CHENNAI: Here are some quick stretches you can tuck anytime into your day (even mid-morning or early evening) to feel energised:
Standing Chakrasana: Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Take a few seconds to stabilise yourself with your feet flat and parallel and complete a few sincere breathing cycles. Focus on the in-breath and out-breath. Next inhale and raise your arms overhead. Hold your left wrist with your right hand and pull it upwards for a few seconds. Exhale. Integrate stretching with breathing.
Now inhale and bend laterally to the right as shown. Exhale. Feel the stretch in your left side-wrist, elbow, shoulder-joint, sides of your chest (lats) and also at the left waist and left hip joint. Intensify the pull with your right hand and strive to bend more as you continue the breathing. This is an active stretch. After an exhalation, inhale and come back to upright standing. Switch hands and repeat on the other side. Relax.
Ardhkatichakrasana: Stand with your feet together arms by your side. Breathe easy. Now inhale and raise your right arm up to shoulder level. Exhale-hold for a few seconds and slowly turn the right palm upwards. Now inhale and bring your right arm upwards so that your right upper arm touches your right ear. Right palm is now facing the left wall. Fold the right elbow as shown and bend laterally to the left as you exhale as demonstrated. Continue with breathing cycles. Try to look up at your elbow.
Feel an intense stretch on your right side and contraction on your left. Your upper body is adding load and making the stretch more intense. This is a passive stretch. Hold for 10-15 seconds. After an exhalation come up to standing with an inhalation. Release the arm the same way towards the ceiling first and slowly lower it down. Repeat on the other side by raising the left arm up. Relax.
Parsva Tadasana: Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Keep your lower body grounded. Inhale and interlock fingers at the chest turn palms away from you. Exhale and extend arms over the head. Hold for a few breathing cycles integrating exhalation with stretching.
Hold the finger interlock tight and try to push the forefingers higher than the little fingers. Maximise the stretch in your torso by elevating your shoulders higher and feeling an opening in your ribs. This is Uttan Tadasan. Now at the next possible exhalation bend over laterally to the right for a side bend — Parsva Tadasana. Hold for a few breathing cycles as you look up at your knuckles.
Benefits: These 3 asanas help trim the fat in your sides. They also give a nice stretch to your laterals and triceps. They are ideal for stiff neck release and for mobility of the spine. Breathing capacity increases. The wrist, elbow and shoulder joint get a nice stretch. Stiffness slowly vanishes. Overall, good for desk-workers and for keyboard users.
(Anshu Vyas Seetharaman is a fitness and yoga trainer at Sri Aurobindo Society, Bengaluru)