How to Achieve a Deeper Stretch with The Yoga Miracle

To see and experience firsthand the power of PNF in the context of Yoga, grab yourself a partner and follow these instructions for The Yoga Miracle. You can achieve a deeper stretch than normal with this exercise.

  1. Lie on your back, with your left leg bent and your left foot on the floor; your right leg is up in the air and slightly bent.

    Ask your partner to kneel in the lunge position near your feet.

  2. Have your partner test the flexibility of your hamstrings by holding the back of your right heel and pushing it gently toward you until you reach the first resistance point.

    The partner on the floor must be relaxed, without resisting. Be sure not to force anything.

  3. Bring your right leg back to the starting point, and then begin to push against the kneeling partner’s hand.

    The kneeling partner now either gently resists your right foot completely (isometrically) or allows your foot to move a little with resistance (isotonically).

    Both tests produce the same effect. As you push against your partner’s hand, your right hamstring muscles tighten. You want these muscles to tighten for about 10 seconds.

  4. After approximately 10 seconds, the partner on the ground relaxes the right leg and then allows the standing partner to repeat Step 2.

    Compare the results to the ones from the original Step 2 stretch, and behold The Yoga Miracle!

    [Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham]
    Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham

Don’t try to push your partner over — just push until you feel your leg muscles tighten. Next, after about 10 seconds, release your leg and allow your partner to stretch you again by gently pushing against your heel, causing your leg to move toward you in a stretch that’s not forced. See how far you can extend this time. You may be pleasantly surprised!

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