15-Minute Mobility Routine To Relax Stiff Muscles

Too sore to move? Try these stretches by Mumbai-based celebrity trainer Vinod Channa to limber up.

By D Tejaswi
18 Oct 2022

Sitting in one position for hours, using a screen at an inappropriate angle, lack of exercise can all cause restriction of movement leading to all sorts of aches and pains. You may also experience other symptoms such as increased pain when tilting the head forward, a generalised aching discomfort in the lower neck, stiffness in the upper back and headaches.


“Stretching for about 8 weeks improves muscle extensibility, the ability of the muscle to be stretched,” notes the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 2012. This means that stretching helps you to improve range of motion by alleviating stiffness and increasing muscle strength.


“It’s not enough to build muscle and achieve aerobic fitness. You need exercises that can help you stretch, move, breathe and unwind,” says Vinod Channa, Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer. Without it, muscles shorten and become tight, which puts you at the risk for joint pain, strains and injury.


But, with limited time, the exercises you choose matter. If you’re wondering where to start, here are 5 stretches suggested by Channa.


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1. Lean forward stretch



This stretch improves the flexibility of your joints besides stimulating your nervous and endocrine systems. Here’s how you do this.


  • Get a comfortable yoga mat and start on all fours with knees hip-width apart.
  • Create an arch in your lower back by raising your abdomen towards the sky and lean forward.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and go back to the starting position again.
  • Do this back and forth for 10 times before you go for the next move.


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2. Single-leg frog stretch



“This pose helps to improve flexibility at hips, inner thigh muscles, and groin,” says Channa. While there are various variations in a frog stretch, you can start by doing this.


  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Let your hands move forward crossing the head level.
  • Inhale slowly.
  • And as you exhale, begin to push one of your knees to the sides.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and go back to the starting position again.
  • Repeat this for the other knee as well.


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3. 90/90 stretch



“The goal is to create two 90-degree angles with your legs while you sit comfortably on the floor with a neutral back and un-hunched shoulders,” explains Channa. While there are many variations of 90/90 stretch, here's one the easy ones to do on your vacation.


  • Sit on the floor. Extend one leg in front of you with your hips rotated out to make a 90-degree angle.
  • Simply bend your other leg parallel to your hip to form a 90 degree angle.
  • Maintain a straight back and equally engage both hips while easing the raised hip down toward the floor.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds and try to complete 2-3 reps on each side.


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4. Hip flexor stretch



“When you sit for a very long time during your travel, your hip flexors tend to tighten up,” explains Channa. Doing variations of hip flexors such as half kneeling hip flexor stretch, knee- to-chest stretch or pigeon pose helps to stretch and relax your hip flexors.

Here’s how you can do a hip flexor stretch.


  • Sit comfortably on the mat. Keep your legs straight and extended.
  • Inhale and slowly take your hip off the ground while you use the fingers of the left hand, ankle of the left leg and foot of the right for the support.
  • Keep your right hand in line with your right shoulder forming a 180 degree.
  • Feel the stretch at your hips and hold the position for 20 seconds.
  • Come to the initial position and repeat the same for the other side.
  • Try to do 2 or 3 reps for each knee.


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5. Knee bend malasana



Malasana helps to tone multiple areas of your body including glutes, thighs and belly. “It also improves blood circulation thereby enabling you to feel very relaxed and calm,” says the trainer. Here’s how you do a knee bend malasana.


  • From table pose, exhale and lower your hips to the heels and forehead to the floor.
  • Spread the knees slightly apart.
  • Move your palms ahead by stretching both your hands straight and long.
  • If you feel that your knee is hurting or if you are unable to sit on your heels, you can keep a blanket between your legs and then do the pose.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, pressing the belly gently against the thighs on the inhale.
  • Breathe and hold for 4-12 breaths.


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