Have you ever arrived early for yoga and seen your fellow students running through some stretches on their mats in preparation for class? Though most classes will include a warm-up sequence, it's a good idea to know a few basic poses that get you ready to move without the risk of injury
. In addition to starting to warm the major muscle groups, doing a few moves on your mat can help you get into your yoga mindset, providing a separation from the rest of your day. You can also use these stretches for your home practice, before doing a yoga video
, or just to relieve tension at the end of the day.
© Barry Stone
Come up to sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position. Place one to three folded blankets under your seat so that your knees are lower than your hips. Do a few neck rolls here. First, let your chin drop toward your chest. Then roll your chin over to the left shoulder, circle the head back, then bring the chin to the left shoulder. Continue circling slowly, moving through any areas of tightness, for about five rotations. Then do an equal number of rotations in the opposite direction. If you have trouble with your neck, skip the part where you let the head drop back. Just move the chin from ear to ear instead.