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How to Warm Up Before Yoga Asana Practice
There are a variety of ways to warm up before Yoga asana practice. Before beginning your Yoga practice, it is helpful to set an intention for your practice. Think of someone or something you would like to dedicate the fruits of your practice to, and then offer your dedication to the universe with your hands in Lotus mudra. Lotus mudra is performed by placing your hands in prayer position at your heart and opening the first three fingers of each hand. This mudra represents reverence and a gesture of offering.
Before beginning your practice of Yoga asanas, it is a very good idea to warm-up your muscles. There are both passive and active ways to warm up before your asana practice. To arrive at Yoga class a few minutes early, in order to set up your mat and do some basic stretching, will help you to ground and be ready for the more vigorous Sun Salutations that are classically done at the beginning of a Yoga practice.
Take a brisk walk before Yoga class.
One surefire way to warm up your muscles before class is to take a brisk ten to thirty minute walk. If you are able to, you can even walk to the Yoga studio. A walk will help to boost your circulation and warm up your muscles before beginning your asana practice.
Balasana or Child's Pose
Once you are at the studio and have set up your Yoga mat, a great pose to start opening up your groin, lower back, arm and shoulder muscles is Child's Pose. This pose is performed by sitting on your knees and leaning over towards your mat with your arms outstretched. Only work with the range as far as you are comfortable. For a deeper stretch, open your knees wider and stretch your arms further away from your torso. Hold for one to five minutes and come up slowly.
Gentle Downward Facing Dog while alternating legs.
Before jumping into the Sun Salutations, practicing a very gentle Downward Facing Dog Pose will help you to warm up your legs, back, shoulders, wrists and arms. To perform Downward Facing Dog, come out of Child's Pose and extend your feet behind you with your feet a foot apart. Place your hands on the mat in front of you, palms down. You will be in an inverted "V" shape. Slowly shift your body weight from foot to foot as you breath deeply and peddle out the tension. You will feel a stretch all through your legs, arms and shoulders. Practice this pose for a few minutes and then come down and rest in Child's Pose.
Warm ups for asana practice are always a wise idea. Surya namaskar or Sun Salutation asana of yoga is an ancient technique for paying respect or expressing gratitude to the Sun because without it there is no life on our planet. Sun is the main source of all forms of life exists on earth. Surya namaskar, as people commonly understand as an exercise beneficial for whole body stretching, flexing, toning and strengthening back muscles also practiced as an excellent activity for weight loss. Above all its advantages it is said to be an important tool that empowers an individual to get relief from compulsive cycle and patterns of life efficiently.
According to ancient yogis there is a complete science behind performing Surya namaskar as different organs of our body are administered by different Devas or Devine light. All our emotions are stored in solar plexus located behind naval, the central point of human body and from where an individual’s gut feelings arise. The yogis stated that this solar plexus is like a small sized gooseberry and is directly connected with the Sun. Regular practice of Surya namaskar helps in enhancing solar plexus almost 3 to 4 times bigger from its actual size, more solar plexus enlarges; direct to increase in mental stability, creativity and intuitive abilities.
When physical movements are performed by body parts, mind regulates through solar plexus and soul chants OM while practicing Surya namaskar the practitioner may acquire valuable and beneficial boost in overall wellbeing. Expert yogis highly recommend regular practice of this posture and preferred to start the day with Surya namaskar because performing sequenced poses daily in morning with empty stomach offers numerous benefits from strengthening core muscles, improving memory, mental concentration to calming down nervous system and getting liberated from anxiety and stress. For achieving better results and enormous advantages ensure that one should practice it regularly at the time of sun rise with correct body placement and breathing process.
There is a set of around 12 different poses of Surya namaskar, comprises of classical Sun salutation yoga sequence like Tad asana, Urdha Hastasana, Uttanasana, Ardha Uttanasana, Chaturanga Danadasana, Bhujangasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana etc. All of these poses have long lasting health benefits for vital organs of body such as heart, liver, intestine, lungs and brain. As from head to toe each body part is benefitted by performing set of Surya namaskar poses. By stretching and compression of abdominal organs the function of digestive system improves along with detoxification of toxic wastes from body and normalizing working of endocrine and thyroid glands. Active inhalation and exhalation helps in comprehensive ventilation of lungs by providing adequate amount of oxygen in blood.
Several research studies has proved that incorporating these set of poses in daily routine will be helpful in transforming state of mind, a positive attitude and self awareness in an individual’s life. As stated in a report study conducted among college students in which a group of 124 students were included into regular practice of Surya namaskar and another control group in which students did not practice any type of such activity. After two weeks it is concluded that the group which performed daily Surya namaskar poses experienced boost in moods, feelings of joy and rest with quiet mind and less worry as compared to other control group which did not perform any exercise.
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