Yoga Warm-Up Poses To Get You Started
Yoga is great for the body, mind and spirit, and is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to get fit and find calmness in today’s often hectic world. By using breathing techniques and mastering a series of poses, yoga has enabled many to rejuvenate their mind and body. So if you haven’t started practicing yoga yet, we suggest you give it ago now.
However, it’s important, as with any physical exercise, to carry out these poses in the correct way and avoid the risk of injury. Familiarise yourself with the poses and start slowly. Don’t worry, it takes only a short time to become comfortable with them and you’ll find yourself moving from pose-to-pose effortlessly.
Here’s a list of some yoga poses that you can do during your warm-up that should gently ease you into the swing of things and help avoid the risk of injury.
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
The Easy Pose strengthens the spine.
How to do the Easy Pose:
- Sit on the floor with your legs extend out in front of you.
- Bend your knees, and cross your legs inward, sliding your left foot beneath your right knee and your right foot beneath your left knee. Relax your knees toward the floor.
- Draw your sit bones to the floor, and lift up through your spine. Maintain a neutral position from your pelvis to your shoulders.
- Open your chest, and relax your shoulders.
- Place your hands on your knees, palms facing upwards, with your thumb and index finger touching. This should be forming an “O”.
- Breathe slowly and evenly.
- Hold for as long as you wish.
- You should practice this pose with your opposite leg in front.
2. Staff Pose (Dandasana)
Staff Pose strengthens the spine and improves posture.
How to do the Staff Pose:
- Begin by sitting on the floor, with your legs extended in front of you.
- Draw your sit bones into the floor and away from your heels.
- Contract the muscles in your legs, pressing them against the floor.
- Place your hands on the floor, palms facing downwards.
- Place your hands beside your hips, and lift up through your spine, while flexing your feet.
- Lift your chest and look straight ahead. Tuck your chin downward, slightly.
- Relax your shoulders, and pull your abdominals in toward your spine.
- Hold for 1 minute.
3. The Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
The Mountain Pose improves posture and firms both the buttocks and abdomen. This position is the foundation for all of the standing postures.
How to do the Mountain Pose:
- To begin, stand with your feet together. Both your heels and toes will be touching.
- While keeping your back straight and arms pressed slightly against your side, face your palms outward.
- Lift your toes, spread them out and then let them fall back down to create a wide base.
- Sway from side to side until you gradually place your weight evenly onto all four corners of both your feet.
- Slightly contract the muscles in your knees and thighs, rotating them inwards to create a widening of the sit bones. Tuck your tailbone in between the sit bones.
- Tighten your abdominals, drawing them in slightly, maintaining a firm posture.
- Widen your collarbones. Make sure that your shoulders are parallel to your pelvis.
- Lengthen your neck, so that the crown of your head rises towards the ceiling, and your shoulder blades slide down your back.
- Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
4. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The Downward-Facing Dog Pose strengthens the arms and legs, as well as stretching the shoulders, hamstrings, and calves.
How to do the Downward-Facing Dog Pose:
- To begin, kneel on your hands and knees. Keep your knees directly below your hips.
- Stretch your hands out slightly in front of your shoulders. Fingertips facing forward.
- Hands should be roughly should-width apart.
- Exhale and press against the floor. Keep your elbows straight.
- Lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling and your knees away from the floor. Lengthen your hips away from your ribs. This will elongate your spine.
- Press your heels against the floor and contract your thighs. Then try straighten your knees.
- Turn your thighs slightly inward and broaden your chest and shoulders. You should position your head in between your arms.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
5. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The Child’s Pose stretches the spine, hips, thighs and ankles.
How to do the Child’s Pose:
- Begin by kneeling on the floor, with your hips aligned over your knees.
- Bring your legs together so that your big toes are touching.
- Lower your body to rest your buttocks on your heels, and separate your knees.
- Exhale and lower your torso down to your inner thighs.
- Elongate your neck and your spine, stretching your tailbone down toward the floor.
- Place your hands on the floor beside your feet. Palms facing up the way.
- Relax your shoulders toward the floor, widening them across your upper back.
- Now place your forehead on the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.