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Seated forward bend

To do this stretch, follow these steps:

1. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your abdominal muscles pulled in.

To help you find and control your abdominals, imagine a string attached to your bellybutton. The string pulls back so your bellybutton moves toward your spine. Keep that string tight and your bellybutton pulled in throughout the entire exercise (see Figure 6-2a).

2. Inhale and as you exhale, bend forward at the hips as far as you can comfortably stretch, letting your arms hang down toward the ground (see Figure 6-2b).

3. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds or four to five slow, deep breaths.

4. Place your hands on your thighs and slowly roll up one vertebra at a time until you come back to a sitting position.

To feel a little more stretch in your lats and the middle of your back, after you perform Steps 1 and 2, try to twist your spine slightly so both arms move toward the outside of your right leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat on your left side.

i Do start the stretch in your comfort zone, gradually stretching farther with each breath.

i Don't move or wiggle your legs or knees — your lower body should remain still. i Don't hold tension in your shoulders.

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