Stretch in two-part harmony
This two-part move stretches your inner thighs and hamstrings while releasing tension in your lower back. Focus on the first position if you are starting out and as you get more limber, progress to the more challenging version.
1 Stand on a flat surface with your feet 4 to 5 feet apart. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your legs straight and weight centered over both feet. Bring your hands flat on the floor (place them on two books or a pair of yoga blocks if your leg muscles feel tight). Inhale, and on the exhale relax your neck by moving your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your kneecaps lifted as you stretch the backs of your legs. Breathe and hold this position for 20 seconds.
2 For a more intense and challenging stretch, walk your right hand directly under your face; keep your hips level as you rotate your torso to the left. Raise your left arm upward. Be sure to keep your legs and spine straight throughout this stretch. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.