Learning to do the splits is a challenge for most yoga practitioners. Splits require a combination of open hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, and shoulders.
In traditional Ashtanga Yoga, the splits do not come until the Third Series, which is a very advanced practice. Called Hanumanasana, this posture is said to unify the practitioner with energy of the deity it's named after.
The position comes from the Ramayana when the Hindu god Hanuman jumped from the southernmost tip of India to Sri Lanka to rescue his wife, Sita, who had been abducted by the demon kind Ravana. This impossible leap was made possible only by Hanuman's intense devotion to the spiritual path.
Yoga students who take up practice of the splits should expect to devote themselves entirely to the practice before mastering this movement.
If you're flexible enough to start trying the most foundational element of splits, a great way to begin is by opening the hip flexors. Once these muscles are open, you'll have a firm foundation to lift your spine out of the pelvis.
But if the hip flexors are too tight, your lower back will try to do the work of the posture. Use this easy series of lunges demonstrated in the video below to begin your devotion in the work of the splits. After your hips are open then you can use the natural flexibility of the spine to go deeper.
You can finally complete the posture by drawing your shoulder blades down the back for the full split with arms raised in the air. Be patient, devoted and have faith. One day your body will be open, your heart will be devoted and your mind will be calm.