These exercises stretch the hamstrings and hips, and allow you to
begin to work on improving balance. Before beginning these exercises,
warm up with general hamstring stretches as outlined on the Stretches
First, sit up right with your legs
folded in front of you. Relax your weight into your lower body,
and focus your eyes on a stationary point in front of you. Now,
hold onto your left foot with your left hand. Your grasp should
be on the arch side of your foot. (picture on left). Next, begin
to slowly extend your leg while continuing to hold onto your foot.
Your back should remain as straight as possible. (see pictures at
bottom of page) If your leg cannot go beyond this point, hold this
position and relax. (picture in middle.) Do not let your eyes wander,
it is imperative to have focus of the eyes to be able to balance.
You may spend weeks or months until you can go onto the next step,
which is to extend your leg all the way out, as in the picture on
The pictures below show the same stretch as above with the opposite
After stretching both legs, grasp
hold of both feet. (picture on left below) It is imperative to keep
your eyes focused on a stationary point, otherwise, you will most
likely fall over. (Do not practice
this exercise with objects behind you in the event you fall or tip
over. Also, practice on carpet or a mat at
first.) Now, slowly extend both feet outwards. (picture in middle)
This stretches both legs. Relax into your lower abdominal area.
Keep your eyes focused. Go slowly. If this is as far as you can
go, that's fine. After a while, try to extend both legs out completely.
Breath into your belly. (picture on right) You must find your center
and relax into it. If you go too fast you will fall over. Best to
go slow and work at it a little bit at a time. Return back to the
original position slowly without losing your balance.
The pictures below show the side view
of this exercise. The picture on the left shows the back bent. This
is wrong. The next picture shows the back straight, which is correct.
The last picture shows the fully extended position with the back
straight. Note the focusing of the eyes.
is possible to injure onself in any physical activity. Consult
your physician if in doubt about your physical condition
before embarking on a stretching program. The author of
howtostretch.com accepts no liability for any injuries sustained
while practicing any of the stretches described within.