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Stand upright with your inner feet parallel and about 6 inches apart. Contract your front thigh muscles to raise your kneecaps. Remaining your legs entirely straight, exhale and flex forward from your hip joints, moving your upper body and head as one system.

Slide the index and middle fingers of each hand in between the huge toes and the 2nd toes. Then curl those fingers under and grip the huge toes securely, wrapping the thumbs around the other 2 fingers to protect the wrap. Press your toes down against your fingers. (If you can’t reach your toes without excessively rounding your back, pass a strap under the ball of each foot and hold the straps.)

With an inhalation, raise your torso as if you were going to stand once again, aligning your elbows. Lengthen your front upper body, and on the next exhale, raise your sitting bones. Relying on your flexibility, your lower back will hollow to a higher or lower degree. As you do this, launch your hamstrings and hollow your lower belly (below your navel) as well, lightly raising it toward the back of your hips.

Lift the top of your sternum as high as you can, however make sure not to raise your head so far that you compress the back of your neck. Keep your forehead relaxed.

For the next few inhalations, lift your torso strongly as you remain to actively contract your front thighs, on each succeeding exhalation, strongly lift your sitting bones as you consciously unwind your hamstrings. As you do this, grow the hollow in your lower back.

Finally breathe out, flex your elbows out to the sides, locate on your toes, extend the front and sides of your torso, and carefully lower into the forward bend.

If you’ve very long hamstrings, you can draw your forehead toward your shins. But if your hamstrings are brief, it’s better to focus on keeping the front torso long. Stooping into a forward flex is not really safe for your lower back and not does anything to lengthen your hamstrings.

Hold the final position for one minute. Then release your toes, bring your hands to your hips, and re-lengthen your front torso. With an inhale, swing your torso and head as a single unit back to upright.