Friday, July 10, 2009

Warm up Yoga | Warm up exercises before Yoga

Yoga is one of the most full-filling forms of fitness. It helps you keep both your body and mind fit through a series of postures, breathing techniques and meditation. Yoga can be practiced by everyone, irrespective of age and physical condition. In fact this practice is so flexible that it can be adapted to suit your state. However as with any other form of exercise yoga too comes with a set of preconditions: compulsory warm up yoga exercises.

Many yoga practitioners choose to ignore yoga warm up exercises, diving straight into the many postures. This can be a dangerous move, one that could result in a lasting injury.

Why is Warm up Yoga Important?

It is important to warm up before beginning a yoga routine. A warm up allows the body to prepare itself for the coming exercises; it gets the blood moving; it allows the muscles to warm up and shed some of their stiffness; it helps to loosen the joints; and makes the body more flexible. All of these help you gain the most out of your routine. Through warm up yoga you reduce the chances of injury (like pulling a muscle or cramping) that may arise from stiff muscles or joints.

How to Warm up before Exercising?

There are several yoga warm up exercises that can precede your routine. Some people prefer to do cycles of sun salutations as warm up yoga, other prefer a series of yoga warm up poses.

Sun Salutations – The sun salutations are a series of twelve basic yoga poses that are performed in a cyclical flow. You can perform as many cycles as you want depending on your stamina and time on hand. The sun salutations ensure that the muscles and stretched, the joints are loosened and the blood is pumping before your routine. If the sun salutations aren’t to your liking, you can opt for the following yoga warm up exercises:

Eye Exercises – Once you join a yoga class your trainer will help you with a set of warm up yoga exercises. Amongst these will several eye exercises. Like the rest of your body, your eye muscles also need to warm up. The idea here is to move your eyes, following a routine, in every direction without moving your head. This allows the eye muscles to be warmed. It also strengthens them and improves eye sight.

Neck Exercises – Most of our stress and tension is held along the neck. This causes stiffness, poor posture and give rise t o stress and anxiety related headaches. Without yoga warm up exercises, this stress will get aggravated and turn into a serious injury. This set of warm up exercises involves moving your head up and down and sideways in a disciplined routine. These simple exercises reduce tension, improve circulation and tone muscles in this region.

Shoulder Exercises – Like the neck, the shoulders too hold a lot of stiffness and stress. It is essential to warm up these muscles before undertaking intense exercise. This is where shoulder lifts and stretches come in. These gentle movements get the blood moving and the stiffness out of the shoulders and back. These movements also improve body posture.

Arm Exercises – Similarly warm up arm exercises also get the blood moving. Through a series of arm lifts, rolls and elbow touches, you can work away all the stiffness settled and tension settled along the arms, ribs and back.