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April 2016 Issue
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Intense side stretch

Photo: Ian Harrison

Once you try this, you’ll understand why it’s called the intense side stretch. It’s an excellent stretch for your hips, buttocks and hamstrings.

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart. Hands on your hips.
  2. Step your right leg back about the distance of one of your leg lengths. Try to keep your back toes pointing straight ahead, but if it’s more comfortable on your knee, let your toes turn out slightly.
  3. It’s important that your hips are, as best you can, squarely facing straight ahead. You may need to adjust the distance between your feet, turn your back toes out or bend your front knee to make this possible.
  4. Keep both legs nearly straight without locking your knees. You can bend your front knee if needed.
  5. Press through your front big toe and your back heel.
  6. Press down with your hands on your hips. Breathe in as you lift your chest. As you exhale tip your chest forward until you feel a stretch in your legs.
  7. Stay here for a few gentle breaths. You can deepen the stretch by folding your chest further down.
  8. Then lift your chest, relax your knees and step your back foot forward. Switch sides.