Teaching Yoga – The Value of Hatha Yoga Warm Ups

June 13th, 2010

By Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

Most Yoga students need to be taught a specific method for warm ups, or loosen the muscles and joints. Increased circulation in the muscles and lubrication of the joints are crucial to avoid injury and to get the benefits of the yoga practice. Warm ups also provide a time to begin to focus the mind and breath and make it less likely for the student to have stiffness or soreness afterwards.

During a Yoga teacher training intensive course, it is important for interns to learn a variety of warm ups from seated, standing, or kneeling positions.  As you know, many Yoga teachers start classes from different positions.

A warm up could begin seated, kneeling, or in standing positions reaching upwards into Palm Tree Posture II and then moving into Palm Tree posture IV, stretching the sides of the body. Rag doll Forward bend begins to loosen up the body with the bending, swinging and limpness of the arms releasing tension in the neck, shoulder and back while lengthening the hamstrings. Swinging rag doll and arm swings helps release and twisting from side to side is also good.

The Chimp Bounce is excellent for circulation and “lightness” as it is and hard to remain too serious while bouncing and vocalizing. Arm Rotation and Shoulder Squeeze are good for warming up the shoulder joints. Many people tend to carry tension in the shoulders so a good warm up there is essential.

Head rolls are good from left to right, but not backward. Be very careful of the neck to avoid compression on the back side of the movement. Some options like shoulder rolls, and hip circling are all good for loosening and preparing the body for asanas. Sitting down, the Spinal Rock I and Cradle Rock are good warm ups for gently massaging the length of the spine.

The Recumbent Stretch would fit in nicely here as a further warm up and release of tension. Then while sitting in Sukhasana one may do ankle rolls and foot stretches. This puts less strain on the knees and enables a thorough exploration of the stretch in the feet and ankles.

© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

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