Starting Position: Sit on the floor or mat with your legs outstretched in front of you, toes pointed toward the ceiling. Knees should be straight. Bend your left knee and place the sole of the left foot against the inside of your right thigh. Sit as tall and straight as possible keeping your head aligned with your spine. Place your hands on the top of your right thigh.
Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, sliding your hands toward your ankle. Do not allow the back to round. Keep your head aligned with your spine. Do not lower or lift the chin. The knee should remain straight with the toes pointed toward the ceiling. This should create a stretch through your hamstrings and calf muscles, with some stretching in your low and middle back.
Continue to hinge forward until you feel tension in the stretch, but do not bounce or push to a point of pain. Hold this position for 15 - 30 seconds. Relax and return to your starting position. Repeat 2-4 times. You may choose to grasp your ankles to hold this position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Exercise Variation: This stretch can become more dynamic by performing slow, controlled movements to complete 1 set of 5 - 10 repetitions, 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 bounding, and control movement at other segments of the body. During this stretch, avoid any excessive rounding of your low back.