Fitness Magazine

Classic (Static) Warm-Up Poses

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge

by Nina
Classic (Static) Warm-Up PosesIn addition to his recent post that focused on dynamic floor poses (see Dynamic Floor Warm-Up), Baxter will be sharing more warm-up sequences in the future. I thought today to complement his project I’d list all the static warm-up poses for which we have instructions on the blog. I’m dividing them into three categories, which represent three different basic ways to start: standing, seated, and reclining. I’ll try to give some hints about what kind of practices they’re good for and provide the link to the pose instructions. I hope this list alone will give you new ideas for how to start your practices.  
(See Iyengar-Style Sequencing, Part 2: Warming Up for information about which types of poses will help you warm up for a sequence that focuses on backbends, seated forward bends, seated twists, or inverted poses.)
Half Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Ardo Adho Mukha Svanasana): This fantastic allover stretch opens your shoulders and stretches your arms, back, chest, spine, and legs (in versions 1 and 3), making it a good warm up for almost any kind of practice.
Half Widespread Standing Forward Bend (Arda Prasarita Padottanasana): This pose also opens your shoulders and stretches your arms, back, hips and legs. It not only helps stretch your hamstring muscles but also helps stretch and strengthen your inner thigh muscles, which become stiff and weak from long hours at a desk or in a chair.  
Mountain Pose (Tadasana): This pose supports healthy overall posture, teaching you healthy alignment of your pelvis and spine over your feet, and your head over your torso. It also cultivates strong legs, an even balance between your feet, and an even opening in your chest and your upper back. Versions 3 and 4 (Reverse Namaste and Clasped Elbows) open your front chest, open your shoulder joints for taking your arms behind your back, strengthens the muscles between your shoulder blades, and stretches your forearms and wrists.  
Upward Hands Pose (Urdva Hastasana: This pose provides the postural benefits of Mountain pose while at the same time stretching and strengthening your arms and shoulders. The slight backbend in your upper back opens your chest, encouraging a good inhalation, and helps reverse text neck or head forward syndrome. The three variations provide even more benefits!  
Upward Hands Modified (Urdva Hastasana): This pose is an easier version with arms angled for tight shoulders.  
Upward Hands at the Wall (Urdva Hastasana): Using the wall for support allows you to increase the overall stretch and to hold the pose for longer periods of time.  
Half Upward Hands at the Wall (Arda Urdva Hastasana): This provides an excellent stretch for the entire side of your body, preparing you backbends, forward bends, and standing poses. Also opens up your side chest and armpit, areas that can limit your arms going overhead.  
Standing Cow-Face Pose (Gomukasana): Because the pose works your two arms differently, it’s almost like two poses in one, taking your shoulders and arms through much of their range of motion. The pose also stretches and strengthens your shoulder blades, upper back and neck.  
Eagle Pose Arms (Garudasana): The pose increases mobility in your shoulders and releases tension from certain parts of your shoulder joint. It moves your shoulder blades on your rib cage into upward rotation, encouraging an important, functional movement for healthy shoulders and arms.  
Modified Eagle Pose Arms (Garudasana): This pose is easier version of Eagle pose arms for those with very tight shoulders.  
Bear Hug: This is a modified way to work towards full Eagle pose arms.  
Standing Locust (Salabasana). This opens your chest, address tightness that limits your arms moving into extension behind your body.  
Standing Chest Opener: This pose opens your chest, lengthing part of the pectoralis major muscle that lies under your breast tissue.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): This pose stretches the muscles and fascial connective tissues along the entire back surface of the body, and opens the back buttock muscles, the hamstrings, and the calf muscles. It also lengthens the long and more vertically oriented muscles that line the sides of the spine and neck area. Because it’s a partial inversion, it can help prepare you for full inversions.  
Standing Leg Stretches (Padangusthasana): The three versions of this pose stretch your hips in several different directions while also stretching the backs of your legs and lengthening your lower back.  
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svasana): This pose opens up your shoulders and upper back and stretches and lengthens the muscles in your lower back, the backs of your hips, and the backs of the legs (especially the hamstring and calf muscles) while at the same time strengthening your upper body. Because it’s a partial inversion, it can help prepare you for full inversions.  
Hero Pose (Virasana): This pose teaches good sitting posture and strengthens the back muscles needed to support your spine in a healthy position. It also stretches the front of your thighs, shins, and ankles.
Easy Sitting Pose (Sukasana): This pose teaches you how to sit with good posture in your other seated yoga poses and in everyday life while strengthening the back muscles needed to support your spine in a healthy position and stretching several of your hip muscles.  
Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Konasana): This pose stretches your inner thighs, improving the range of motion of your hip joints. You can use it to prepare for more advanced seated poses that require openness of the hips as well as for standing poses that need good inner thigh length.  
Hunting Dog Pose: This pose energizes and strengthens your entire body. When you lift both your arm and leg, you’re strengthening shoulder, arm, and leg muscles, as well as upper and lower back muscles and pelvic and core muscles.  
Puppy Pose: This pose helps build upper body strength while also increasing flexibility in the shoulders. As a side effect, if you keep your spine neutral, you also strengthen your front abdominal muscles (and who doesn’t love that).
Supported Backbend: This pose stretches the muscles and fascia of your front body, both the long axis of your belly and chest and the side-to-side axis from your breastbone out to your shoulders. The versions with the arms overhead add even more stretch along your longitudinal length.  
Reclined Arms Overhead (Supta Urdva Hastasana): Provides a gentle and effective way to open tight shoulders, as you can hold the pose longer than a standing version.  
Reclined Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana): This pose activates and stretch the various layers of rotating muscles that help to spin your spine around its vertical axis, strengthening these muscles if they are weak and releasing excessive tension that can build up in them. This pose is also good for building core strength.  
Reclined Leg Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana): This classic stretch pose is both a hip opener and a leg stretch, as it stretches your hips in several different directions while also stretching the backs of your legs and lengthening your lower back.
Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana): This excellent hip opener deeply folds your hip joints, improves the rotation of your thighbones in the joints, and stretches the inner thigh muscles, which can increase your range of motion in these directions. And even though your knees are bent, many of you will also feel some stretch in your hamstrings.
Child’s Pose, Arms Forward Version (Balasana): This version of Child’s pose is excellent for helping to open your chest and upper back in preparation for poses like Downward-Facing Dog pose or even backbends.  
Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): Does this one surprise you? Because this pose stretches the backs of your legs, it can be a good way to warm up for a forward bend practice. And if you’re tired before practice, it allows you rest up before you move on to more demanding poses.
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