YOGA AND COMBAT SPORTS
Combat Sports and Yoga are a lot more alike than many people will realise.
Being someone who has competed in Boxing, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Art (MMA) I have always been looking at ways I can improve my game. Whether it’s trying to kick higher in Kickboxing or maybe trying to roll out of a kimura lock in BJJ/MMA or even just trying to improve my balance in the Boxing ring.
Fighters and Yogis all want the same things at the end of the day/week/month and year.
They want Balance, Flexibility, Coordination, Strength, Core Strength and an effective way to stretch at the end of a work out (not to mention the need for a clear mind prior to any competition).
It has happened to me many times when I’ve been to classes, be it Boxing, MMA or BJJ and been involved in an in-effective warm up through to a tough training session and followed by an in-effective stretch out at the end. Admittedly I’ve never been injured due to a lack of warm up (touch wood) but have seen many people that have been, from small muscle pulls and cramps to actual muscle tears putting a fighter out of action for weeks.
This is good for absolutely no one.
The club looks bad, the fighter is out of action and the regular members start to question the incident.
So what to do?
YOGA, THATS WHAT TO DO
Here are six asanas and the benefits for BALANCE and FLEXIBILITY that will help a fighter improve and you will also be able to see that not only are these two health related skills improved you will also be targeting strength, core and coordination.
Balance: Now this is the probably the most important and most basic health related skill required for all combat athletes, if you cant stay on your feet in tricky situations you are toast in your opponent’s eyes, therefore holding these asanas for extended period of time will help keep you on your feet in combat sports:
- Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3): Strengthens the shoulders, hamstrings, core strength and will also improve posture and
- Vrikshasana (Tree Pose): Strengthens the core, leg muscles and will improve concentration with improved overall focus.
- Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon): Strengthens the core, ankles, thighs and glutes while stretching the groin calves and chest and will also improve
Flexibility: Probably the second most important health related skill required by combat athletes, whether your aim is to kick higher in Kickboxing or to have more shoulder mobility in your BJJ classes/competitions flexibility is improved tenfold by participating in Yoga regularly. Here are 3 asanas that will help you hit those goals:
- Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose): Strengthens biceps while stretches triceps, chest, quads and glutes while opening shoulders to increase range of motion.
- Mandukasana (Frog Pose): Strengthens lower back, while opening hips to stretch the adductors therefore increasing abduction.
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose): Strengthens most posterior muscles while stretching most anterior muscles including anterior spine. Will also improve posture, aid anxiety and fatigue.
These six asanas and their benefits that I discussed are just a fraction of all the yoga asanas that will not only help combat sports participants but help every human no matter the age, sex and size.