Warming up or heating the body is very necessary for smooth practice, especially during the winter season. As the body heats up or gets warm it increases the blood flow which helps in better transportation of oxygen in the body through blood.
On a spiritual level also if we see one can feel a better flow of energy throughout the body if the body is warm. Along with that it also helps in stimulating chakras which are the powerhouses of these spiritual energies. With yoga asanas to heat up the body, you can facilitate this.
Practice the below 5 asanas to heat up the body:
1. Utkatasana (Chair pose)
The chair pose is one of the most amazing asanas to heat up the body as it helps create pressure in the overall body with its balancing posture.
- Begin in samastithi by standing erect with neck straight, spine straight, knee straight, chest forward and gaze straight.
- Inhale and raise your arms up towards the ceiling keeping it parallel and palm facing each other.
- Now exhale and bend the knees by bringing the thighs and hip closer to the floor like you are seated on a chair.
- Try not to cross the big toes with your knees.
- Pull the lower rib cage gently keeping the abdomen and thigh muscles engaged. Tuck your tailbone in by moving it closer to your pubic bone to make the spine even straighter.
- Hold this posture for 10 seconds and gradually improve the practice
- Now slowly make your knees straight, bring your hands down beside your thighs and relax into samasthiti.
Contraindications: If you have severe knee pain, knee and hip injury, arthritis you should avoid this posture.
2. Paschimottasana (Seated forward fold)
One of the asanas to heat up the body is Paschimottanasana. It massages and tones the abdominal organs and gives a deep stretch to the spine.
- Sit on the mat with legs stretched forward. Inhale, raise your arms up.
- Exhale, slowly bend forward and hold your big toes with the middle and index fingers.
- Inhale and raise your head up, spine straight, lift the chest and look in between your eyebrows.
- Exhale, bend forward, pulling your elbows out to the sides to help bring the chest to the thighs, then your nose to the knees.
- Slowly inhale, come up and release the pose.
Contraindications: Avoid this pose if you have/had injury on your hips, knees, shoulders, head, back and neck.
3. Vakrasana (Twisted pose)
Another asana to heat up the body is a twisted pose known as Vakrasana in the yogic practice. This pose releases stiffness in the body before a yoga session and also helps warm up during winters.
- Sit up straight with legs together straight out in front of your body.
- Bend the left knee; put the left foot flat on the floor, just outside your right calf
- Bring the left arm to the floor and bend the back. Raise the right arm up. Bring your right arm around the outside of your left leg and catch hold of either of your calf, ankle or foot, depending on your flexibility.
- Twist your chest, head and eyes to the left. With the left arm, allow the chest to turn a little more. Use the right arm to push the spine farther into the waist. Hold this pose for 20 seconds.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
Contraindications: Avoid this posture during pregnancy. Also, avoid if you have an ulcer, slipped disc, or severe spinal, shoulder or hip injury.
4. Halasana (Plough pose)
The plough pose is one of the asanas to heat up the body that gives a deep stretch to your back and a gentle abdominal massage.
- Lie straight on your back.
- Inhale, lift your legs, pelvis and lower back. Support your back with both hands.
- Continue the movement with steady breathing, bringing your legs over your head and progressively bringing the spine to a vertical position.
- Keeping your legs straight and toes flexed, stretch your feet down towards the floor behind you. If you touch the ground, lower your arms to the floor behind your back.
- Continue to support your back with both hands for stability.
- Hold the pose for 10-20 counts, with slow rhythmic breath.
- Then release the pose by rolling down vertebrae by vertebrae, with your arms pushing against the floor for balance.
- Relax in Corpse Pose for 1 minute before moving to the next posture.
Contraindications: Avoid if you have weak or injured cervical muscles, suffering from back problems like slip disc. Pregnant women and menstruating women should avoid this pose.
5. Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
Dhanurasana is an absolute remedy for any congestion in the nose or chest during winters. It is also effective for relieving back pain and stiffness in the overall body. Include this asana to heat up the body in your regular yoga flow and experience the instant flow of warm energy in the body.
- Lie down on your abdomen. Keeping the hand beside your thighs.
- Bend both your knees and grab the ankles with the same hands.
- Try to push the legs out lifting the chest and shoulders up along with thighs.
- All the weight will be on the abdomen. Try to do gentle abdomen breathing there.
- Hold the posture for 5 to 10 breaths, then bring the chest and shoulders along with thighs back on the floor gently.
- Release the ankles and sit back in child pose for some time.
Contraindications: People with hernia, high blood pressure and insomnia should avoid this posture.
These yoga asanas which can help you to feel that heat and more energy in your body by the end of your practice. Start slow and then slowly increase the pace and intensity of your postures during your yoga practice. This will help you to keep your practice safe and effective.