Beginners' Yoga Sequences

Everyday Yoga for Athletes: 5 Pre-Workout Warm-Up Poses

Use these mat-free poses from Sage Rountree’s new book to wake up your whole body and mind for better performance.

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Sage Rountree sequence

Use these mat-free poses from Sage Rountree’s new book to wake up your whole body and mind for better performance.

This sequence highlights good form in Mountain Pose, the basis of good alignment in virtually every yoga pose and virtually every sport. It also challenges the glutes, wakes up the lower legs, and builds breath awareness, focus, and balance—all of which you need as you begin your workout. Bonus: All of these standing poses are done without bringing your hands to the floor, making it perfect for a mat-free practice in a parking lot, say, before a workout—or almost anywhere else.

TRY IT This sequence can be practiced as a dynamic warm-up, flowing from one pose to the next on each inhalation and exhalation or used as a strength-building practice by holding each pose for several breaths before moving on to the next.

See also Yoga Benefits for Athletes

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose


Begin by finding strong, steady alignment in Mountain Pose.

See also Asana Cues Decoded: “Tadasana Is the Blueprint Pose”

Crane Pose

From Mountain Pose, inhale and lift your arms and right leg, knee to hip height for Crane.

OPTION Lift only the right heel, not the right thigh.

See also Happy Trails: Yoga for Trail Runners

Diagonal Lunge

High lunge

From Crane, exhale and step the right foot back into a Diagonal Lunge, shoulders over left knee.

OPTION Slide the right foot along the mat as you step back to diagonal lunge and lower your arms to prayer position at the center of your chest to lighten the load on your shoulders.

See also 6 Yoga Poses for Rock Climbers: Build Core + Back Strength

Crescent Lunge

Crescent Lunge

From the Diagonal Lunge, inhale and lift your shoulders over your hips for Crescent Lunge.

See also 6 Yoga Poses for CrossFit Cross-Training

Warrior II Pose

Warrior 2

Virabhadrasana II

From Crescent Lunge, exhale and open to the right, dropping the right heel for Warrior II.

See also 4 Yoga Poses Perfect for Trail Runners

Reverse It

Crescent Lunge

Inhale and return to Crescent Lunge, lifting the right heel as you face forward. Exhale and lean your torso into Diagonal Lunge. Inhale to pull through to Crane. Exhale and return to mountain pose. Repeat the sequence on the other side. Then practice a few more rounds.

OPTION As you step forward, omit Cane and simply move into Mountain Pose.

Also try A Guided Meditation to Do Before Exercise

About Sage Rountree

everyday yoga sage rountree

Sage Rountree is the author of Everyday Yoga, now available for preorder and five other books, including The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga and Racing Wisely. She teaches workshops on yoga for athletes nationwide and online at YogaVibes. Find her on Twitter and on Facebook.

This sequence is republished with permission of VeloPress from Everyday Yoga by Sage Rountree. Learn more at