To keep students safe, and prevent injuries, warm ups should take place before asana practice. When you do no warm up, you are left with cold muscles, tendons and ligaments, and as a result you can be more vulnerable to injuries. Yoga involves a lot of stretching, and it would be easier for a yoga-related injury to occur on a body that has not been prepared through a warm up.
Warming up can gradually increase your heart rate and blood circulation. It loosens your joints and prepares your body for physical activity. In addition to prepping your body, some warm up stretches can help ease your mind into the yoga mindset.
So how do you warm up for a yoga session? Here are a few warm up stretches to try.
- Pelvic Tilts: This involves lying down on the mat and slowly pressing your lower back against the floor. This is a subtle movement that relaxes your spine. This move is particularly effective if you have a stiff back and need to loosen it.
- Eagle Arms: This is a simple pose consisting of your arms crossing over each other. This moves straightens your back and stretches your shoulder blades together.
- Head Tilts While Sit Cross-Legged: This is the move that is often pictured with practicing yoga. While sitting cross-legged, you can tilt your head around in a circular motion to loosen the stiff areas in your neck and shoulders.
- Downward-Facing Dog: Asanas can also be used during your warm ups. This yoga move consists of balancing on both of your feet and hands while you face the floor, and stretching your hips upward. This move affects several parts of your body in a very positive way.
- Reach for your Toes: This is a very basic stretch that usually goes with a warm up. This is similar to Forward Bend, Standing.
- Quadriceps Standings: This move consists of standing up, raising your heal toward your buttocks, and grabbing your ankle to stretch your quadriceps.
- Spine Curve: This move consists of laying face forward on the floor, then pushing your chest up by your arms. This stretches your spine and back muscles. This is similar to Sphinx.
Now that we have some examples of warm ups, below is a short animation, which depicts a warm up that stimulates the legs and the lateral upper body. This warm up combines Half Moons and Chair Poses with Ujjayi breathing for a thorough upper and lower body warm up for student safety.
For additional information on warm ups and various salutations, and incorporating them into your practice, read the below:
- In the textbook “MASTERING VINYASA YOGA” by Raji Thron read the below section. Be sure to highlight important sections and/or take notes.
- In DYNAMIC WARM-UPS TO OPEN, CLEAR, & ENERGIZE read “Open the Energy Channels with Six Movements of the Spine”
- In DYNAMIC WARM-UPS TO OPEN, CLEAR, & ENERGIZE read ” Prime the Inner Breath with Inner Energy Engagements”
- In DYNAMIC WARM-UPS TO OPEN, CLEAR, & ENERGIZE read “Prime the Inner Breath”
- In DYNAMIC WARM-UPS TO OPEN, CLEAR, & ENERGIZE read “Ignite Your Intention with Kneeling Salutations”
- In DYNAMIC WARM-UPS TO OPEN, CLEAR, & ENERGIZE read “Stock Your Resolve with Lunge Salutations”
- In DYNAMIC WARM-UPS TO OPEN, CLEAR, & ENERGIZE read “Move into Radiance with Jumping Warrior Salutations”