Starting Position: Sit on the floor or exercise mat with your legs in a wide straddle position. Adjust your leg position so that you are able to sit with a tall spine (no slouching); your head aligned with your spine. Your knees should be straight as possible and your feet flexed with your toes towards the ceiling. Bring your arms to your sides with your elbows slightly bent so that your forearms are vertical to the floor.
Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, and pull your shoulder blades down your back. With your exhale slowly bend sideways, bringing the lowered elbow down toward your hip/thigh/floor. Avoid the tendency to rotate your trunk or bend forward. Keep your head aligned with your spine, knees straight and feet strong with the toes toward the ceiling. You should feel this stretch through the side of your trunk with some stretching in your back.
Continue to bend sideways to the point of tension in the stretch, but do not bounce or push to a point of pain. Hold this position for 15 - 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Repeat 2-4 times, then switch to the opposite side of your body.
Exercise Variation: This stretch can become more dynamic by performing slow, controlled movements to complete 1 set of 5 - 10 repetitions in each direction, 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 be sure to control extra movement at other segments of the body. During this stretch, avoid any rotation or forward bending of your low back