Firstly: The splits are basic asanas. When they are mastered other asanas become easier.
In Ashtanga Yoga the splits get introduced already during the standing sequence. Utthita hasta padangusthasana and utthita parsvasahita are the poses. They have an additional challenge which is balancing.
Secondly: I discovered hanumanasana when I looked for exercises to deepen back bending. Urdhva dhanurasana, but all the other back bending asanas as well are easier when the hip flexor is stretched. There are many positions that aim for stretching exactly this part of the body. All the lunge poses are a great preparation exercise for all back bending asanas.
It’s recommended to keep the hips parallel. In order to protect the knee one can get on the balls of the feet. This intensifies the stretch.
To hold lunge poses for 5 minutes is challenging. The discomfort gets worse and worse. Deep breathing helps to relax and only a relaxed body stretches.
Everything stretching takes time. It’s better to begin slowly. Injuries take time to heal. Consistency is the key.
I integrate lunges into my morning practice. I don’t want to miss them.
To stretch the hip flexor is rather challenging for me. I cannot hold the position for 5 minutes. Not yet. The pose is improving. My back bending profits from this work.
Today we have the 1st of July, the fist half of the year 2021 is over. Back bending will remain my focus in the next 6 months.
I appreciate that I can practice again with intensity. Last month I only missed one practice on a Sunday. In total I was more than 40 hours on the mat in June. I’m glad that I was so consequent.
Be patient and work on your goals consistently.