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Lean into that deep breathing

Karen Voight can be reached at kvoightla@aol.com.

If you’ve ever done yoga, you’ve heard this instruction: “Take a full breath, then exhale deeply.” Use of the breath is a key element in getting the most out of every yoga pose, and it leaves you feeling refreshed and energized. An ideal time to practice deep breathing is while doing this hip stretch at the end of your workout.

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1 Sit upright on a mat or a padded surface, crossing your legs in front of you. Instead of crossing your ankles, move your knees closer to the center so your feet are under your knees. Inhale, lift your spine and place your hands in front of you on the floor. Keep your back straight and, on an exhale, lean forward. Feel a deep stretch in your hips. Relax as you breathe deeply for 30 seconds or longer. Reverse the cross of your legs and repeat with the other leg in front.

2 If you’re more limber and want a deeper stretch, try placing one ankle over the opposite knee. Make sure the bottom ankle is under the other knee. Inhale, lift your spine and exhale, leaning forward with a straight back and placing your hands on the floor. Relax your hips as you breathe deeply for 30 seconds or longer. Reverse the legs and repeat with the other leg on top.

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-- Karen Voight


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