Fitness Magazine

Dynamic Floor Warm-Up

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Baxter
Truth be told, starting a yoga practice by on the floor is my favorite way to begin, regardless of what might come later in the sequence. It is a great way to warm up for both gentle and active practices. It’s also a nice way to start the day for a morning practice or end the day for an early evening practice. If you tend to have a boney backside, your practice space is cold, or are just sensitive to a hard surface, you can place a blanket under your hips, shoulders, and head to provide a bit of support and comfort.
The dynamic floor warm-up sequence that follows is only one of many ways I start a practice on the floor. This one is particularly suited as a warm-up for a more active practice due to the inclusion of dynamic poses with lots of movement.
For this warm-up sequence you will need a strap and a block. If you find this warm-up a bit too long for you on any given day, try doing a few less rounds of the dynamic sequences (for example, only two rounds of Reclined Hip Stretch vinyasa), shortening the holds on the static poses to 30 seconds, or only doing one or two of the variations of Reclined Leg Stretch pose. You can also remove poses entirely, such as the Yoga Sit Ups, Bridge pose, or any pose that you might choose. 
And even though this series of poses is a way to warm up for a longer practice, it could also be a fine mini-practice all on its own!

1. Constructive Rest Pose

Dynamic Floor Warm-UpThis is a great position to start any floor practice where you are going to be on your back.  Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet about a foot from your hips, with arms relaxed at your sides. Take a moment to tune into your body and your breath before you begin the active poses.
2. Pelvic Rock and Roll  
(Sorry, no photos.)
TThis is a great way to bring some mobility to the lower back and hips. In Constructive Rest pose, bring your awareness to your breath. On an exhalation, rock your pelvis towards your head, lowering your lower back gently to the floor. On on your inhalation, roll your pelvis towards your heels, gently arching your lower back away from the floor. (This is similar to the actions we do in Cat-Cow pose. 
3. Dynamic Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
Dynamic Floor Warm-UpThis pose stretches your hip muscles and warm up your shoulders and arms. From Constructive Rest pose, stretch your legs out along the floor. Inhale and raise your arms overhead alongside your ears. Then exhale and bend your right knee into your chest, bringing your hands to hold onto the right shin. Mindfully squeeze your knee in towards your chest for a few breaths. Inhale and stretch your right leg along the floor and bring your arms back overhead. Exhale and bring your left leg in. Repeat the process, doing the sequence to 2 or 3 times to each side. See Knees to Chest Pose for information.    
4. Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence
Dynamic Floor Warm-UpThis dynamic sequence is another good way to warm up your hips and focus your attention on the breath and movement. See Dynamic Reclined Hip Stretches for instructions. Do 3-6 rounds. This video presents the sequence:   

5. Reclined Leg Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana)
Dynamic Floor Warm-UpOne of my all-time favorite poses, this pose stretches the muscles around your hips in many directions as well as your hamstrings. You can do just one of the variations, but I typically do all four of them, as they also prepare you for many standing poses. Hold each variation for 30-60 seconds. See Featured Pose: Reclined Leg Stretch for instructions. This video shows two variations: 
6. Yoga Sit-Ups
This dynamic sequence helps strengthen many of the core muscles of the belly area.
From Constructive Rest pose, establish a slight arch in your lower back. You will be keeping this arched shape steady as you move through the yoga sit-ups, avoiding flattening or overarching the back as you roll up and down. Interlace your fingers a bring your hands behind your head, resting your head against them with elbows pointing to the sky. Start by taking an inhalation to get ready and then as you exhale, roll your head and chest up towards your bent knees a few inches. As you inhale, roll your head and chest back to the starting position. Repeat 6 times. This video provides more info:  
7. Dynamic Bridge Pose (Setubandha Sarvangasana)
Dynamic Floor Warm-UpThis pose stretches the front of your body while also strengthening the muscles at the back of your body.
From Constructive Rest pose, slide your heels back towards your buttocks so they are about 4-5 inches away. Place a block between your inner thighs on its narrow width and squeeze it moderately, maintaining the squeeze throughout. Now press your feet and arms (from shoulders to hands, palms down) down into the floor. On an inhalation, lift your hips straight up towards the ceiling as far as comfortable, like an elevator rising. On your exhalation, lower your hips gently back down to the floor. Repeat 6 times. This video contains more info:
8. Bridge Pose (Setubandha Sarvangasana)
Dynamic Floor Warm-UpRest for a few breaths and then come into the classic version of Bridge pose for 30-60 seconds (see Featured Pose: Bridge Pose for instructions). Return to Constructive Rest pose for a few breaths.
Keep your eyes peeled for a video of all of these poses linked together, coming soon!
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