The idea is to start with small, slow movements that gradually get bigger and faster. The movements are repetitive and designed to help get the body ready for yoga practice, so it is not unusual for pratapana to mimic the poses that will eventually be done during the practice. The Joint Warm Up Series focuses on getting the synovial fluid going, and Suda suggested doing four rounds of each movement.
Wade in the Water starts nice and slow and juicy, just like the pratapana. With eyes closed, I can sense my toes wriggling about in wet sand as the surf rolls in and out. Just wish I had asked Sudha for the rest of her playlist! Here is the Joint Warm Up Series standing sequence; be sure to do each pratapana in alternate directions.
- toe and ankle rotation
- shoulder rotation
- gentle neck roll (avoiding dropping the head back)
- wrist rolls
- squat knee circles
- hip circles
- coat sleeve twists
And here is the Joint Warm Up Series seated sequence; remember to breathe as you do each movement!
- Start in Sitting Mountain
- LIft and release your right heel a few times. On your right toes, stretch from side-to-side. Release. Roll your toes over onto your toenails and stretch from side-to-side. Release. Repeat with left foot.
- Place hands on knees and sway your knees from side-to-side.
- With hands on your hips, rotate your torso right, back, left, and forward. Reverse the movement (left, back, right, and forward). Sit tall and hang your arms down at your sides.
- Roll your right shoulder up, back, down, and forward a few times, then repeat with the left a few times.
- Now reverse direction and roll your right should up, forward, down, and back a few times. Then repeat with the left.
- Stretch your arms out to the sides, bending and extending your elbow joints a few times.
- With arms still extended either at your sides or in front of you, rotate your wrists a few times in both directions.
- Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms out in front of you. Return your hands to your thighs.
- Open and close the jaw, stretching each time.
- Stretch jaw to both sides, and finally circle it around once in each direction. Feel free to make sound as you move your jaw!
- Repeat this sequence of opening and closing the jaw, side-to-side, and around, one or more times.
- Make light fists and gently tap your scalp.
- Finish with light, feathery fingertips all over your face.
Joint Warm Up Series seated sequence adapted from and with thanks to Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Teacher Development Manual, page 2-36.