Day in and day out we put our bodies through the wringer. Whether you’re using martial arts for fitness or you’re competing on a professional level, there is no doubt that training can take its toll on your body.
When training in martial arts, any thing from bruises to broken bones can become a part of everyday life.
Dedicating one day or one training session per week (or more) of your workout routine to yoga, of any sort, can improve training performance, recovery time, flexibility and even endurance.
Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years and can help you connect with your body in a way unlike any other activity. It will make you more successful in the ring or on the mat by improving your awareness of these core functions of your body–
Posture is very important for many forms of martial arts, more specifically stand-up arts like kickboxing, muay thai, boxing, etc. It is also vital for everyday life. According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.” Improvements in posture will help reduce the incidence of back pain.
Yoga will teach you to be aware of your breathing. If implemented correctly this can help you in all aspects of your life from training, to stress at work and even during a fight. Usually when we are stressed we take short quick breaths, which have a direct impact on our heart rate. Breathing exercises in yoga can help keep you calm, relaxed and lower adrenaline.
Yoga is a well rounded approach to resistance training and improving your strength. Throughout the different yoga poses you use both small and large muscles, some of which you probably didn’t even know you had. It tones muscles all over your body instead of isolating one muscle or muscle group.
Balance is taught through yoga in many ways other than the physical. Being in a peaceful state can balance your mind and spirit while having strength in the poses can balance your body. Yoga can provide you with the building blocks to improve your balance in relation to martial arts if applied properly.
Yoga isn’t necessarily about being flexible to begin with, but as a result of doing yoga you become more flexible. In the various yoga poses you stretch your muscles to increase mobility and range of motion. “When we stretch muscles in new and interesting ways, they will adapt by becoming more flexible in those ways,” says yoga expert Ingrid Yang. “As a result, a person will find more flexibility in ways that they never imagined…”
Needless to say yoga can have a drastic effect on ones physical and mental performance both in and out of the ring. There are countless other benefits to practicing yoga that we haven’t covered in this article, but this amazing video should give you a bit more insight into the various benefits of Yoga!