Can Yoga Practice Be Started Without Warm Up Exercises?

By Patricia | December 4, 2008
Gentle Warm Up Yoga Poses

Yoga involves physical exercises known an ‘Asanas’ and breathing exercises known as ‘Pranayama’. The yoga ‘Asanas’, through various poses and extended stretches, build your stamina and improve your posture. ‘Pranayama’, on the other hand, improves the functioning of your respiratory system.

The level of difficulty of the ‘Asanas’ and ‘Pranayama’ is highly variable. The most important rule while practicing yoga is to make sure you are doing the breathing and physical exercises correctly, otherwise it will not help your body and mind. Like any other form of exercise it is a good idea to warm up the body before performing Yoga.

Warming up the body maximizes blood flow to the muscles and makes the tendons more flexible and strong. The gentle warm-up exercises loosen your ligaments, which helps with performing the yoga postures and also reduces the chances of injury. However, make sure you do not overdo it as this may result in the tightening of your muscles making them more prone to injury.

Gentle warm-up exercises prepare the body for a more intense workout. You could start with something simple like walking, cycling or climbing up the stairs. Yoga has also many of its own warm –up routines that can be followed to prepare the body for further exercise. A good yoga warm-up exercise is the ‘Surya Namaskar’ or Sun salutation, an amalgamation of ‘Asanas’ or yoga poses and ‘Pranayama’ or breathing exercises. This procedure has 12 steps which begins with deep breathing and ends with ‘Tadasana’ or Mountain pose. All the breathing exercises during Sun salutation stimulate your energy levels. The postures help you increase your awareness of your own body before beginning any yoga session.

The intensity of warm-up depends on the exercises you are going to perform at home. If you are attending a class, follow the instructions of your yoga teacher in class. Wherever you might be practicing yoga, make sure you are comfortable with the poses. If your muscles regularly feel stiff after your routine, perhaps you need to increase the intensity of your warm-up routine.

The best way to prevent injury to your body is to increase the level of your warm-up routine slowly such that the tissues become conditioned to stress and then respond to the stress with increased strength and flexibility. A warm-up routine is exceedingly important and improves the effectiveness of yoga. It is also the best way to avoid strains, pulls, and soreness. Ideally, it should be performed before every workout.

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