Here are some good poses for any athlete to do before extreme training. First, do seven sun salutations or try jogging in place for five minutes to warm up. Remember to breathe deep and retain body heat through a continuous flowing sequence. In other words, don't stop between stretches. Try and only breathe through the nose
Information contained here is not given to replace a doctors medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning this or any exercise routine. Basically if you experience sharp pains when you are doing this or any pose ease up a little. The "no pain no gain" mentality does not apply to Yoga.
Moon Pose - This is what we call one of the "anti-gravity" postures. Studies show that gravity is the single most powerful physical stress on the body. In this case, instead of hanging upside down, we're using the back and shoulder muscles to elongate and decompress - to counter the effects of gravity on your spine. This is a great pose to do anytime you have been seated in your car or have been at a desk for extended periods of time for 30 minutes or more. This is a very basic but very beneficial pose. I recommend that you do not lean too far back - no more than a 45 degree angle to the vertical standing position. When you reach up to the sky also make sure that your heals are firmly grounded. Your feet should also be slightly webbed at the toes.
Forward Fold - Start at standing position and then reach out in front hinging at the hips and grab your ankles with your elbows touching the sides of your calves. Make sure to lengthen the spine as you pull forward and down.
Side Angle Pose - Starting in a standing pose, lunge your right leg forward to a 90 degree angle and place your right hand on the ground inside of your right foot. Then reach your left hand up and back.Remember - breathe! The purpose of this posture is to stretch the upper inside thighs and side of the torso. It is one of the best poses for runners and swimmers because it target some of the same muscles that will be used in those and other activities.
With your left leg forward, step your feet about three feet apart into a equal lateral triangle shape with your left foot pointing forward and your right foot sideways. Though your stretch is focusing on your left leg, pull back with your left hip slightly, keeping the foot flat on the ground so as to stretch the upper back of your left leg. Keep length in your spine. Focus up at one point on the ceiling and then reach your left arm over your left leg and place your left hand on your ankle. This will help you maintain balance in the posture and stretch the hamstrings as well as the side of the torso. Remember always do both sides in every pose and breathe deeply for eight long breathes through the nose. Don't do this pose if you're not warmed up!
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Up Dog - Start at the top of a push up and lower down to the ground. Pull the floor towards you as you lift your chest off of the ground and lengthen the spine. This is a good back bend. It essential for swimmers especially doing the butterfly stroke.
Twisting Side Angle Pose - Lunge the right leg forward and raise your arms up. Then with the right knee bent, place your left hand on the ground next to the inside of your right foot. Make sure to focus on the spinal twist more than stretching the legs - we have already done that in the previous poses.
Upward Bow - Lay on your back and place your hands underneath your shoulders. Then with your feet hip distance apart push up into the full back bend. Great frontal body stretch. Make sure your feet are pointing forward and not out to the sides. If you have a wrist or back injury/problems modify this pose with the Bridge pose instead.
Bridge Pose - If the full backbend is too hard on your back or wrists, try the bridge pose instead. Push halfway up and place your thumbs underneath the waistline for support. Make sure your feet are hip distance apart and pointing directly forward.
Steven Earth Metz