The 10 Importance of Warm Ups in Yoga
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
What is the importance of warm ups in Yoga Classes? Yoga asana practice, like all other physical activities, requires the practitioner to challenge and stretch the muscles, while creating safe space in the joints. Since an integral part of most physical Yogic practices includes meditation and breathing exercises, many practitioners feel that Yogic exercise provides a “gentle workout” and skip the vital warm up session to tackle more challenging postures as soon as possible. This can be very dangerous, since warming up the body before attempting these more challenging postures can prevent injury.
Including warm ups in Yoga sessions before asana practice is important, because it helps to heat up the body from within, while it gradually increases blood and fluid circulation. A Yoga warm up also helps to gently loosen muscles and joints, which eliminates stiffness. This makes warming up a primary objective before asana practice, since the practitioner will need flexibility, when moving into the different asanas. This is especially important during early morning Yoga workouts. After a night’s rest, the body is stiffer and a warm up session helps to get it ready for the days activities by preventing injuries that can result from stiff joints and muscles.
When a warm session is skipped, it is also harder to maintain correct posture. Proper posture is needed to receive the maximum benefits of Yoga, and practicing while having incorrect posture can result in sore muscles, micro-tears in muscle tissue, pulled muscles, or serious joint injuries.
If one is concerned with going after challenges, warming up before Yoga asana practice helps prepare the practitioner to move into more challenging poses, later on in the practice. For these poses, the practitioner needs to be at his or her most flexible, loose and warm state. If the warm up is skipped, the practitioner can be found straining to get into a particularly difficult pose, which can result in injuring one’s self during the process.
10 Poses to Help You Warm up for Yoga
6. Easy Twist
7. Cat-Cow Stretch
8. Downward Facing Dog
9. Child's Pose