Even though warm ups are itsy bitsy things, don’t be tempted to skip them. It is essential to warm up the muscles before practicing the poses in order to avoid strain or injury. Plus, the exercises gently tone the body in their own way. Bingo wings be gone! And most of them can be done anytime, anywhere ……

Warm ups for Shoulders and Arms:

  • Shoulder Shrugs: Stand in Mountain Pose. (See Post 9/2/2012). Inhale and raise both shoulders as high as possible up towards  the ears. Exhale, and drop them down again. (x3)
  • Shoulder Rotations: Breathing in and out normally, roll your shoulders in a circular motion, clockwise direction. Then repeat the motion, going anti-clockwise. (x6)
  • Stretching Arms Overhead: Inhale, and raise both arms to shoulder height. Exhale, and turn the palms to face the ceiling. Inhaling, raise both arms overhead with palms facing each other and finger tips stretching up towards the ceiling. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds. Exhale, and let both arms flop down by your sides again. (x3) CAUTION:DO NOT take the arms overhead if you suffer from High Blood Pressure or heart problems.
  • Shoulder Stretches: Stretch your arms in front of you at chest level. Clasp your hands together and inhaling, stretch the arms away from you. Exhale, and release. (x3)  Now, do it the opposite way. Rotate the shoulders backwards and stretch the arms behind you, again clasping the hands. Inhaling, stretch the arms away from you and bring the shoulder blades towards each other. Exhale, and release the arms. (x 3)
  • Palm Tree Stretch: This stretches the sides of the body as well as the arms. Inhaling, stretch both arms overhead. Clasping the right wrist, stretch the entire left side of the body as if you were a palm tree swaying in the breeze. Exhale, and release the arms back down again. Repeat on other side. (x3)  See CAUTION above.

Warm ups for the legs:

  • Leg Stretches: Lie on the floor with the knees bent. Stretch the right leg up towards the ceiling. Place the toes of the left foot against the right heel to help support the right leg. Hold for 3 breaths. Repeat on left leg. (x3)
  • Ankle Rolls: Lie on the floor with the knees bent. Raise both legs up towards the ceiling. Rotating the ankles, make large circles with both feet, 6 in a clockwise direction, and then 6 anticlockwise.
  • Flexing Toes: Lie on the floor. Raise both legs upwards. Point the toes towards the face and then away from the face several times.

Warm ups for the Spine:

  • Supine Twist: Lie on the floor. Bend the knees and drop them both down towards the floor on your right side. Bend the arms and place them on the floor at shoulder height. Look to the left and gaze at the finger tips. Inhale, exhale and then repeat in the opposite direction. (x3)
  • Stretching the Spine: Lie on your front. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Inhaling, stretch the entire right side of the body extending the arm from the shoulder and the leg from the hip. Keep the calf muscles relaxed. Repeat on the left. Repeat x3.
  • Cat Pose (See 23/2/12) and Hangover Pose  (See 1/3/12) are also warm ups for the spine.

Warm up for the Hips:

  • Supine Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana): Lie on the floor with the knees bent. Place the soles of the feet together and very gently bounce the knees up and down, imitating the wings of a butterfly! Keep the tailbone moving down and slightly into the body and keep the navel moving up towards the face. Hold for 6 breaths. CAUTION: DO NOT attempt this pose if you have had hip replacement surgery. ~ If you have knee problems, place cushions under the knees and proceed very carefully.

Warm ups for the Neck:

  • Clasp the hands behind the head. Inhale, exhale and slowly direct your right ear down towards the right shoulder. Inhaling, use your elbows to bring the head back up again. Repeat on left side.
  • Then repeat dropping the head carefully down towards the chest. Again use the elbows to bring the head back up again.
  • ONLY do this movement if your neck is in tip-top condition. Clasp the hands behind the back of the head as before. Lift the spine up into the back of the head and curving your neck into an arc shape, direct it back towards the shoulder blades. Use the elbows to bring the head back up again.
  • Repeat sequence x3. CAUTION:If you have any doubts about your neck, SKIP this sequence!!!