For Hatha Yoga teachers, the importance of safety before, during, and after our yoga classes are measured by our safety precautions for students and our track record. Asanas primarily come to mind when we think of yoga class safety. Although pranayam could also use some safety consideration, let us talk about the value of warm-ups for asanas today.
Warm-ups are absolutely important to reduce the risk of pulling muscles, injuring joints during the session and reduce the likeliness of muscle and joint stiffness after the session. Also the Yoga postures are more easily performed when the joints have been loosened and the muscles warmed.
All warm-ups should be practiced slowly. If Yoga students ignore safety, stop them right away and go over precise technique. Some of the movements I would teach are:
Palm Tree Posture or Palmyrasana: Standing upright with a straight back and the head in line, legs and feet together, the arms raised straight up with the backs of the hands facing each other, inhale and raise high on the toes while stretching arms and body upwards as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds, then lower to the floor exhaling.
Standing Twist: Standing erect with arms extended in front of the chest, palms down and thumbs touching, slowly swing the arms as far to the left as possible while keeping the gaze on the backs of the hands and exhaling. Hold the twist for a second or two then slowly return to front and repeat to the other side.
Standing Backward Bend: Standing upright with arms raised straight up and palms forward, breathe in and bend backwards slowly from the waist keeping feet, legs and pelvis steady. Pause briefly before straightening up then breathe out.
Diver’s Posture: Standing upright with legs together and arms by the side, take a deep breathe and rise high on the toes. Lean forward at an angle of about forty five degrees while taking the arms out and back. Balance on the toes for ten seconds then exhaling stand up straight, bringing the arms to the sides and lowering the heels on the floor.
© Copyright 2010 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Publications
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