Fitness Magazine

Seated Warm Up

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Baxter
Although starting a longer practice while lying on the floor is my favorite way to go (see Dynamic Floor Warm Up ), starting from a sitting position is a close second, especially first thing in the morning if, after just getting out of bed, I don’t want to lie back down again. So if you’re practicing in the morning or planning morning classes, this might be a particularly good way to start your practice/class. For practices in the early evening when you might be mentally fatigued, a seated warm up helps you maintain mental alertness at the start of a practice done in the early evening when you might be more mentally fatigued. I also find that changing the starting position for a practice as a form of variability is also more mentally engaging, as opposed to always starting your practice on your back, for example. Warming up in a seated position is also very useful when reclining warm-ups are difficult because of a physical condition, whether due to minor issues, such seasonal head colds and sinus infections, or more significant issues, such as active gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or some types of vertigo that worsen when you lie on your back.
The sequence I’m presenting today combines both dynamic seated mini vinyasas and seated static poses, and does a nice job warming up your spine, hips and shoulders for an active practice. This could be short stand-alone practice as well.
While many of us spend a good part of each day sitting in a chair, sitting on the ground can be challenging. One of the key aspects of any appropriate sitting practice is getting the right amount of propping under your hips for your needs, particularly if you have a lot of tightness in the legs, hips and lower spine. So, although you could do the entire sequence with just your mat underneath you, feel free to sit up on a folded blanket, a block, or even a bolster if it helps you to maintain a more neutral arch in your lower back.
If you want to make this sequence a bit shorter, consider doing pose 1 for only 1 minute, only doing pose 3 once, and skipping the static versions of poses 5 and 7. 
1. Hero Pose, any version, 1 to 5 minutes
Seated Warm UpThis is my personal favorite pose in which to meditate and, if your legs, knees, and hips do well with it, is a great position for starting a sitting practice. However, if your legs, knees, or hips cause pain in this pose, please practice Easy Sitting Pose (see Featured Pose: Easy Sitting Pose).
Come into any version of Hero pose that feels comfortable for you and allows for you to sit with a neutral arch in your lower back. See Featured Pose: Hero Pose for instructions on our four versions.
From here, take the time to become centered by tuning in to how your body feels at the start of your practice and how your breath is flowing. Feel free to set an intention for your entire practice.  
2. Seated Cat-Cow in Hero Pose, 6 rounds

Seated Warm Up

Chair Version

Cat-Cow is a gentle way to start moving the joints of your spine and hips.
While in Hero Pose (not in a chair), do 6 rounds of Cat-Cow, as you would if seated in a chair, moving your spine and hips with your breath. See Featured Pose: Cat-Cow Pose for instructions for the chair version. This video of Cat-Cow in Easy Sitting Pose might also be helpful:

3. Arms Overhead Pose, version 3 (Bound Hands) in Hero Pose, 30 to 60 seconds, twice

Seated Warm Up

Standing Version

Even in a seated position, Arms Overhead Pose is a wonderful pose for stretching and strengthening your upper back, shoulders, and arms, and the bound version stretches your wrists and forearms as well.
Interlace your fingers, press your palms towards the floor, and on an inhalation sweep your arms up alongside your ears, pressing your palms toward the ceiling. After 30 to 60 seconds, exhale and release your arms. Change the cross of your fingers and repeat on the second side for the same amount of time. See Featured Pose: Arms Overhead Pose for more instructions.
When you are finished with all the versions of Hero Pose, tip forward onto your hands and knees for a few breaths. Stretch one leg back, with toes on floor, to stretch your knee and calf area and repeat with the second leg.
4. Dynamic to Static Easy Sitting Side Bend 
This pose opens up the sides of your waist, rib cage, and arms. Start by coming into any version of Easy Sitting Pose described at Featured Pose: Easy Sitting Pose that works for you, except version 2 with your back to a wall, as you will need some space behind you for the next few poses.
First practice the dynamic version of the pose for 6 rounds as described in this video:

Then, practice a static version of the pose for 30 seconds on each side. With your right shin in front, come into the side bend to your right side, with right hand on the floor about 6-12 inches from your hips and left arm reaching up and over to your right as your torso side bends a bit to the right. After 30 seconds, return to upright, switch your left shin to the front, and repeat the side bend to the left. 
5. Upward Plank Pose, Version 2 (Table Pose), 30 to 60 seconds
Seated Warm Up
This seated backbend is a good warm up for back bends, if you are including those in your practice and in general helps open your chest, which is beneficial for other seated poses, standing poses, and more.
For instructions, see version 2 in Featured Pose: Upward Plank Pose. 
6. Dynamic to Static Easy Sitting Twist
Seated Warm Up
This pose is an excellent way to bring some rotational movement into your spine, which improves spinal range of motion, flexibility, and strength.
Start by coming into Easy Sitting Pose as described in Featured Pose: Easy Sitting Pose. Next practice the dynamic version of Easy Sitting Twist for 6 rounds. Follow the instructions in this video:

Then come into static Easy Sitting Twist in any version that works for you, for 30-60 seconds. Follow the instructions at Featured Pose: Easy Sitting Twist.
7. Easy Sitting Pose, Version 4 (Forward Bend), 30 to 60 seconds, twice
Seated Warm Up
This pose invites more mobility and flexibility into your hip and spinal joints, relieving stiffness in those areas.
Start with your right shin in front of your left and come into the pose as described in Featured Pose: Easy Sitting Pose. Stay for 30-60 seconds. Then, come up, move your left shin in front of your right and come into the pose for a second time for 30-60 seconds. 
8. Boat Pose, Version 2 (Hands on the Floor), 30 seconds, twice
Seated Warm Up
This poses builds strength in your core and front leg muscles.
To practice, follow the instructions at Featured Pose: Boat Pose. After you’ve finished, stretch your legs straight out on the floor and roll your legs side to side before transitioning to the rest of your practice.
I’ll be back with more ways to start a practice in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, check out Nina’s post on static poses to start a practice Classic (Static) Warm-Up Poses for more ideas. 
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