This stretch targets both hamstrings as well as the lower back. To enjoy all the benefits a forward bend has to offer, find just the right amount of rounding in your back.
Sit on a mat/floor with your legs extended in front of you. Point your toes towards the ceiling without bending your knees. Sit up tall. Try to make your torso vertical to the floor and your head aligned with your spine. Place your hands on the floor or on the top of your thighs. Engage your abs to stabilize your spine.
Gently exhale as you slowly hinge forward at the hips, sliding your hands down your legs toward your ankles. Try to keep the back flat. Do not allow your back to round. Keep your head aligned with your spine, knees straight and toes pointed upwards toward the ceiling. This should create a stretch through your calves and hamstrings, with some stretching in your low and middle back.
Continue to bend and reach forward to the point of tension in the stretch, but do not bounce or push to a point of pain. Hold this position and take 3-4 deep breathes. Release the stretch and return to starting position. Repeat.
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