Tips for Developing Your Own Yoga Warm-Up Routine - dummies

Tips for Developing Your Own Yoga Warm-Up Routine

By Larry Payne, Georg Feuerstein

Any physical exercise requires adequate warm-up, and Yoga is no exception. Warm-up exercises increase circulation to the parts of your body you’re about to use and make you more aware of those areas of your physical self. What’s different about the Yoga warm-up (called preparation postures) is that you do it slowly and deliberately, with conscious breathing and awareness. It’s integral to the Yoga session.

Consider some of the benefits of yogic warm-up:

  • Brings awareness and presence of mind

  • Allows you to test your body before executing the postures

  • Increases the temperature and blood supply to your muscles, joints, and connective tissue

  • Prepares your body for more challenging demands and reduces the possibility of muscle tear or strain

  • Enhances the supply of oxygen and nutrients, thus providing more stamina for the practice

  • Prevents muscle soreness

You typically perform warm-up postures dynamically, which means you move in and out of them. In general, the safest Yoga warm-ups are simple forward bends and easy sequences that fold and unfold the body. You may select from the various reclining, sitting, and standing positions. Normally, two or three postures make for an adequate warm-up.

[Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham]
Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham

If you have disc problems in your lower back, forward bends may not be a good way to warm up. Check with your medical or chiropractic doctor.

Warm-up or preparation postures are also used throughout a given routine to precede and enhance the effect of the main postures. For example, you do the leg lift just before a seated forward bend to stretch the hamstrings; you do the bridge posture just before a shoulder stand.

[Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham]
Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham

Avoid warming up with more complex postures such as shoulder stands, advanced back bends, or deep twists. Also, avoid a heavy cardiovascular workout before a strenuous Yoga practice because you can experience muscle cramps.