Walking to Warm Up for Yoga with Weights Workouts

By Larry Payne, Georg Feuerstein, Sherri Baptiste, Doug Swenson, Stephan Bodian, LaReine Chabut, Therese Iknoian

Walking is the most natural of all exercises and can be a great warm-up for Yoga with Weights workouts. It can also be one of the most — if not the most — enjoyable exercises. Walking doesn’t require any particular expertise, either; it gives everyone the chance to be physically active.

If you have the time, make walking a prelude to every Yoga with Weights workout. You don’t have to hike to the top of Mt. Everest; a short walk of 10 to 20 minutes will do. Getting in a walk daily or every other day has all kinds of benefits for your body and your mind. And if you combine walking with other short warm-up exercises, you’ll be well prepared for your Yoga with Weights workout.

The combination of walking and Yoga with Weights as a daily and/or weekly workout program enhances the quality of your general health and mental well-being. It also helps keep your weight in check.

Try walking outside in nature, weather permitting. If you can’t walk outside, a treadmill in your home or a gym works well.

Improving your mindfulness

Walking increases the oxygen to your brain and muscles, reduces stress, and slows bone mineral loss. The stimulus of seeing the world outside (if you decide to walk outside the confines of your house or office) calms your mind and body.

As you walk, be mindful of your breathing. Make your short walk a moving meditation by synchronizing your breathing with your steps. As you put one foot in front of the other, focus on the count of each breath. Take four counts to breathe in and four to breathe out. Being mindful of your breathing as you walk is good practice for being mindful of your breathing in your Yoga with Weights exercises and in everything you do. It also sharpens your awareness of breathing and increases your powers of concentration.

Breathe through your nostrils, or take Complete Breaths. You can also try saying the following sentence silently with each breath to get into the four-count rhythm: “Breathing in I calm body and mind; breathing out I cleanse and clear.”

Preparing for a workout

For the first five minutes of your walk, stroll in an easy manner with your head held in whatever position feels most comfortable. Find your natural stride, feel your feet connecting with the ground, and gaze straight ahead. Gradually start to pick up speed, but never walk so fast that you’re uncomfortable or have to strain to catch your breath. If you’re walking with a companion, you should be able to carry on a conversation without having to stop to catch your breath.

As you walk, swing your arms gently alongside your body in a natural arc. Notice the movement of your arms, and develop an opposite-arm, opposite-leg movement — in other words, a coordinated stride. Walk with purpose and direction. Feel your chest lift up and open, and feel the energy flowing through your body.