6 yoga steps to a healthier you at the office

In today's hectic lifestyle, most people spend most of their waking hours at the office, which leaves no time for anything else, leave alone exercise.

To combat this, Shameem Akthar, a certified yoga Acharya with the internationally acclaimed Sivananda Yoga Centre, Kerala (headquartered in Canada), recommends six yoga exercises for the office.

She says these exercises are a gentler version of the classical yoga poses, which have attained cult status. "In the West these exercises are practiced on flights, while commuting, at work and even at home," she says.

The advantages of these exercises:
  • they can be done at any place, any time
  • they use available furniture as props
  • they don't need a mat
  • their simplification, they have not lost anything in terms of effectiveness and the impact they have in boosting energy levels.

Point to note: Loosen up your body before trying any specific pose. To loosen up, shrug your shoulders, wring your wrists, rotate gently at the waist, stretch full, several times. All these movements prepare the body for these poses. Those with severe ailments must consult a therapist before attempting any new health regimen.

Janu Naman (Knee bend)

Stand up straight, feet together. Hold a chair for support if your balance is not steady. Inhale. Lift your right leg, bending at the knee, so that it forms a right angle. Now exhale, flaring out the knee towards the right. Hold, breathing normally. Inhale, return to starting position. Repeat thrice. Relax. Then repeat the entire sequence for the left side.

Benefits: Reduces fluid retention that accompanies a sedentary job. Works out the delicate but important knee joints as well as the entire limb while at the same time toning and strengthening the leg muscles. Relieves spinal problems, improves balance as well as posture. The cerebellum, involved with your social functions, also gets a workout, harmonising pleasantly with your personality.

Goolf Naman (Ankle bend)

Stand up straight before a chair. Hold the back-rest. Inhale. Place right foot forward, heel down, toes facing upward. Exhale, tilting toes further back, towards yourself, enhancing the stretch felt on the back of your leg. Hold, breathing normally. Relax. Repeat thrice. Return to starting position. Repeat the entire sequence for the left leg.

Benefits: Same as the knee bend, but the delicate ankle joint (which bears your entire body weight) is the beneficiary. Both poses are invaluable in controlling blood pressure.

Samkonasana (Right angle pose)

Stand 2 feet away from a chair. Inhale. Exhaling, lean forward to place elbows on the backrest. The legs should remain stretched, enhancing the pull felt at the back of the legs. Hold, breathing normally. Inhale, return to starting position. Repeat thrice.

Benefits: Strengthens the back (and spine), tones the abdomen, strengthen leg muscles and boosts metabolism.
Utkatasana (Squat pose)

Stand a foot in front of a chair. Legs should be together. Inhale, holding the chair's backrest. Exhaling, lower yourself gently into a squat. Go as low as you can. Hold the pose, breathing normally. Inhale, returning to base position. Repeat thrice.

Benefits: It powers the spine, helps with weight loss, boosts stamina and improves posture. Also boosts respiration.

Udarakarshanasana (Abdominal twist pose)

Stand up straight. Inhale, hold both arms in front, at shoulder-level. Exhale, twist to the right. Arms should move in sync with twisting torso. After twisting, place left palm on right collarbone. Look behind, over right shoulder. Hold, breathing normally. Inhale, return to centre. Repeat thrice. Relax to starting position, to repeat the entire sequence for the opposite side. Initially twist very gently, intensifying the twist only after several weeks of regular practice.

Benefits: Controls diabetes. Tones spinal nerves, helping to calm you down. Tones the entire back and trims the waist. Boosts digestion, metabolism and also relieves constipation.

Uttanpadasana (Raised leg pose)

Stand 2 feet away from a chair. Inhale. Exhaling, raise right leg and place it on the back of a chair. Beginners to yoga may use a low stool about a foot or so in height since this is a rather intense stretch and must ideally be learnt in a phased manner. Hold the pose, breathing normally. Release, to repeat for the other leg.

Benefits: Tones the legs, giving them a thorough workout. Prevents fluid retention and relieves knee pain. Also improves posture and spinal strength.

Source: Rediff.com



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