Amidst the pandemic, our working days have become longer but with less activity. We often end up spending a large part of our day sitting in one place. A sedentary lifestyle with limited or no good quality breaks is unhealthy for our mind and the body.

This International Yoga Day, let’s take small steps towards our well-being with some simple stretches and asanas. What’s more, these asanas do not require much time and can be done amidst a busy work-from-home schedule as well.

Neck Rotation
Sit in the vajrasana position – kneel and sit back on the legs—with the palms on knees. Move the neck from side to side and then move it in a bottom-up motion. We can also rotate our head clockwise for a few repetitions and anti-clockwise for a few. This will help release any tension in the muscles around the neck.

Cat cow pose (Marjaryasana – Bitilasana)
For the cat-cow pose, get into a tabletop position with the palms and knees on the floor. Follow it up by lifting the head and chest up and looking towards the ceiling. We must follow this by moving the head downwards and bending the abdominal area into an arch while exhaling. This movement helps ease spinal tension, synchronises breathing with movement and increases emotional balance.

Extended child’s pose (Utthita Balasana)
To get into this pose, begin by kneeling on the floor and then sitting on the heels with the knees hip-width apart and palms on the thighs. Now, exhale and bend the torso towards the thighs, while the arms stretch forward and the forehead and palms rest on the floor.  It helps calm our body and mind and relieves stress.

Upward-facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Lie flat on the belly with the top of the feet facing downwards. Bend the elbows and spread the palms. Inhale and press the palms firmly on the mat as we lift the torso, hips and knees off the mat. The entire weight of the body should be on the palms and the top of our feet. Stay in this pose for a couple of breaths and slowly lower the knees, hips and torso onto the mat, as we exhale. This movement helps relieve any lower back pain. It tones the legs and strengthens the arms and feet.

Downward facing dog (Adho mukha svanasana)
We should begin this asana on our hands and knees. Our palms must face downward and the wrist must be parallel to the ground. The next step is to stretch our elbows and relax the upper back. Then, spread the fingers wide and press firmly through the palms, while distributing the weight evenly across the hands. Tuck the toes and lift the knees off the floor while exhaling. Straighten the legs without locking them and bring the body into a shape of an ‘A’. To release this position, we must exhale and gently bend our knees and come back to a seated position. This movement energises and rejuvenates the entire body. It stretches the hamstrings, shoulders, calves, arches, hands, and spine while building strength in our arms, shoulders, and legs.

Remember, consistency is key! We get optimum benefits from these workouts only if we practise them daily.  Not only will these asanas help us stay fit but will also relax our mind, body and soul, which is even more important in these trying times.

About the author: Sonal Singh is the Co-Founder and Director of Fittr.

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