Your body might feel a little stiff and intractable before you start your yoga. Warming up your body maximizes the blood flow to your muscles reducing the chances of injuries. You might get a cramp or spasm if your body is not properly warmed up. Loosening exercises make the tendons more flexible and shake up any weak spots or unfocused part of the body. To begin practicing yoga without warm-up, hinders your body’s flexibility and puts you at risk of injuring yourself.
Mostly warm-ups are involved with strenuous exercises like running but warm up in yoga is equally important as it increases circulation making yoga more relaxed and enjoyable. Stretching up a little bit before practice makes your muscles more elastic; loosens up the joints making the body prepare for yoga. You ease yourself more physically and mentally when you warm up before yoga exercises. Starting a few minutes earlier stretching elevates your heart rate and warms the skin. To prevent overuse injuries to joints and muscles, a proper warm-up is essential as it builds up the intensity slowly making our tissue more controlled to stresses and increases flexibility and strength.
The Role of Warm up before Yoga
The role of warm up before yoga is quite essential. Warming up your body improves alignment and balance, boosting up the body’s capacity to execute a straight posture. When the body is properly aligned it helps us to perform yoga in a more accurate posture making it beneficial even more. But yoga is different from exercise as its main aim is to maintain and improve overall health whereas exercise is focused more on building muscles and physical health. As said earlier, warm up in yoga is also equally important but overstretching before asana practice may defeat the purpose as it tightens the muscles making it more susceptible to injuries. The main purpose of a warm-up is to make the body more stable and preparing the mind to be calmer, focused and centered. Here are some warm-up exercises before practicing yoga to make your body ready and warmed up.
It is said that there is a lot of tension around the neck area which leads to stiffness and headache. This yoga neck exercise increases flexibility releases tensions and tones up muscles. First, you start off by dropping your head backward, hold there for a few seconds and bring it up slowly. Then drop your head straight forward and hold some seconds there and bring it back up slowly. Turn your head to the right, bring it back to the normal position and then left and do the same slowly with ease. Then drop your head forward and roll it around in circles anti-clockwise as wide as possible, repeat the same in the opposite direction.
You should be in a comfortable position and inhale deeply bringing your shoulders up and bringing it down while exhaling. Put your fingers upon your shoulders and bring forward your elbows inhaling slowly and rotate your shoulders back and down. Repeat it two times for a total of three times, then do the reverse. Continue doing it the opposite way inhaling when you bring your elbows from behind around and up and exhaling when you bring your elbows forward and down.
Walk or Jog
You could walk or jog for 1 or 2 kilometers as it will improve blood circulation and flexibility or you could also try skipping 100 to 120 counts.
Sitting in a comfortable position, interlock your fingers and extend forward and up with palms facing outwards and inhaling at the same time. While breathing out bring them down in front of you. Repeat it three times but you should avoid if you have high blood pressure.
Arms Swing and Trunk Rotation
Loosen up your body and then swing your arms at the side of your body and bend over at the waist. Fresh oxygenated blood will flow around the arms. Now slowly swing your trunk from side to side as it helps your trunk to relax and be more flexible.
Why warm-up is important?
Physical and mental ease is gained when you warm up before any kind of practice or exercise. Warm-up postures are very important as it prepares you for the activity you are going to perform. Light twisting and bending, rotations, stretching associated with warm-up yoga postures helps you improve muscle flexibility, increase blood flow to every endpoint of your body and keeps your mind in focus. The benefits of warm-up are plenty.
Breathing is an important part of yoga and we are all conscious about our breathing as soon as we step on the mat. The warm-up activities keep your mind ready and focused. It calms the mind and prepares you for the exercise ahead. It helps keep concentration on breathing.
You should keep your focus on intention while warming up. When we wake up in the morning our thoughts are stranded everywhere as we try to keep track of the day that is about to unfold. While warming up you keep your intentions positive and surround yourself with good thoughts and you will be able to start your day happier with a smile on your face. With a positive mood, you can achieve your goals with joy and positivity.
After a warm-up, your body is relaxed and flexible. All your muscles and joints are loosened up and you feel ready. You get a feeling of strength after warm-up as you follow through with your yoga. Your body movement is smooth and you execute your practice with ease and comfort.
Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organizes 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh. Manmohan Singh conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature, Himalayas and Trekking in India.