I was sitting in a packed-out yoga studio when a very skilled teacher said one of the most profound things I’ve heard during my entire yoga career: the more you engage your muscles, the faster the body will open up. It makes complete sense, but it sometimes helps to have someone else point out the simplicities that lead to success.
You don’t have to warm up for 45 minutes just to do a backbend (in most cases!). Spend just a fraction of that time, which will vary from practitioner to practitioner, intensely engaging the muscles in warm-up postures. Really make every fiber of your being work. Notice how fast you can begin to build heat in the body and sweat. Stretch so much that even your toenails feel like they are contributing to the practice. Then see how fast you can move into a posture that is a little more challenging. Perhaps it will only take 25 minutes.
When the muscles are engaged, flexed, and working, they begin to stretch out. So, do that from the very beginning of your practice, and do it a lot. Your body will begin to open up in poses that may seem a little more restrictive than others (and in less time), and you will be keeping your body a heckuva lot safer. In a time of busy schedules and injuries, how’s that for efficiency?