Starting Position: Lie flat on your back on the floor / mat in a bent-knee position, arms outstretched in a "T" position, with palms facing upwards. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Keep these engagements throughout the exercise. Cross your left ankle over the right knee, resting the ankle on the knee.
Gently exhale and slowly open the left knee away from your body (illustrated) without moving your hips or trunk. This will increase the stretch in the outer thigh and hip muscles. Continue this stretch until you reach the point of tension. Do not bounce or push. You should not feel pain. You may also use your hand to push the left knee away from you.
Hold this position for a few breaths and slowly release the stretch. Gently exhale and slowly relax, bringing the right knee toward the floor. Place the sole of the left foot on the floor. Try to keep both shoulders flat to the floor. Do not allow your back to arch.
Hold this position for 15 - 30 seconds. Relax and return to your starting position. Perform 2 - 4 repetitions then repeat on the opposite side.
Exercise Variation: This stretch can become more dynamic by performing slow, controlled movements to complete 1 set of 5 - 10 repetitions with each leg, holding the stretched position for 1 - 2 seconds.
To maximize the benefits of a stretch and reduce the potential for injury, it is important to stretch only to the point of tension, avoid bouncing and control movement at other segments of the body. During this stretch, attempt to avoid any rotation or arching in your low back.