Standing Warm-up Yoga Poses

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1. Warp-up: When starting a standing yoga practice, it is important to warm up and get your muscles ready for action. The moves are similar to what you will be doing in your practice to avoid injury.

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2. Mountain Pose: Lower your chin to your chest and roll your head to the right and then to the left. Make sure that both feet are planted on the ground. Roll your head in a circular motion for at least five counts. Stretch your hip in a circular motion both ways at least five times. Then, take a deep breath.

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3. Back Stretch: Lean head down and stretch back. Roll down your vertebrae, one-by-one, as far as you canKeep your knees bent, push through your feet, and reverse the downward path back to mountain pose. Stand up and put your hands back in a triangle motion in the small of your back. Be sure to keep your knees slightly bent.

4. Upper Back Stretch: Put your arms above your head in a slightly bent position. Lean your hips side to side, and then go back into the mountain pose. Repeat five times.

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5. Intense Side Chest Stretch: (wrists, neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, and wrists are also stabilized): Stand in the mountain pose and join your hands behind in a prayer position. Step feet apart 3 to 4 inches. Turn right foot out 90 degrees and left foot out 45 degrees. Turn your hips, trunk, and shoulders to the right. Exhale and extend your trunk over the right leg, taking the head over the right leg. Keep both legs straight, hips level, and your weight evenly distributed over both feet.  Hold for 20 seconds and then turn your feet forward, release your hands, and repeat on the other side. Complete at least 5 repetitions. 

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6. Warrior I or Chest, Back, and Neck Stretch: Stand in the mountain pose, step feet 3 or 4 feet apart, and raise your arms to shoulder level. Turn the palms upwards and extend the arms toward the ceiling, keeping the elbows straight, and the palms facing one another. Be you’re your back foot is turned 15 degrees to the side.

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7. Floating Arms: Float your arms up to shoulder height, palms down. Swim them behind and out to the side of your body. Roll your shoulders to the front and back. For a change of pace, alternate your rolling shoulders.

8. Back Shoulder Roll: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms handing relaxed by your sides. Inhale as you bring your shoulder up to your ears. Roll your shoulder firmly back. Squeeze them as close together as you can. Then, exhale as you roll them down and return to the starting position. Inhale as you squeeze your shoulders together behindBring them up to your ears and exhale as you pull them forward and down. Continue rotating your shoulders up and back five times each.

9. Wrist, Shoulder, and Finger Stretch: Rotate your wrist joint in a circular motion and then open and close your hands at least five times. Shake your arms to shoulder height and back alongside the body. Be sure to relax the rest of your body.

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10. Warrior II or Leg, Spine, and Abdominals Strengthening: Stand in the mountain pose, step feet 3 to 4 feet apart, and extend the arms out to the side, palms facing the floor. Extend then turn up from the hips and right leg to ninety degrees. Extend the arms to the right and left with the chest and look out along the right arm. Be sure your back foot is turned 15 degrees to the side.

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11. Tree Pose or Balance Pose: Stand in the mountain pose and bring your leg up to your shin or above your knee. Hold that position for 15-20 seconds and switch legs. For a modification, balance with one hand against a wall.

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12. Extended Triangle Pose or Hip-Opener Pose: Stand in the mountain pose and extend your legs about 3 to 4 feet apart. Extend arms to your side, keeping palms to floor. Bend to one side and lift your arms above your head. Hold the opposite ankle or shin with your opposite hand. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds and then come up. Reverse with other arm. Be sure your back foot is turned 15 degrees to the side.

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13. Chair Pose or Shin, Knees, Thighs, and Hips Strengthener: Stand in the mountain pose. Keep your back tall and straight, and lift your arms above your head. Your upper arms should be directly beside your ears. Place your palms together and pretend you are sitting in a chair. Hold at least 5 breaths, and on each exhale, try to sink a little deeper while still keeping your feet firmly planted on theInhale as you straighten your legs and return to the standing position.

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14. Calf Stretch: Rise on the balls of your feet and keep your weight behind the leg and littleLower back unto your heels and sink slightly, bending your knees.

15. Shin Stretch: Raise your left leg in front your body, flex and extend your ankle joint, and then rotate your foot in a circle. Repeat with other side and do at least five repetitions. 

Standing poses are good to do alone or alongside other sports such as walking, running, biking, or swimming. Yoga teaches balance and promotes mental acuity. No matter your sport or age, yoga can teach you skills for life. 

Christina Chapan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Bromley, Gary. Yoga Class. Dungley, Australia: Hinkler Books, 2004

Pettinato, Yolanda. Simply Yoga. Dungley, Australia: Hinkler Books, 2004.

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