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Foot Pulled back
The picture below demonstrates the proper way to pull back the foot. Note there is little or no space between the achilles tendon and the floor,and the toes are pulled back as well. This position is known as dorsiflexing the foot.

Concentrate on pulling back the big toe, and relaxing the rest of the toes. They will relax back in the same direction as the big toe.

Leg Straight

A straight leg is defined as having the knee straight. At first, this may be hard to do, and you may have to tense the muscles of the thigh (quadriceps) to achieve this. As your hamstring muscles stretch and relax, you will be able to hold your leg straight with no unnecessary tension.
The picture below show the correct leg straight position (from above and side)

The pictures below show the incorrect positions

Hips Level

In many standing positions, it is required that the hips be level, as in the picture on the left. This is so both sides of your body get stretched equally. If there is an imbalance in stretch between sides of your body, what feels "normal" will probably be a position with uneven hips (picture below)

Use a mirror or have a friend look at your hips, to insure they are level.

Breathing

Breath in and out of your nose. Alternatively, you can breath in your nose and out your mouth. Try to bring the breath into your belly, not your chest. Keep your breathing steady and slow. Here is an exercise for learning how to breath into your belly correctly: sit comfortably, in a position that causes no strain for you. Place one open palm on your chest, another on your abdomen. As you breath in your nose, do not let the chest move at all. Let the belly move out, then when you exhale, let the belly move in. Do not strain. Try to fill the lower lobes of your lungs as you breath into your belly. The lower lobes have more capacity for holding air.

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Disclaimer

It 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.

 

 

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