Yoga Warm Up Exercises

Woman in a yoga class.Before performing the yoga asanas / postures it is recommended that you warm up the muscles and loosen the joints and ligaments with some gentle exercises first.

This helps with performing the yoga asanas and also reduces the chances for injuries such as pulled muscles. A warm up will improve the effectiveness of yoga postures and should be done before every session.

We recommend that you perform either the following exercises, or the Sun Salutation as part of the yoga warm up routine.

Supine Breath

  1. Lie on your back with your feet close together, knees straight, arms alongside your body with palms facing downwards. Take a few moments to calm your mind and relax.
  2. Exhale deeply.
  3. As you start to breathe in, slowly raise your arms up over your head and onto the floor behind you. At the same time, extend the heels by curling the toes up towards you.
  4. Pause for one second.
  5. As you start to breathe out again, slowly lower your arms down again and relax your feet.
  6. Pause for one second.
  7. Repeat until you have done this ten times.

Single Knee Hugs

  1. Lie flat with your knees straight.
  2. Bend your right knee and draw it up towards your chest.
  3. Clasp your hands round the top of your shin, just below the bent knee. If the knee is tender, you can clasp underneath the knee.
  4. Take a deep breath in. On the out breath, hug your knee firmly into your chest and hold for about five seconds.
  5. Ease the pressure, breathe in and repeat the knee hug on the out breath as before, then repeat a third time.
  6. Release the knee, straighten the leg and repeat the whole sequence with your other knee.

Double Knee Hugs


Double Knee Hug Yoga Pose

  1. Lie flat with your legs straight, as in the single knee hug.
  2. Then bend both knees, crossing your ankles and drawing your knees up towards your chest.
  3. Clasp your hands round the tops of your shins or underneath your knees.
  4. While breathing out, hug both knees firmly into your chest. Hold for about three seconds.
  5. Ease the pressure, breathe in deeply and repeat the hug while breathing out.
  6. Ease the pressure and repeat one more time, this time rocking gently from side to side, breathing normally for about 20 seconds.
  7. Please note that during both these exercises, the back of your head should remain on the mat. These exercises are used as gentle warm up exercise for the joints and muscles, working mainly on the lower back.

Supine Twist

Supine Twist Yoga Pose

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, with knees and feet close together.
  2. Take your arms out to your sides at shoulder level, the palms facing downwards.
  3. Breath in deeply
  4. While breathing out, slowly roll the knees over to the right, keeping them close together.
  5. Turn the head to the left to look along your left arm.
  6. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds, keeping your shoulders as flat as possible and while breathing slowly and deeply through the nose.
  7. To return to the start position, look upwards first, then lift the knees back up to upright position.
  8. Repeat on the opposite side.

Easy Forward Bend

Forward Bend Yoga Pose

  1. Sit with your legs out in front of you, with your knees straight but feet relaxed.
  2. Place your hands on your knees, breathe in and straighten up the back.
  3. While breathing out, lean forward, slowly sliding your hands down your legs until they have reached a comfortable limit. This can be anywhere between your knees and heels.
  4. Grip the legs, ankles or heels. Try to flatten your back a little by bending a little more from the hips. Stretch out through the top of the head to lengthen the neck. Hold this position for about 20 – 30 seconds.
  5. Breathe in and slowly straighten up, sliding your hands back up your legs, then finishing in the start position.

After you started your yoga session with these postures you can perform a variety of other asanas.

More like this in the Yoga section

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