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7-Minute Yoga Warm-Up to Start Your Practice Right

4 min read
a young woman is practicing yoga, doing easy pose with her hands raised, smiling at her cat walking by, yoga warm up
Chetendeep Micky Lal post Reviewer Chetendeep Micky Lal post Reviewer
MA in Kinesiology, CSCS, Registered Yoga Teacher

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Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, a proper yoga warm-up can make all the difference in your practice. Yoga warm-up poses help prepare your body and mind for the physical and mental challenges you’ll find on your mat.

Use this simple and effective 7-minute yoga warm-up routine to ease into your practice with grace and mindfulness.

Should You Warm Up Before Yoga?

Yes! If you’ve ever tried to pop into some yoga poses without preparing, you know the importance of a good warm-up. Whether you feel it right away or the next day, you will notice if you skip your warm-up before yoga.

If you’re in the process of progressing your practice, it is essential to prep your mind and body before attempting advanced postures and powerful flows.

But don’t miss your stretches before yoga because you’re planning a low-intensity session. No matter the pace, style, or how often you do yoga, here are some benefits of yoga warm-ups:

  • Less risk of injury.
  • Prevent unnecessary soreness.
  • Loosen the muscles for your physical practice.
  • Prepare your mind by helping you become more centered.

Yoga Warm-Up Sequence for All Levels

After you warm up with this routine, use a yoga app like Yoga Go to find another sequence that’s the right level for you.

Cat-Cow Stretch

a woman is practicing yoga, doing cat cow pose

This simple movement is one of the most popular warm-up exercises for yoga. It stretches and strengthens your back while you gently wake up the spine.

Before you begin, stack your shoulders over your wrists and hips over your knees. Inhale to Cow Pose and exhale to Cat Pose. Feel free to use a bolster under the knees.

Knee-to-Nose Crunch

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Knee-to-Nose Crunch_yoga warm up

You begin in a Balancing Tabletop Pose, also known as Bird Dog Pose. Adding a knee-to-nose crunch will fire up your core while lengthening the arms, legs, and spine.

Inhale as you extend and exhale as you crunch. Repeat on both sides.

Plank to Downward Dog

a woman is practicing yoga, doing plank to downward dog_yoga warm up

This movement combines two foundational yoga poses into one fluid motion. Flowing between Plank Pose and Downward Dog is a full-body movement that helps you mindfully warm up from head to toe.

While this is a yoga warm-up for beginners, remember that you can modify Plank Pose by dropping your knees to the mat.

Side Plank Dips

a woman is practicing yoga, doing side plank dips_yoga warm up

Whenever you attempt any Plank Pose variation, you activate your core muscles. Since the core plays such a pivotal role in any yoga practice, you can’t go wrong kicking off your routine with some side planks.

Adding the dipping motion while extending the top arm helps you turn on the obliques and open the chest.

Three-Legged Downward Dog with Bent Knee

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Three-Legged Downward Dog with Bent Knee_yoga warm up

Moving from Downward Dog to Three-Legged Downward Dog and bending the knee offers a deep hip opening stretch to prepare you for your practice. Mentally, this motion can build your confidence for more challenging inversions and advanced postures.  

After mastering this movement on both sides, you might be ready to try “flipping your dog,” where you transition to Wild Thing Pose or Full Wheel Pose. 

Alternating Revolved Downward Dog

a woman is practicing yoga, doing Alternating Revolved Downward Dog_yoga warm up

This variation of Downward Dog adds challenge and movement to the posture with a twisting component. While lengthening through the backs of the legs and strengthening the upper body, lifting one hand to twist starts to test your balance during your warm-up.

Create a more stable base in this pose by widening the stance or turning the toes slightly outward.

Child’s Pose

a woman is practicing yoga, doing childs pose_yoga warm up

Wrap up your warm-up with a simple and grounding Child’s Pose. This pose is an excellent way to center yourself and focus on your breath before diving into the rest of your workout.

Use Child’s Pose to stretch your hips and lower back and to cultivate a sense of calm and mindfulness at the beginning of your practice. Warming up with this restorative posture will set the tone for a mindful and connected yoga session ahead.

Winding down is just as important as warming up. Remember to wrap up your practice with a short cool-down sequence.

Wrapping Up

Warming up is an important part of doing yoga, no matter what you are going to practice–inversions in yoga, Sun Salutations, or even restorative yoga with bolster.

A yoga warm-up can help you avoid soreness and injuries as well as mentally prepare for a forthcoming practice. We recommend always including a couple of warm-up poses in your practice.

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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