Last week I asked my newsletter subscribers for content suggestions. Julianne replied asking for help with her split training. That I can do! So today I want to share a Yoga tutorial on Half Front Split Pose.
This post will cover how to do the pose, variations, and the common mistake people make. And, how to fix it! I also made a video about this which you can watch below.
Or you could check out my YouTube channel. I’m uploading new content every Tuesday and Friday. So don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe!
How to do half front split pose
For half front split pose I prefer to start in a low lunge. In the examples below I have the left foot foward and right leg back. The back knee connects to the floor. Straighten through the front leg, keeping the spine long.
The back knee is directly under the hip. Maybe the hands touch the floor, maybe they don’t. This is the basic alignment for Arha Hanumanasana, half split.
Ardha Hanumanasana Variations
There are quite a few variations of half front split pose. Some are modifications. Other can be progressions. A couple may be dynamic movement rather than holding. Each has benefits, so try them as see what works for you!
Toes point forward, or Toes up?
One question I get asked is “should my toes point forwards, or up?”. The answer is, it depends. If you have tight hamstrings you may find it more accessible to have the toes pointing forward.
On the other hand, if you have pretty flexible hamstrings you may want lift the ball of the foot. This allows for more length through the back of the front leg. Adding stretches for the calf, and bottom of the foot.
Dynamic Stretch: You can also make this movement dynamic by moving between toes forward and up. This is a great way to mobilize through the ankle, and warm up the muscles a little more before holding the toes up for a static stretch.
Half split pose with blocks
One thing that can be a challenge for people in this pose (especially those with tight hamstrings) is keeping the torso long. Ideally we want a long line from the crown of the head to the tailbone. For many this means the hands no longer reach the floor. So add yoga props! Place the hands on top of yoga blocks for half split pose with yoga blocks.
Dynamic Stretch: Using the blocks gives us opportunity for another dynamic movement. Flowing from low lunge to half split, allows more blood flow to the muscles.
It also mobilizes the knees and hips a little more. This movement back and forth could allow tight muscles to relax a little more each time. Again eventually we want to hold in half front split pose. Perhaps the yoga blocks can be lowered. Perhaps the hands can eventually, given time, reach the floor.
Surrendering the spine – fold forward
While the alignment of the pose asks for a long lengthened spine, sometimes it’s fun to break the rules. Maybe not every time. But, occasionally, you might try surrendering the spine towards the front leg.
This can REALLY change the pose a lot. It can add a lot more stretch along the back body. For me personally I can feel it into my calf, hamstring, and lower back. It’s one of my favorite variations simply because it allows my lumbar spine to release a little.
The #1 mistake in half front split pose
Our bodies are amazing and will compensate for tightness by moving in really funky ways. The common error I see in half split is to avoid the hamstrings the pelvis shift to the side. It could be either side, depending on which hamstring you’re compensating for. You can see the difference below.
The mistake is shown in the left photo above. To avoid the hamstring my pelvis shifts to the long edge of my mat. My legs and head are aligned, but my pelvis is shifted to the side. In the photo to the right I show the correction. Pull the hips back into center. Body aligned to the middle of your mat.
- What is your biggest challenge in half front split pose?
- Do you have tight hamstrings
- Have you been making the mistake in half splits?
Ok. I hope all that helps your half front split pose. If you would like another pose tutorial let me know in the comments. Along with any questions or feedback. I’m crowdsourcing topics for future posts/videos. Tell me what you want!
Thanks for this great post – I found my pelvis was shifting to either side and felt that was probably wrong but none of my usual resources said anything about it.
Yep, if you want to target the hamstrings follow the mid-line of your mat!
LenLen de Dios
Wow, what a flexible legs you have! I wish I could start doing yoga which I badly need right now.
No time like the present! Just start!
This looks like a great pose for stretching your legs. I can definitely benefit from that!
Yep hamstrings, plus the lower/upper back!
I can’t remember if I ever tried this pose in my yoga class. I’ll have to give it a try at home.
It’s a great prep for splits!
Such a love/hate relationship with this pose! It makes my sore, tight runners legs feel good, but I also hate the feeling of pressure on my heel like that! x
Point the toes, and put a blanket or cushion under the heel!
Another one for me top try tomorrow…hopefully I will master this just as good as you have thank you x
Kristine Nicole Alessandra
I tried yoga once but my body won’t cooperate and I can’t get into the poses. I would really love to start again. Maybe I should start with other types of yoga for people like me with some slight mobility issues.
Try restorative yoga! Trust me it’s the best!
I honestly never thought about the position of my toes while doing this:))). I see that the cubes really help and offer support, I need them too .
Yes the blocks can offer some height for those that need it!
You really make this look easy. Great tutorial, can’t wait to try this especially since I’m try to get back into being fit.
Charlotte Petit Noble
I feel so helpless every time I find myself trying this pose. I guess I won’t ever be. I am not sure though that I would ever be able to do the full split someday!
Yeah I’m getting there, inch by inch!
You look good with your half front split pose. You make it look easy.
I am trying to work on this more as I want to do a split someday. I also want to be more flexible for Tae Kwon Do.
YES perfect for working towards full splits!
Yes this is something I do in barre a lot. So good to learn how to do it properly.
Yep common in pilates and yoga
oh my, I wish I could do that. I have a form of EDS that causes dislocations, among a lot of other things, so my hip would be going out, and probably my knees as well. Blessings!
EDS sucks! I have hypermobility in some joints, my hips are not one of them (knees, wrists, shoulders, ankles – seemed to skip my hips). It would actually help you to strengthen so check out the strength workouts on my site!
My hamstrings are usually tight. But my husband and I have been doing some form of exercise every day for over a month now. Many days we include yoga in that, so they’ve loosened up a lot. I’ll have to pay attention to the posture next time I try this pose.
Definitely! Check those hips!
I tried it a couple of weeks ago but didn’t manage to pull it off! I will need to practice a lot more.
Use the modifications, you’ll get stronger!