Finding Joy in Movement

Samakonasana/ Side Splits

Samakonasana is a simple, yet wonderful stretch that lengthens the adductors, which per their name adduct the legs (bringing them toward the mid-line) as well as laterally (externally) rotating them in relation to the pelvis.

To begin, start in Dandasana, then extend the legs out to the side as far as they will go. Unlike Upavista Konasana, this is NOT a forward bend, so the torso stays upright. We are looking to maintain a neutral relationship between the pelvis and the spine, keeping the sitbones grounded and both the knees and toes pointed straight up toward the ceiling. Bring the hands together in front of the heart and breath into the inner thighs.

Just like Upavista Konasana however, your experience in the pose will be drastically different depending upon your relative flexibility. For those with tight hamstrings, getting the torso to stay upright can be a struggle. If this is the case for you, bring a little height underneath the hips or place the hands behind the legs to support you as you lengthen the spine, sitting as upright as is possible for you.

On the other hand, those with very open hamstrings might be tempted to lean forward to releases the adductors a bit by laterally rotating the leg in relation to the pelvis. Try and keep the sit bones grounded so the legs stay in neutral. Keeping the torso upright can also help prevent the knees rolling in slightly which has a tendency to place strain on the knee joint when the legs are very wide apart. If you feel the stretch in the joint of the knee instead of the inner thigh, check in with the the pelvis and if that doesn’t fix it, back out of the pose or ask your teacher for help.

Stay in the pose for as long as you like (I love to take a gentle version of this pose whenever I’m watching a movie, holding for 15 minutes or even more, though obviously you can take the pose for a much shorter length of time if you prefer). To come out, simply slowly bring the legs together, shaking them out a bit if needed.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!

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