While your hands are resting at the heel, let the right hand reach under and cup the entire heel. The left hand holds across the top of the foot just at the ankle, securing the foot in a safe grip. Keeping the leg straight and resting down on the pillows, picture the hip connected at the end of the leg you are holding. Using very steady, even, yet light pressure, pull straight toward you to the count of three. Stop and hold for a count of three to five, then release.
This is mobilizing the hip, which in turn is stretching the back. The hip is often a tight, immobile area of the body. Passive stretching is used to release tight areas. For instance, this stretch helps relieve congestion in the joint. People love this technique, as it is relaxing to the entire body. Listen for the groans of delight.
Connected to stretching is breathing. Every good stretch generally includes a deep breath, followed by a long releasing breath. We breathe in as we stretch and exhale as we return from the stretch. Are you getting the picture here? This technique, and all the techniques that you are learning from this book, deal with relaxing, releasing, and letting go.
Be very careful when stretching. Do not overpull, and remember to keep a straight line, with no up or sideways movement in the pulling. The object is to mobilize the hip joint not the knee. Check with the receiver to make sure there is no discomfort in the knee or elsewhere.