beyond your body's limitations. Respect your boundaries and practice with compassion.

Additional Preparation Tips

To enhance your experience of Standing Splits Pose, consider the following:

  1. Direction to face: Face towards the center of your mat or towards a wall to maintain focus and stability.

  2. What to wear: Opt for comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for a full range of motion.

  3. Suitable place and essential oil or fragrance: Choose a clean and quiet space for your practice. Consider diffusing essential oils such as lavender or peppermint to promote relaxation or invigoration.

  4. Music for this Pose: Play calming instrumental music or uplifting tunes to create an ambiance that resonates with your practice.

In conclusion, Standing Splits Pose is a captivating asana that invites practitioners to find balance, liberation, and self-expression. With its blend of strength, flexibility, and focus, this pose offers a multitude of physical and spiritual benefits. As you step into this dynamic posture, let go of limitations, reach for new heights, and embrace the freedom within you. So, stand tall, extend your leg towards the sky, and embark on a journey of self-discovery through the transformative practice of Standing Splits Pose.

Happy yoga-ing, everyone!

Namaste!



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About the Author

Namaste! My name is Pooja Chauhan

I am a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher and a practitioner. Diving deep into the realm of my own heritage to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing my culture with the world.

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