Why Warming Up in Yoga Is Important? Let’s Figure Out Together

Why Warming Up in Yoga Is Important? Let’s Figure Out Together

Well, you have all your yoga props now and you have selected the best space to start yoga at home. You probably are thinking — “Should I get into it straight away?” The answer is — Not yet. Before you dive in, there is one thing you need to know and learn —  warm up.

Warm up is a pre-exercise routine aimed at preparing the body for any type of activity. Whether it be dancing or singing or sport or even just doing a speech. It is important to prepare yourself physically and mentally. Teachers and instructors in all of these areas will highly agree with me. And so are yoga teachers.

Tree Pose

Why Warm Up

Since it is your first time to do yoga practice, you may not have any Yoga warm-up poses that you can perform. Since not all online videos do not have a warm up sequence, it is ideal that we do it ourselves just to be on the safe side. While others may have a short warm up sequence, because it’s your first time, you may concentrate on watching and learning the poses first before going full on. By the time you get to the main part, you are not properly ready for it.

As the words suggest, it is like starting a car in a cold weather. The engine might be frozen so we need to let it the engine running first before we move to get the car to perform well and avoid getting problems in the long run. The same thing applies to our body. We need it to raise the heart rate and circulate blood to every muscle in our body to fuel them for the coming activity.

One very important reason why we warm even with yoga it to prevent injury. Warming up encourages muscular flexibility and energy that will allow us to move with ease from one pose to another without hurting ourselves in the bending, balancing and twisting poses in yoga.

There many types of warm up you can do to get yourself ready for yoga.

Cardio Warm Up

Walking is a low impact cardio warm that will definitely increase your heart rate and warm you up. If you want to increase the intensity and benefit, you can do brisk walking or if you don’t have enough space at home you can jog in place.

You can get inexpensive cardio warm up video online. But you have an option to make up your own cardio warm up. I have created a simple warm up routine for you.

Jumping jack is also a good warm up activity. You can create variety by moving your feet sideways (conventional) or forward and back. You could also mix it with some forward kicks.

One good way of making it enjoyable is to make create a variation in your warm up sequence. Try these sequence:

  1. Jog in place for 8 counts (for intensity lift knees up to hip level)
  2. Jumping jack (sideways) 8 counts
  3. Jumping jack (forward and backward) 8 counts
  4. Forward kicks (left and right) 8 counts
  5. Repeat sequence for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes until you feel a little sweaty.

Just be cautious to do the kicks according to your level of flexibility. Don’t go for height, go for quality. Which means to breathe and suck your tummy in, activate leg muscles and keep a straight and upright posture.

Strength Warm Up

Push up is a pretty good whole body warm up. Make sure you suck your tummy in, activate leg muscles and breath properly to get maximise this. For first-timers, do the push ups on your knees. Combining cardio and strength warm up would be great too.

home body weight workouts

Stretching

Usually, after a warm up, you’ll need to do stretching. But in this instance, yoga will be your stretching.

Yoga Warm Up Poses

If you have done some yoga before, you would already know some warm up yoga poses that are ideal for warm up. Just like starting the engine of the car, we start with breathing exercises to warm up our respiratory system. Breathing is an essential part of this practice and it is an indispensable part of every pose. In your first few or more practices you will be focusing your breathing.

Yoga breathing (Pranayama) encourages us to breathe through the nose all the time and down to our tummy. There are many yoga breathing techniques that we can use in this part. Will discuss it in my next blogs. In the meantime, work on this basic one I have learned when I first started.

Cross Legged Yoga Seating

 

Go into a cross-legged seating position. Seat upright and keep your spine straight. Relax in this position and release the tension in the neck and shoulders. Pay attention to your breath and inhale slowly for four counts and expand your tummy. Breath out slowly for four counts and squeeze your tummy. Make sure you do both in the same rhythm. Do this about eight to twelve times.

This is a great way of massaging your internal organs and most importantly it helps you focus on the present moment. By paying attention to your breath, you eliminate distractions and stop our monkey mind from going somewhere else. If it does happen, just bring your attention back to your breath.

To learn more about basic Yoga breathing, there are very helpful videos you can find online.

Moving onto a more physical warm up. I usually go for poses that do not demand a wide range of motion.

PlankPlank is one of my favorites (See photo on the right). The plank will target the abs, the chest, the back, the arms and the legs. This is definitely a warm up material. If this is your first time to do a plank, you might find it difficult. Instead of getting onto your hands, go closer to the ground by bending your elbows and placing forearm on the ground. This will definitely get things cooking.

Squat

The Squat is another warm up pose I do often. Go in a standing position and feet together or hip-width apart and toes pointing forward (parallel to each other). Extend your arms forward or up keeping it tight and strong. Suck your tummy in. Bend your knees and lower hips as if you are sitting on an edge of a chair. Keep your back straight. But don’t go too low on this. Remember it is just a warm up. There are quite a few more warm poses I do. Start on this one first and I’ll discuss more of the others in my next blogs.

Conclusion

After doing the warm up session whether it is a yoga warm up pose or non-yoga activity, you should feel much better and get more benefits from your yoga practice because you are more ready.  It is important to keep this a habit at the start of every practice. Preparation is the key.

If you have any questions or comments or if you like this article, please leave a comment below.

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