Recently, Pinterest has experienced a surge in wellness-related searches, especially for bedtime rituals, biohacks, and self-care, according to a new report. Another buzzy search topic: stretches. In fact, this how-to explainer demonstrating a front split has been pinned over 18,000 times.
If you’re thinking your body doesn’t bend that way, you’re not alone. “The life we lead now, nine-to-six office job, driving constantly, sofa and TV, can really take a toll on our bodies if we’re not careful,” says Kirby Koo, yoga instructor at USA Shaolin Temple in New York City. “As a result, the majority of us carry stress and tension in our hip area, which makes it hard to do the splits, or any hip stretch for that matter.”
But with the right practice stretches, your lower half can become bendy and flexible, and doing a front split will eventually be a piece of cake.
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Koo recommends starting with gentle hip and hamstring stretches, such as pigeon pose, forward fold, and butterfly stretch, to ease your body into doing a forward split. “My number one rule would be not to become too focused on hitting the final pose,” she says. “Work step by step and listen to your body.”
Though these stretching exercises primarily work your hamstrings and hip flexors, your entire body should be engaged as you do them, Koo says. That means your spine stays straight, your shoulders and neck relaxed, and your core activated.
Stretching exercises and front splits have other benefits too. “Hip stretches can be very effective in releasing stress, anxiety, tension, so it can be very cathartic,” she adds.