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Stretch shoulders and strengthen legs

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Published Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, at 9:27 p.m.

This is a great yoga pose, allowing you to stretch your shoulder muscles and build leg strength simultaneously. If your shoulders are tight, use a strap to begin. As you progress, you may eventually be able to interlace your fingers behind your back.

1. Stand with your feet 3 to 4 feet apart. Hold a strap with your left hand. Rotate your left leg to the left, toes pointed to the left. Turn your right foot slightly in. Raise your left elbow behind your head, use your head to push your elbow back. Inwardly rotate your right shoulder and bring your right hand behind you in between your shoulder blades. Holding the strap with both hands, move them as close together as possible until you feel a stretch in your right shoulder.

2. Inhale, lift your chest and, on an exhalation, bend your left knee. Keep bending your knee until it is directly above your ankle with your under thigh parallel to the floor. Be sure you distribute equal weight over both legs. Pause for 3 to 6 breaths. To come out of the pose, press down with your left heel and straighten your left knee. Release your left hand from the strap and repeat on the other side.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including “Full Body Stretch” and “Ballet BodySculpt.”

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