Why is warm-up and cool down essential when doing yoga?


Why is warm-up and cool down essential when doing yoga?

What is warm-up?

 A warm-up usually takes the form of some gentle exercise that gradually increases in intensity. It raises the body temperature and prepares you physically and psychologically for a workout.

Why is warm-up important before starting Yoga?

The body needs to make a number of adjustments. It helps to increase your breathing and heart rate as the cardiovascular system revs up. Increasing the blood flow in the muscles, it loosens the joints, the risks of soreness in the muscles and risk of injury. It helps your muscles in stretching. Oxygen is delivered to your muscles and provides them with nutrients. Your willingness to continue exercising is increased.

How much time is required for the warm-up?

Warm up takes usually 5 minutes at the bare minimum but it can go up to 15 minutes. If your body is already sore from a previous workout, it would take a longer period of time to warm up.

What happens if you don’t perform a warm-up before yoga?

If you do workouts without warm up the body would be ill-prepared for the higher demand being made of it which may cause injury and unnecessary fatigue.

What are the benefits of a proper warm-up?

Increasing body temperature– This improves muscle elasticity, reducing the risk of strain and pulls.

Increasing muscle temperature- The temperature increases within the muscle that are used during a warm-up routine A warm muscle both contracts more forcefully and relaxed more quickly. In this way, speed and strength can be enhanced. Also, the probability of overstretching a muscle and causing injury is far less.

Improves range of motion-The range of motion around the joints is increased.

Hormonal Changes- Your body increases its production of various hormones responsible for regulating energy production. During warm-up, this balance of hormones makes more carbohydrates and fatty acids available for energy production.

Blood vessel dilates– This reduces the resistance to blood to flow and lower the stress on the heart.

Increase blood temperature- The temperature of blood increase as it travels through the muscles. As blood temperature rises the binding of oxygen to hemoglobin weaken so oxygen is more readily available to working muscles which may improve endurance.

Improves range of motion. The range of motion around the joints is increased.

It is important that when you are warming up, you can do it easily, enjoy the exercise and do on a daily basis. Simple exercises such as

  • Stretches
  • Climbing Stairs
  • Walking on treadmill
  • Skipping ropes

It encourages to warm up your body. Sometimes the warm-up durations depend on your surrounding environment. Warmer rooms make it easier to loosen up your muscles.

In a “yoga warm up” you perform preparation postures that stretch your muscles before your actual yoga session. It is important to make all your actions slow and deliberate and also it is integral that you focus on your breathing and are aware of your body. It is important to make your yoga warm-ups dynamic. It should include a lot of bending, folding and unfolding of the body. 2 or 3 postures are enough to warm up your body as long as the postures include sitting, standing and reclining positions. There should be an effective routine which aims at all parts of your body.

Yoga is often considered as a “gentle exercise” due to the breathing exercises and meditation. Considering this many practitioners make the mistake of skipping the pre-yoga warmup and go for the more complex and challenging postures. This is a big mistake as it can lead to muscles soreness, micro tears in muscles, muscles being pulled and injuries to the joints.

Skipping warmup can also lead to bad yoga postures. In order to receive all the benefits of yoga, proper posture is needed. Practitioners need their body to be at their most flexible, loose and warm state when they are preparing to move into the more challenging postures. If they are not in this state then there a chance that their body will be straining to achieve the poses which can result in injury. Full body warm ups are needed to release any tensions within the body before a yoga session.

Body Cool Down

It is important for your body to cool down as well after a yoga session. Hip openers, reclined twists and passive inversions are good ways to do that. Cooling down helps bring your breathing back down to the resting levels gradually, it slows down your heart rate, prevents muscle soreness and improves relaxation. There are several cooling down poses such as the

  • Supine spinal twist,
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose),
  • Sukhasana (Easy Pose),
  • Viparita Karani ( Legs up the wall)
  • Meditation

These practices often help to reduce heart and breathing rates, it cools down the body, brings back the muscles to their optimal- tension relationship and restores back the psychologic system. 

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