Going to the wall
The wall can be an excellent prop when practicing yoga poses or other stretches that require balance and strength as well as flexibility. It helps you feel stable so you can get in the proper position to gain maximum benefit from the exercise.
Stand approximately 3 feet away from a stable wall with your back toward the wall and your feet together. Bend forward at the hips and place your fingertips on the floor directly below your shoulders. (Place your hands on two yoga blocks if you cannot reach the floor.) Place your left foot flat on the wall at hip height, with your knee and toes facing the floor. You may have to adjust to make sure your right ankle is below your right hip. Inhale and look forward, sliding your shoulders down and away from your ears.
Exhale and focus on keeping your hips and legs stationary. On the next inhalation, rotate your ribs, chest and shoulders to the right. Reach your right arm upward, with fingers pointing to the ceiling. Look toward your right thumb. Pause for three to six breaths in this position, feeling a deep stretch in your back. Return your right hand to the floor, change legs and repeat on the other side.
Voight is the creator of a line of Fitness DVDs including “Full Body Stretch” and “Ballet BodySculpt.”