Bending and twisting your torso should be done correctly to avoid injury to your back. If you have tight hamstrings, try using a yoga block to help bring the floor up to your hands. The block will add stability to this exercise so you can do it properly.
1. Stand with your feet together, toes pointed forward. Place a yoga block on the high end in front of you. Now reach your arms out to the sides and bend forward from the hips. Place your hands on the block (adjust the block so that it's below your chest). Keep your knees straight and lean slightly forward toward the block so your hips are above your heels, not behind them. Be sure your back is long and straight.
2. Inhale as you rotate your chest to the left, raising your left arm toward the ceiling. It's important that you twist only from your navel up. Focus on keeping your frontal hip bones facing squarely toward the floor. The rotation should be in the middle spine, not in the lower back. Pause for three breaths and repeat on the other side.
Karen Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Sleek Essentials."