Yoga is a great way to stay active and flexible. It’s not as harsh on the body as many other exercises but is still an effective way to stay fit and tone your body.
Yoga can be practiced in a class situation or at home and if you’ve ever attended a yoga class before, you may have noticed that some of your fellow students begin stretching before the class has even started.
Although yoga doesn’t put as much stress and strain on your body as other exercises, that doesn’t mean you should skip a warmup routine. Your fellow students that are running through poses before the start of the class are doing their own warmup routines and you should consider doing one too.
Many yoga classes do include a warmup but it’s still a good idea for you to formulate a warmup routine that suits you. It doesn’t need to be complicated as all you need are a few choice poses, regardless of whether you’re practicing yoga in a class or at home.
In this article, we have listed the best 8 warmup poses for yoga.
1. Pelvic Tilts
This is a great warmup move and one of the easiest to do. It will help to activate your abdominal muscles and your core which are essential for a large number of different yoga poses.
Begin by lying on your back on your yoga mat. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the mat with your toes pointing forward.
Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, lift your pelvis off the floor and towards the ceiling. Hold your pelvis off the floor for a count of 10 and then take a deep breath in as you slowly lower your pelvis to the floor.
You should do this for 5 to 10 reps. As you lift your pelvis, make sure that your lower back remains in contact with the floor. You don’t need to lift your pelvis to a great height as this is a subtle tilt. If you only manage an inch or two, that’s fine!
Planks are a common pose in a wide variety of different forms of exercise so you’re probably familiar with them already. Planks target your entire core including your abs and this makes them a great warmup for yoga.
Lie on the floor face down. Lift yourself onto your elbows and toes. Your forearms should be placed flat on the mat with your elbows directly below your shoulders. Keep your legs straight but don’t lock your knees. Make sure that your toes are firmly planted and are around hip length apart.
To begin with, hold the plank for 20 seconds. Don’t worry if you wobble a little as you soon get better and more secure in the position.
As you become more experienced, you can lengthen the duration of your plank. Remember to keep your head down and not to lift your head too high as this can put a strain on your neck.
3. Leg Stretch
Many yoga postures involve stretching your legs and your hips. This pose will help you work out these muscle groups.
Start by lying on your back on the floor. Your legs should be stretched out straight with your feet spaced hip width apart and your toes pointing at the ceiling.
Keep your lower back firmly on the floor and your pelvis neutral. Lift your left leg from the floor and try to lift it as high as you can. Your goal is to try and achieve a right angle with your foot facing the ceiling.
When your leg is lifted, flex your calf muscles and point your toes. This will stretch all of the muscles in your legs. Lower your left leg back to the floor and then lift your right and repeat.
Although we said your aim is to lift your leg as high as you can, don’t worry if you can’t lift it too far or you can’t keep your legs straight.
If you need to bend your knee for this to be comfortable then go ahead. As you practice this pose and yoga more frequently, you will find that your legs will slowly get straighter and higher.
4. Easy Twist
This stretch will help to warm up your mobile muscles. Particularly, it will warm up your hips, knees, and ankles as well as increase some flexibility in your shoulders and spine. Many yoga poses involve you stretching at your hips and your core and this warm up pose will help with this.
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed before you. Don’t worry if you can’t cross your legs properly and get your knees near the floor, just sit as comfortably as you can in a crossed-legs position.
Once you’re comfortable, slowly and gently twist your torso to the left. You should keep your back and neck straight so that twist only occurs at your waist.
To add an extra stretch to the twist, keep your right hand on your left knee as you stretch. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds and come back to a neutral position.
Repeat the action on the opposite side. Twist to the right and keep your left hand on your right knee as you do.
5. Eye Of The Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)
This pose will help you open your hips and leg muscles ready for your yoga session.
Lie on your back on your yoga mat. Keep your spine straight and your lower back pressed against the mat. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat against the floor and your knees point to the ceiling.
Lift your right leg and cross it over your left so that your right ankle is over your left knee. For a basic and easy stretch, hold your right leg in this position and keep your left foot flat on the floor for a count of 5 to 10.
If you want a bigger and more challenging stretch, you can take the pose a step further. Slip your hands around your left thigh and lift your left leg, ensuring that your right ankle remains in place.
Be gentle with this stretch as it can put strain on your hips, especially if they’re still stiff. Lift your left leg as high as you can and hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds.
Return your right foot to its neutral position and switch sides. Your left ankle should now be against your right knee.
6. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
As the name of this pose suggests, it’s a very easy pose to do but it will help to warm up your neck for the yoga practice ahead.
Begin by sitting comfortably in a cross legged position. Don’t worry if your knees aren’t close to the floor! You can place a few folded blankets underneath your hips so that they are higher than your knees as well.
Keep your back straight and place your hands on your knees. Let your chip drop forward so that it is as close to touching your chest as possible. From here, roll your neck so that your chin moves over to your left shoulder.
Drop your head back as you roll it from your left shoulder to your right and then bring your chin back to your chest. Do five full rotations before switching directions and moving in a clockwise direction instead.
If your neck is a problem area for you, you can reduce the strain on your neck by not dropping your neck back. Instead, keep it forward and move from shoulder to shoulder.
7. Cat Cow Stretch
This stretch is great for getting your body moving and opening up several parts of your body at once. It’ll get your chest, back, and neck active as well as get your breathing into a slow and deep rhythm.
The pose begins on your hands and knees in cow pose. Your knees should be hip width apart and your hands underneath your shoulders.
Take a deep breath in and lift your head up while dropping your stomach towards the floor. Try to keep your spine aligned as you move.
From here, breathe out as you move your belly and spine up towards the ceiling. Your head should drop so that your chin tucks into your chest. This is the cat part of the pose. Try to imagine how a cat looks when it arches its back.
Repeat this stretch 5 to 20 times, making sure to match your movements to your inhales and exhales.
8. Downward Facing Dog
This is one of the most popular poses for yoga warm ups and is a common pose during yoga practices as well.
You’ll often see people using Downward Facing Dog as a stretch before other activities as well. It helps to stretch out your wrists and ankles especially and can help with your mobility in these important joints.
Start the pose on your hands and knees. Your knees should be directly beneath your hips and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. From this position, lift onto your toes and stretch out your arms so that your hips are pushed up high. Your legs should remain straight as you push up.
To ensure that you have a solid base, spread out your fingers and take your weight across your palm and fingers. Your body should form a triangle shape with the ground and feel solid.
If you can, press your heels against the floor. If you can’t do this then you can remain on your toes but try to press your heels down as low as you can while keeping your legs straight.
Hold the position for a count of 5 to 10 before releasing. To release the pose, exhale and bend your knees as you lower yourself back down to the ground and your beginning position. Although you can repeat this position and movement, it works especially well when separated by other poses.
In this article, we listed the best x warmup poses for yoga. All of these poses will help you to warm up your body ready for your yoga practice. Stretching out your limbs and muscles is important as it can prevent injury and make your yoga practice more effective.
Although many yoga classes do include a warm up session, we still recommend doing some warmup poses of your choice before starting your practice. We picked a variety of poses in this article that will help you warm up all of the important parts of your body. We hope they help!