Yoga Asanas: Warm Up Poses

On days when your body feels especially stiff or cold, try practicing the following simple exercises before doing these workouts. To warm up quickly and easily, do several gentle repetitions, holding the final pose for just a few seconds.

For example, in Cat Stretch, arch your back up and down gently in time with your breath. In Wraparound Twist, gently twist from right to left and back again, holding each pose for just a second or two. As your body warms up and gets looser, you can increase the time that you stay in the pose.

Sacrum Massage
  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees until your thighs are vertical, feet off the floor.
  2. With knees bent, make circling movements with your tailbone by rotating your legs slowly, first in one direction, then the other.
Biking Pose
  1. Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest.
  2. Press your lower back down and make slow cycling movements with your legs, first in one direction, then the other.
Head Roll
  1. Tuck your chin slightly and relax your neck.
  2. Roll your head gently from side to side.
Cat Stretch
  1. Come onto all fours. Inhale and arch your spine, lifting your head and buttocks so your abdomen moves toward the floor.
  2. Exhale and round your back up, lowering your head and buttocks and tucking your tailbone under.
Shoulder Roll
  1. Stand up, bend your elbows, and make loose fists.
  2. Gently roll your shoulders forward several times, then back.
Blowing Tree
  1. Stand with feet slightly apart. Inhale and raise your right arm alongside your ear, palm facing the left.
  2. Exhale and bend to the left from your waist. Bend your left knee to increase the stretch. Then change sides.
Wraparound Twist
  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Point them straight ahead or turn them out slightly. Inhale and raise your arms to shoulder level.
  2. Exhale and twist to the right as far as you can, tucking your tailbone slightly. Bring your left hand to your right shoulder and wrap your right arm behind your back, resting the back of your hand by your left hip.
  3. Inhale as you rotate back to center, then exhale and twist to the other side.
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