When it’s cold, your body is naturally a little more stiff and needs an extra boost to get the blood flowing to lubricate your joints and warm you up. Here’s a warming yoga sequence to increase your circulation and make you feel good.

What happens to the body when it’s cold?

You may know this only too well – when you’re cold, you may barely bend over to tie your shoelaces, while it’s normally not a problem. Or you’re clumsy and easily drop things because your fingers are just not as nimble as usual. It’s all about your circulation! 

When the temperature drops, your body conserves energy and heat by withdrawing some blood from the surface. That’s the reason your hands and feet are cold and not as sensitive as usual. However, it’s not the only effect – there’s also less blood flow to the muscles and connective tissue, such as your joints and tendons, making you more stiff.

How to warm up without turning up the heating?

You’ve probably guessed it – you need to start moving to get the blood flowing! It doesn’t mean going for a sprint – although that would warm you up too, you might also get hurt. Increasing your circulation gradually is much better than launching gung ho into a vigorous workout.

The reason is simple – your cold muscles and joints are more prone to damage when they’re stiff. Your coordination is not as precise, so you can easily sprain or tear something if you do too much too quickly. With yoga, you can safely and effectively increase the intensity and heat your body up.

The key is to start moving slowly and with a smaller range of motion to give your body a chance to adapt. As your muscles and joints receive more blood and become better lubricated, you’ll feel that you can move with greater ease and increase either speed or intensity of your movements. A big part of this is breathing deeply with each movement because that helps to oxygenate your blood and increase energy production in your muscles.

You’ll build up your own heat, even if your room is cold!

Warming yoga sequence

Try this short sequence either on its own or before another workout. You’ll feel great both physically and mentally.

Let’s begin: Center and prepare your wrists

Take a few minutes to arrive on the mat – sit on your heels, close your eyes and start the full yogic breath. Inhale slowly in your belly, chest, and under the collar bones for a count of 6. Then, exhale slowly out of your belly, chest, and from under the collar bones for the count of 6. Repeat and if you’re comfortable, increase the count to 8, then 10. 

After a couple of minutes, resume normal breathing, open your eyes and prepare your wrists. Make fists and circle your wrists first one way, then the other. Next, open and close your fists, as if you were flicking water away from your fingers. All that helps to bring more blood into your hands and prepare them to hold your body weight.

Forearm plank

It’s time to build up some heat!

How to do it:

  • Prop yourself on your forearms, hands flat on the mat
  • Lift your body and straighten your legs
  • Hold for at least 20 breaths


  • Legs parallel
  • Back straight, in one line, no dipping
  • Shoulders over elbows, forearms parallel

Downward dog variations

The good old downdog can be a great warm-up pose!

Walking downward dog

How to do it:

  • Place your hands flat on the mat, a little wider than shoulder-width, spread your fingers, and raise your hips
  • Keep a small bend in your knees, push your tailbone up and relax your head down
  • Bend one leg at a time, and straighten the other, then switch – as if walking on the spot, repeat 5-10 times


  • Legs parallel
  • Back straight, in line with the arms

Leg lift to elbow

How to do it:

  • From Downward dog, lift one leg up, as high as you comfortably can with an inhale
  • With an exhale, bend the knee and bring it towards your elbow, while also bringing your shoulders above the wrists
  • Repeat five times on each side 

Lunge to Half-splits

This is a dynamic movement that engages your whole body.

How to do it:

  • From Downward dog, step one foot in between your hands so that the knee is above the ankle
  • Lower your back knee onto the mat and lift your body and arms up with an inhale – Low lunge
  • With an exhale, shift your weight back so your pelvis is above the back knee, lower your body and arms so your hands are on either side of the front leg – Half-splits
  • Repeat 5 times on each side


  • Front knee above the ankle in low lunge
  • Pelvis above the back knee in Half-splits
  • Back straight in both positions – don’t arch or round it

High lunge to Warrior III to Open lunge twist

This is a 3-step sequence that you can either do slowly and hold each pose for several breaths – or do it as one breath for each step. Your choice!

How to do it:

  • From the previous Low lunge, switch your legs and lift up into High lunge, raising your arms with in inhale – either stay there for a few breaths or:
  • With an exhale, bring your hands together in front of your chest and shift your weight into the front leg, lifting the back leg parallel with the ground – Warrior III – either stay there for a few breaths or:
  • With an inhale, return to High lunge
  • With an exhale, twist your chest against the front knee, rest the fingers of the lower arm on the mat 
  • With an inhale, lift the upper arm straight up, and look up – Open lunge twist – either stay there for a few breaths or:
  • Repeat
  • Make sure you do an even number of breaths or repetitions on each side


  • Front knee above the ankle
  • Pelvis facing forward – not opening to the side
  • Always a microbend in the knee of the ‘straight’ leg

Boat pose

Back to heat-building in the core!

How to do it:

  • Sit on the mat, bend your knees, shift your weight onto your tailbone
  • Lift your arms and shins so they are parallel to the ground
  • If you’re steady, straighten your legs
  • Hold and breathe, then relax 


  • Straight back
  • Legs together
  • Arms parallel

Bridge dips and hold

A warming pose activating your posterior chain.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees and rest your feet on the mat, hip-width apart
  • Put your arms next to your body, palms down – your fingertips should be able to brush your heels
  • Lift your pelvis up with an exhale
  • With an inhale, lower it halfway; with an exhale, lift it back up – repeat 10 times
  • Then, keep your pelvis up, interlace your hands under your body, move your shoulder blades closer together, and lift the pelvis a little more – hold for 10 breaths
  • Release and relax, let your knees fall in, supporting each other


  • Knees above the ankles
  • Legs parallel
  • Arms pressing into the mat

Over to you! You can relax or continue with one of Skill Yoga workouts – for example, the Strong Skills Flow – or do some other training! Now your muscles and joints are all warmed up, you’re ready for anything!

Practice with us!

Try this sequence in the morning or before another workout but don’t let it be your only yoga routine. We have three different Yoga warm-ups, each is 12-14 minutes long and targets different body areas. Practice with us and try them all!

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