Benefits of the Splits and How to Get into Them
By KayLee Chie Kuehl
Plenty of us have been told that past a certain age, we will never be able to do the splits. However, this is simply not true! Quite similar to the belief that dancing ballet is unattainable if you haven't been doing it since you were a pre-teen, being able to get into the splits may seem like only a dream. But in actuality, the majority of our range of motion relies on our lifestyle habits. Even if you didn't grow up a gymnast, cheerleader, or dancer, it doesn't mean you'll ever achieve that level of flexibility.
Think of it like this: A former gymnastics star's level of flexibility will decrease over time without practice, right? That means if we incorporate exercises or daily habits into our routine, if we keep up a splits-centered practice, then our flexibility will go up. There are a number of benefits to being able to get into the splits. Here are some, along with poses that can bring us closer to that goal.
They Keep You Young
No one enjoys the idea of losing their range of motion. Practicing the splits is exceptional for your joint health, flexibility, and balance. These things are essential for long-term physical constitution. Studies have shown the splits help prevent major health issues similar to Parkinson's and cardiovascular disease due to the encouragement of muscle strength and healthy bodily circulation.
Deepens Our Body Awareness
Though it might not be your primary reason for wanting to master the splits, the pose refines the connection between the body and mind. Because the splits are such a difficult position, you must become attuned to different parts of your body: the parts open to deeper stretches and the parts with particular limitations. But on a level transcending physicality, it is my belief that mastery of the splits can open us spiritually. The splits bring us closer to our root chakra, which is also where the Kundalini is located.
In Hinduism, the Kundalini is a sacred feminine energy located at the base of the spine. Awakening this part of ourselves, especially alongside our root chakra, is the gateway to accessing our inner power. Without harnessing the roots in which our other chakras and spiritual points are connected, we have more difficulty progressing. So, mastering the splits and entering into a journey to obtain them is a way we can open ourselves up and unlock that powerful energy within us.
How to Get Into the Splits
When trying to get into the splits at first, it's really important to begin basic. There are two popular splits to choose from: the side splits and the front splits. Depending on how tight your hips and hamstrings are, the front splits are normally recommended to start with. Do note that overextension is a primary cause of range of motion loss. If you practice yoga, sun salutations are a great way to warm up your muscles. From here, poses like the half-pigeon and the half-lunge will deepen your stretch and soothe the muscles responsible for perfected splits. Once you're ready, position yourself in the true splits pose with a block supporting either your back or your front leg. You can enter into this pose after warming up with sun salutations or the half-pigeon/lunge poses.
In short, what will get you into the splits is confidence, consistency, and patience. So we all can relish in the benefits of the splits, no matter what age we are!
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Houston, Tex.