This Five-step Guide to Boost Your Mental Health Will Always Come in Handy

We all go the extra mile to take care of our bodies. We might opt for healthy products as part of a richer diet or sweat it out a tad bit more in the gym. However, we often miss caring the same way for our mental health-and more so during a difficult period such as the lockdown or in its aftermath.

This affects how we feel, cope with stress, or make choices that impact our mental health. It is important to understand that strong mental health is not just defined by the absence of mental illness but also the presence of positive characteristics.

Thankfully, you can follow these simple mantras to help yourself beat the lockdown blues and boost your mental health:

1. Surround yourself with positive people

People around us carry energy which affects us directly and indirectly and impacts how we feel. I have recently joined a bloggers club, where they have a common goal to make each other feel positive about themselves.

We celebrate our achievements, irrespective of how big or small they are, which automatically brings in a positive feeling to each one of us. It is important to be around positive and like-minded people this enhances self-worth as well.

2. Practice mindfulness

To practice mindfulness, you have to be aware of the present rather than pondering over what could have been or what could be in past or future moments.

For example, you can pause for a moment to notice two objects which you can see, three things which you can touch. and one sound which you can hear in your present. No one really knows what the future holds for us, so living in the present moment reduces stress and anxiety greatly.

3. Take a break from the digital world and gadgets

Try to take a mini ‘digital detox’ every week for half a day or at least a few hours. This is imperative because smartphones, tablets, and laptops can hinder our ability to remember.

Such a lack of creative stimulus has also proven to have an adverse effect on your attention span. Moreover, levels of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and impulsivity are observed to be higher in those who rely on their electronic devices in excess.

4. Learn to say ‘no’

These two tiny letters include a gentle reminder that it is a complete sentence in itself. We all experience burnout from time to time at the office or at home but it is important for us to make sure we spend some time alone and prioritize ourselves.

If you don’t want to go to a party, say no. If you are unable to handle your workload at the office or at home, then speak about it. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It is just the fear within us that stops us from it and once you learn to use this two-letter magic word, you will surely see a change for better.

5. Focus on helping others

Choose any activity or organization which matches your passion and take up volunteering there. If this is difficult, then you may even start by helping someone at your office or when you are out grocery shopping. The immense satisfaction which you will derive from these actions is immeasurable and will pave the foundation for a happier mind.

Always remember that good mental health does not necessarily mean you will never go through challenging times or emotional problems. However, just as physically healthy people are better equipped to cope with their illnesses, people with strong mental health can cope better from adversity, trauma, and stress.

There is no time like the present to boost your mental health, so follow these good mental health tips now and recharge yourself!

You Have Been Cleaning Your Ears All Wrong

We get too overzealous about maintaining our hygiene, sometimes pushing the Q-tips as much in our ears as humanly possible. We would still be thinking that this is the right way to go about it but that’s not so! Studies have shown how dreadful this habit can be.

Earwax, in fact, protects our ear canals and keeps them lubricated. It is made up of cerumen and has antimicrobial properties that help against infections. However, removing the earwax is a smaller problem. Another, and a bigger problem, is in the way we remove earwax. Studies show that earwax gets jammed too deep in the canal when we use Q-tips that it needs professional help. What’s worse is that this habit can even rupture the eardrum. Wondering how to go about cleaning your ears? Here’s some help.

• Step 1

Take a soft cloth and wet it with water. Use it to clean the outer canal of your ear, that is, the area you can see from outside.

• Step 2

Take baby oil or mineral oil or make any of the following solutions:

– Saline solution with half a teaspoon and half cup warm water
– Hydrogen peroxide (solution of 3% or lower) with water in equal parts

• Step 3

Take a cotton swab and soak in the solution or take a dropper if you are using baby or mineral oil. Tilt your head so that the ear that needs cleaning faces the sky. Hold the cotton swab/dropper above it and drop three to four drops in your ear canal.

• Step 4

Press the triangular cartilage on the outer surface of your ear canal. Massage it gently in a circular motion. This will help circulate the solution better.

• Step 5

Tilt your head on the other side and let the solution drain out. Repeat for the other ear.

Buying Running Shoes? Ignore the Colour and Remember These 6 Things

You must be making plans for shedding lockdown weight once all this gets over, aren’t you? The list must include a pair of running shoes? We thought so!

That’s why we have got you a fool-proof guide of what to look for while you buy a perfect pair of running shoes.

But before jumping right into how to select your shoe, according to sports giant Decathlon, you should know a few things about yourself that can help you find the right pair:

1. Your body weight

2. Your sole – whether it’s flat or arched

3. Running surface – indoor, road, treadmill, etc.

4. How frequently you run

You can tell these things to the store representative so that s/he can help you find the right ones.

So, here are the six things that you must look for in a running shoe:

1. The grip of the shoe: You don’t want to skid or slip while running, therefore, it is very important to look for a shoe that has a proper grip. Also, check for motion control which will help you change your speed without feeling any jerk in your joints.

2. Watch out for the fit: There is always a toe rule! According to the Decathlon guideline, there should always be a gap of the half to one inch between your biggest toe and the front of the shoe, so that there is some wiggling space.

3. Check the cushioning: Keeping a tab on insole cushioning is very important because if the insole of your shoe is not right then it can lead to lower back issues, according to a study published in a journal of BMC Musculoskeletal Disorder. The shock transmission will make your joints feel the brunt.

Also, super-soft insoles don’t always mean comfort. To be on the safer side, you can still go for the shoes that have memory foam insole. Also, you can buy some extra insoles and refill your shoe whenever you want.

4. Weight matters: By weight, we are referring to both you and your shoe. Lighter running shoes are always better as they will provide you with better stride. Also, the weight you should opt for also depends on how frequent and how fast you run. The faster you are, the lighter shoes you buy.

5. Do a test run: We know you must be thinking that it’s a stupid idea but when your knees and ankle howl for help then you’ll remember us mentioning this. And, there is no harm in doing so because all good brands allow you to take a test run, of course in their showroom and not somewhere out.

This will help you test everything that we have discussed above and you can spend your money right.

6. Color of the sole says it all: You will generally find two colours in the sole – black and white. Black is carbon-based which is harder and is great if you run on the road. The white coloured sole is made from blown rubber which is more agile and soft, so if you have to run on a treadmill or on a padded track then you can opt for these.

So, if you just keep these six things in mind, we think you are sorted to buy the right pair and can have a run of your life!

7 Best Foods To Boost Your Stamina Before Workouts

You think that you will spend another hour in the gym today, but after 45 minutes, you are completely drained of energy. To spend another hour of rigorous training in the gym, you need to have that kind of stamina and the most important element for that is your diet.

What you eat before your workouts are your fuel. However, you need to fuel your body with the right kind of food. Eating the wrong sort of foods can make you sluggish and reduce your efficiency during workouts. Some of these foods could even have an adverse impact on your workout efforts. But just how it is important for you to know what has to be eaten before workouts, it is equally important to know when you need to eat. Eating the right food at the wrong time will not benefit you either. Eat two hours before your workout; this will help your body store energy and it will allow you to push your muscles to its limits. The main source of energy is carbohydrates. Eating digestible carbs before workouts help you stay energized during exercise and it keeps hunger pangs at bay as well.

Here’s a list of the 7 best foods you must eat before workouts.

1. Beetroots

Raw beetroots or beetroot juice can be an effective energy booster for you. One glass of beetroot juice can trigger nitric oxides in your body to regular blood flow and check the oxygen levels in the blood as well. Research shows that people who drink a glass of beetroot juice before workouts display 15% increased stamina than usual.

2. Bananas

Sugar and starch in bananas are just what you need to fuel your body for rigorous workouts. The high carbohydrate content of bananas breaks down in your body into simple sugars quickly and is absorbed by the cells in the form of energy. A medium-sized banana 45 minutes before your workouts is good enough to keep you going for a longer period of time than usual.

3. Pomegranates

If you are looking for a fruit which serves both purposes; fuelling your workout and speeding up the recovery process, look no further than pomegranates. This fruit is also a good source of carbs which keeps your body energetic during workouts. The antioxidants in it, on the other hand, reduce soreness in the muscles and treats inflammation post workouts.

4. Nuts and nut butter

A rich source of proteins and healthy fats, nuts, and nut butter help you keep your energy levels high during workouts. They reduce the likelihood of recurring hunger pangs as well. These are a good source of carbohydrates as well. Low glycemic index in nuts and nut butter help you achieve stable energy levels. Proteins in these speed up the muscle recovery process as well. A handful of nuts or a peanut butter toast can be quite helpful for boosting your stamina.

5. Yogurt

One cup of yogurt or dahi can be quite beneficial for boosting your stamina. It is a rich source of proteins, calcium, and some natural sugars which help you keep your energy levels high. It is easy to digest as well so you need not wait for hours after eating yogurt to hit the gym. To maximize its benefits, add honey or some fruits to yogurt.

6. Oatmeal

A good source of complex carbs, oatmeal can be a quick, convenient, and healthy way to fuel your workouts. It settles well in your body and acts as a source of energy. Add some honey and fruits to maximize the benefits.

7. Brown rice and chicken

Consuming brown rice with chicken can be a great way of fuelling your workouts. While these foods might take some time to get absorbed into your bloodstream, the nutrients in these two foods can boost your stamina to quite an extent. Brown rice is a good source of carbs and fibre and chicken is a good source of lean protein. This is the perfect meal to keep your body fuelled for rigorous workouts.

It’s Yoga Versus Cardio for Weight Loss and We Finally Know What’s Better!

When it comes to weight loss, what would you like to place your bets on yoga or good-old cardio?

For most of us, yoga seems like a lot of hard work with delayed results. And when it comes to cardio, we see instant gratification but the results aren’t very long-lasting-because once you stop cardio, you end up gaining weight.

So then, what is the best way to lose weight and keep it off? Well, to answer this question we fitness experts on board to grace you with sage advice. Let’s read what they have to say.

This is what you need to about yoga for weight loss

Did you know that according to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, yoga can be as good an exercise as cycling, swimming, and brisk walking? Yup! And yoga guru Grand Master Akshar agrees.

Yoga works on multiple aspects of the body-be it fat burning, relaxing, quieting the mind, or getting your heart rate up, Akshar says.

“There are many techniques in yoga, such as Kapal Bhati which is a breathing technique, that is very effective for those who want to lose weight, reduce fat around the tummy, or want to burn calories,” he says. “Tivra Gami which is the highest speed of pranayama usually done by advanced practitioners is an example of a great cardio-based workout.”, says Grand Master Akshar.

Other types of yoga, such as vinyasa yoga, can also accelerate weight loss.

However, remember this while you’re doing yoga poses for weight loss

It is very important to know that while performing intense yoga asanas, you need to do it under supervision at first to avoid injuries. Plus, if you have any medical conditions, then you should definitely consult your doctor before indulging in any dynamic yogic movements.

These are the best yoga poses for weight loss

Grand Master Akshar suggests this yoga routine burn major calories:

Start with santolansana or a plank and move to chaturanga dandasana which is a half-plank. Now inhale and go into an upward dog or urdhva-mukhi svanasana. Now while exhaling comes into ado mukhi svanasana or downward-dog position. Jump forward from there to padahasthasana or toe-touch position.

Take it slow in the beginning, picking up speed as you become more proficient.

Here’s how good-old cardio fares when it comes to weight loss

“The best way to incorporate cardio in your life is by running”, says Ruchika Rai, a Mumbai-based women’s fitness and health coach and founder of the combat yogini programme.

We all want quick results, especially when we are looking for some motivation to keep working out. Which is why Ruchika suggests adopting good-old cardio.

And this is the best cardio routine according to her

If you want to lose weight, then Ruchika suggests opting for high-intensity interval training or HIIT. It will hit the right cord and trigger the areas that you actually want to work on. Plus, it will also help you build stamina and endurance.

What to remember while doing cardio

Maintaining your momentum and trying new things is the key if you want to ace a cardio session. “If on a workday, you run for an hour, then on a weekend you must run as much as you can to stay in momentum. The fear of quitting is what takes you down. And this happens with all forms of exercise,” she says.

Here are the best cardio exercises you can incorporate into your routine

1. Dance: Dance is one of the best and the most interesting ways of staying fit. “If you hate exercising, then dance is going to be your motivation,” says Ruchika.

2. Tabata: A mixture of HIIT and combat training, this is Ruchika’s favourite. “It is a low impact routine and you can easily find a lot of online tutorials for it,” she adds.

3. Pilates: According to Ruchika, Pilates is another form of weight loss training that can actually help you build endurance. Plus if you want to gain muscle, then place your bets on Pilates.

“Also, my theory is that all of this will go in vain if you don’t follow a proper diet. Only 30% of your weight loss depends on these exercises, the rest is all on what you eat,” she concludes.

So yoga or cardio, who won the big battle of weight loss?

Yoga it is. A more sustainable way to workout that also inculcates strength training, yoga is the way to go if you want to shed those kilos and keep them off. Doing yoga poses can burn as many calories, if not more, as traditional cardio and tone your muscles while you’re at it. So, there you go!

No Dumb-bells, No Worries. Use These 10 Household Items for Weight Training

Who says you can’t muscle yourself up without lifting heavy-duty dumb-bells? We think you should learn from Priyanka Chopra. In a recent Instagram post, you can see our very own desi-girl lifting her niece and doing her triceps extension, while she’s at it.

While we’re all not as lucky as Priyanka to have a wee-lil baby around to make workouts akin to playtime, we all have some things lying around at home that we can use to build muscle.

That’s why we’ve brought you this list of the things available in your home right now that you can actually use for weight training.

1. Water bottle: From biceps to triceps, you can target both the muscle groups with a pair of water bottles. All you need to find is a look-alike pair of bottles and fill them up evenly and you are good to go.

2. Bucket of water: Miss doing deadlifts? Well, replace the weight with a bucket of water. Fill a bucket with water, according to your lifting capacity, and pull deadlift moves. That’s all!

3. Chair: Never underestimate the power of the chair. You can do triceps dips, hip extensions, leg extensions, side raises, and many other exercises with the support of this piece of furniture.

4. Hand towel: For shoulders and sides, all you need is a hand towel. To tone your sides, just hold the hand towel straight, lift your hands up, and do side bends. You will definitely feel the difference. You can also do shoulder rolls using a hand towel.

5. Elastic band: We all love resistance bands but unfortunately, not all of us have one at home. Worry not, because if you have elastic bands in your home then you can easily make yourself a DIY resistance band. Stitch an elastic strap on both ends to make a loop and your resistance band is ready. Now you can easily pull off those abs, arms, and legs exercises.

6. Bag of groceries: Even during these times, you must be doing essential grocery shopping. So, why not use these heavy shopping bags to do some biceps curls?

7. Duffle bag: We’re sure you have seen the likes of Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor doing exercises using a weighted bag. Now, you can create one for yourself too. How? Well, all you need is a duffle bag. Just stuff it with some clothes and use them to do doing burpees, squats, abs, etc. You can also wear this bag on your back and climb the stairs or do calf raises for your leg muscles.

8. Stool: If you have a stool handy then doing a box jump is sorted for you. Box jumps include jumping on a tall(ish) box and you landing in a squat position. But please ensure that the stool you are using is strong and stable enough to take your weight. Otherwise, you could really hurt yourself.

9. Shoes: You can do arm raises and weighted jumping jacks without dumb-bells. All you need is a pair of shoes. Just hold one in each hand and do arm raises and even jumping jacks. If you want to do add more weight, you can stuff your shoes with socks.

10. Books: Apart from imparting knowledge, books can also help you build muscles, and this is how it’s done. Balance a few books on your back and do push-ups to increase impact. While doing sit-ups, you can hold a heavy book in your hands to increase the impact on your core. While doing a plank you can keep a pile of books on your back and hold it for as long as you can.

It’s Time to Try These 4 Yoga Poses to Lose Belly Fat and Strengthen Your Core

We all dream of having washboard abs at some point. While that seems like a long shot, belly fat is common trouble we might deal with. Before we learn how to tighten and strengthen our core through yoga, let’s know the reasons behind stubborn belly fat.

What reasons can cause you to accumulate belly fat?

Belly fat accumulation happens due to many reasons, which may include a poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress. Even your genes can be the reason behind all the persistent belly fat.

Specific genetics can make you more likely to have conditions such as diabetes, or obesity-although, it is a healthy lifestyle that ultimately shapes you. If you have unhealthy food habits, irregular sleep patterns, and an overall sedentary lifestyle, you do run the risk of having abdominal obesity.

“Not only is belly fat unhealthy, but is also an extremely awkward area to be carrying around fat. This extra weight can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. The most dangerous part about having belly fat is that you become vulnerable to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension,” says Yoga guru Grand Master Akshar.

With necessary lifestyle changes such as improving your nutrition and increasing physical activity, you can lose that unwanted belly fat. And in this endeavor, yoga can help you.

Practice holding each of the following asanas for 30 seconds each, and repeat up to three sets to see your belly fat disappear.

1. Kapal Bhati

In Sanskrit, ‘Kapal’ means skull and ‘bhati’ means ‘shining/illuminating’. Therefore, this kapalbhati pranayam is also known as “skull shining breathing technique”.

a). Directions

Sit in a comfortable pose. Straighten your back and close your eyes. Place your palms on your knees facing up. Inhale normally and focus on exhaling with a short, rhythmic, and forceful breath. You can use your stomach to forcefully expel all the air from the diaphragm and lungs by compressing it. Inhalation should happen automatically while you decompress your stomach.

b). Benefits

It strengthens and stimulates the digestive system and abdominal muscles. It strengthens the nasal passages and removes blockages in the chest. It promotes blood circulation. It improves the complexion of the skin and brings a glow on the face. It increases memory power. It gives mental clarity and helps overcome stress and depression. It removes any extra fat from the body

2. Naukasana (boat pose)

a). Formation of the posture

Lie down on your back. Lift up your upper and lower body to balance on your sitting bones. Your toes must be aligned with your eyes. Keep your knees and back straight. Keep your arms parallel to the ground and pointing forward. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Straighten your back. Inhale and exhale normally.

b). Benefits

It strengthens the lower back, stomach, and leg muscles. It improves the functioning of the digestive system. It tones the waist and promotes weight loss. It removes gastrointestinal discomfort. It eliminates lethargy. It builds the abdominal muscles. It stimulates circulatory, nervous, and hormonal systems.

c). Breathing methodology

Inhale as you lift your body off the floor. Inhale and exhale normally if you hold the asana for too long.

3. Vasishtasana (side plank pose)

a). Formation of the posture

Begin with Santholanasan. (Plank)With your left palm firmly on the ground, remove your right hand off the floor. Turn your entire body to face the right side and lift your right leg off the floor and place it over your left leg. Raise your right arm above and keep your fingers pointing to the sky. Ensure that both your knees, heels and feet are in contact with each other. Ensure that both arms and shoulders are in one straight line turn your head and look up at your right handHold the asana for a while repeat the same on the left side

b). Benefits

It slowly builds your capacity to hold this asana for long periods of time will help you gain immense arm and core strength. It burns fat around your waist. It improves the sense of balance. It boosts concentration. It strengthens wrists and shoulders.

c). Breathing methodology

Inhale as you lift your body off the floor. Inhale and exhale normally if you hold the asana for too long.

4. Santolanasana (plank pose)

a). Formation of the posture

Lie on your stomach. Place your palms under your shoulders and lift your upper body, pelvis, and knees up. Use your toes to grip the floor and keep the knees straight. Ensure that your knees, pelvis, and spine are aligned

It strengthens the thigh, arms, and shoulders. It makes the spine and abdominal muscles robust. It builds the core muscles. It improves balance in the nervous system. It stimulates the Manipura chakra. It energizes the entire body and instills a feeling of positivity. It develops a sense of inner equilibrium and harmony.

b). Breathing methodology

Inhale as you lift your body off the floor. Inhale and exhale normally if you hold the asana for too long.

While adding this to your routine is a wise choice, make sure that cut out processed sugary foods and beverages and replace it with whole fruit instead which shall help strengthen and tighten your core.

4 Creative Ways to Stay Fit if Hitting the Gym Isn’t for You

In the pursuit of keeping up with the modern warfare of our fast-paced lives, picking up the phone from the dresser seems to be the only set of crunches most of us do. Whilst revolting against the constraints of time, getting fit is often not on our to-do lists.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) published in The Lancet Global Journal, every second woman in India doesn’t get enough physical activity to stay healthy. With a staggering percentage of Indian women not getting enough exercise, working out at home presents a promising alternative to gym and other fitness classes.

If you are also a part of this unfortunate statistic (pun intended), here are some ways with which you can make your home an arena for becoming fitter and stronger.

1. Convert your home into a fitness studio with YouTube tutorials

Technology has blessed us with unlimited access to various forms of exercises. With limitless choices of fitness tutorials, ranging from Pilates and Zumba to high- and low-intensity cardio accessible with a single click-using YouTube tutorials or apps to get fit is great for your body and your pockets.

Here’s another benefit: You don’t have to stick to just one type of activity. The varied choice of fitness videos also helps you shake up your routine-allowing you to customise your workouts according to your mood.

2. Break up with the lift and start taking the stairs

With ticking time constraints leaving very little opportunities for staying fit, stairs can help us bid adieu to our lethargic groggy selves. However, taking the stairs isn’t a magical pill for weight loss, as it can assist in increasing cardiovascular activity and keeps us fit-but it won’t do much for weight loss.

3. Choose to walk as you shop

If you wish to go grocery shopping or buying trinkets from the local market, just ditch the tempting choice of taking a rickshaw and walk instead. You can convert it into a fun game and count the number of rickshaws that pass you by or count the number of steps it took you to reach each shop.

4. Give your daily chores a health upgrade

Brushing your teeth or filling buckets of water can often seem like mundane tasks. Two to three minutes of brushing can be converted into a muscle toning exercise if you squat in the process. And while you’re waiting for the bucket to fill, play your favourite music and dance till the bucket runneth over.

While our ticking clocks and jam-packed planners constantly push us to throw fitness out of our priority window-it’s time to take a sigh and grab every little minute of opportunity to become our fitter selves.

Try These 5 Restorative Yoga Poses to Relax Your Mind

It goes without saying that constant battles with anxiety, stress, and related issues can take a toll on your overall health and well-being. And if you too find yourselves in the clutches of such mental struggles, then trust yoga to help you out.

Whether it’s daily stress that’s taking a toll on you or whether you are struggling with your frazzled mind-practicing some these yoga poses will calm your mind.

1. The corpse pose: This effective yoga pose will help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated as it emphasizes on total relaxation by putting the body at ease. The rested state quietens your nervous system, helps to lower blood pressure, and slows down the breathing.

Lie down with your back on the floor. Place your arms by your side, with palms facing upwards. Place your legs a few inches apart. Close your eyes and breathe deeply as you pay attention to each body part. Stay in the position for 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Bridge pose: This yoga pose not only helps in dealing with fatigue and anxiety but is also great for battling headaches, backaches, insomnia, and more.

Lie on your back with arms tucked on each side and knees bent at hip-width apart. Inhaling, stretch your arms towards your feet and lift your hips as you roll your spine. Try lifting yourself higher by pressing your shoulders and arms. Stay in the pose for four to six breaths, and then while exhaling, place your back on the floor.

3. Child pose: This pose is very beneficial in calming the mind, easing any kind of stress, and is also great for your lymphatic and nervous system.

Sit with your knees kneeled on a yoga mat as you keep your weight on your heels. Slowly bend forward as you place your chest on your knees and your head on the ground. Hands tucked on the sides and palms facing up, stay in the pose for up to 4 to 5 breadths.

4. Cat pose: A great yoga poses to massage your spine and stretch the lower back, the cat pose also helps in calming the mind by relieving your stress.

Position yourself on all fours on a yoga mat. Exhaling, tuck in your tummy towards your spine as you roll your spine towards the ceiling. Drop your head towards the ground but don’t rest the chin on the chest. Repeat a few more times.

5. Standing forward pose: Highly effective in stretching thighs, hips, and hamstring muscles, the standing forward pose is also very fruitful in combating fatigue, stress, and even symptoms of mild depression.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Exhaling, bend forward as you press your head against your knees, and you place your palms flat on the ground. Hold the pose up to 5 to 6 breaths. Release the pose while inhaling as you come back to the standing position.

6 Easy Yoga Poses You Can Literally Do in Your Bed, So No More Excuses!

The biggest hurdle that many of us face on the path to fitness and good health is definitely laziness. After all, just the thought of giving up the comfort of your cozy, inviting bed to work out can be nauseating. But, what if we told you that you could work out-without getting out of bed? Yes, you read that right.

We had a chat with the celebrity fitness expert and wellness coach, Grandmaster Akshar who let us in on a secret: there exist yoga poses you can do in bed! Yup, there are some stretching exercises you can try every morning without crawling out of your bed and get a toned body.

“Yoga is the ancient practice of mind and body union that promises to deliver a host of benefits. The beauty of the divine science that is yoga is that you can do it even in bed as soon as you wake up,” Grandmaster Akshar.

“Usually mornings are hectic and one tends to jump right out to get on with the day’s activities,” he adds.

Including a few stretches in your morning routine can give you a toned body, along with a calming start to your day.

“Before you begin yoga on your bed, you could start with subtle exercises such as gentle rotation of your neck, arms, wrists, and ankles to slowly warm up the joints. Practice simple breathing techniques with your eyes closed and a straight spine. This will prepare your body for the practice, and keep you safe from practice-related injuries. Also, make sure that your bed is not too soft, in which case you should perform these asanas on a yoga mat,” he adds.

Once you’re done with this warm-up, gear up for these yoga poses you can do in bed recommended by him:

1. Balasana (child’s pose)

a.) Benefits

• Helps relieve fatigue
• Relaxes the body
• Regulates breathing and restores calmness
• Lengthens and stretches out the spine
• Gently stretches the ankles, hips, and shoulders
• Boosts digestion
• Eases neck and back pain

b.) How to perform: Kneel down on your bed and place your hips on your heels. Inhale and raise arms above your head. Exhale and bend your upper body forward while touching your head on the bed. At this point, your pelvis should rest on your knees and you’ve got to make sure that your back is not hunched.

2. Sukhasana (happy pose)

a.) Benefits

• Lengthens the spine
• Broadens your collarbones and chest
• Calms the mind
• Reduces anxiety, stress, and mental tiredness
• Improves body posture
• Stretches out the hips

b.) How to perform: Sit in an upright position with both legs stretched out in front of you. Fold the left leg and tuck it inside the right thigh. Then, fold the right leg and tuck it inside the left thigh. Now, place your palms on the knees and sit straight with your spine erect.

3. Marjariasana (cat pose)

a.) Benefits

• Great for relaxation and stress relief
• Stretches back and neck muscles
• Facilitates deep inhalation and exhalation

b.) How to perform: Get down on your knees, place your palms in front of you, and basically, get on all fours. Inhale, curve your spine, and lookup. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and then, exhale, curve your spine to form an arch, and look downwards, focusing the gaze on your chest. This completes one cycle. You can perform 5-10 repetitions of this pose.

4. Naukasana (boat pose)

a.) Benefits

• Strengthens the lower back, stomach, and leg muscles
• Improves the functioning of the digestive system
• Tones the waist and promotes weight loss
• Eliminates gastrointestinal discomfort
• Tones up abdominal muscles
• Boosts circulatory, nervous, and hormonal systems

b.) How to perform: Lie down on your back. Lift up your upper and lower body to balance on your sitting bone or your hips. Your toes must be aligned with your eyes and your knees and back must be absolutely straight. Also, keep your arms parallel to the ground and pointing forward, tighten your abdominal muscles, and exhale. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and get back to the resting position.

5. Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose)

a.) Benefits

• Aids digestion and can be practiced right after meals
• Strengthens the muscles
• Relaxes and strengthens feet, ankle, and knee caps
• Lubricates knee caps

b.) How to perform: Kneel down keeping your heels close to each other. Do not place the toes on top of each other. Instead, the right and left foot must be next to each other. Place your palms on your knees facing upwards. Straighten your back and look forward. Hold it for a couple of minutes if you can.

6. Paschimottanasana (seated-forward bend)

a.) Benefits

• Acts as a stress reliever
• Reduces fat deposits in the abdomen
• Reduces anxiety, anger, and irritability
• Stretches the spine and brings flexibility
• Relieves constipation and digestive disorders
• Tones up the abdominal pelvic organs
• It regulates the menstrual cycle

b.) How to perform: Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Now, bend your knees slightly and extend your arms upwards while keeping your spine erect. Exhale and try to breathe out the air from your stomach. While exhaling, bend forward at the hip and place your upper body on your legs. Lower your arms and try to touch your toes with your fingers and knees with your nose. Hold the pose for 10 seconds and repeat.

We say you do these right after waking up but really, any time is good when it comes to yoga. These can be done from the comfort of your bed, so no excuses anymore! Make these easy yoga poses you can do in bed a part of your routine and you’ll have health on your side.