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Yoga

Yoga

Yoga Flow with us!

Yoga is a commonly used generic term for a collection of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in India. It is an extremely complex and diverse system which embraces many different aspects of the human experience.

The yoga most commonly practiced in the west, which you see in health clubs and studios, is usually some derivative of the physical component of ‘Hatha’ yoga. So we could say that Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram and most of the other styles you may be familiar with all fall under the umbrella term of ‘Hatha Yoga’. For the scope of this article we will be referring mainly to Hatha yoga.

This aspect of yoga is largely concerned with asanas, which refer to the body positions and physicals postures which are held during practice, and vinyasa – a specific sequence of breath-synchronized movements used to transition between sustained asanas.

Correction of imbalances

Regular practice of the various asanas and vinyasas is the best remedy I’ve found for this imbalanced state, due to their twofold effect of lengthening and opening the body. As an added bonus, many of your submissions will also improve. Consider that many of the finishes in jiu-jitsu require an exaggerated expansion out from the center (Think of a straight armbar for example -you arch your back and drive your hips forwards to apply leverage). Very often your effectiveness with these movements is hampered by the imbalances mentioned previously, and you can see how addressing them with yoga will allow you to generate more power.

Increased strength and balance

The kind of strength developed through yoga practice is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. Over the past couple of decades the phrase ‘core strength’ has become a popular in sports training but yoga goes beyond that. Diligent practice develops what I call ‘intelligent strength’. Not only does it train the central nervous system to fire muscles in the correct sequence, it also teaches you which muscles to engage to to maintain postural alignment and efficiently move your anatomy through space.

yoga

Body awareness and breath control

Your body is the tool and the more you know about it and the more effectively you can operate it the better you’ll be in life. The increase in body awareness gained from yoga practice cannot be overstated. One of the most valuable ways this is achieved is through breath control. Not only will the vinyasas teach you to coordinate your movement and breathing, but yoga techniques such as pranayama will enable you to engage your diaphragm and utilize your lungs to their full capacity.

Polishing the mind

Besides all the numerous physical benefits, yoga has extensive, positive mental effects. Some of the more challenging asanas require immense concentration, and synchronizing the movement and breathing during vinyasas cultivates a certain focus and stillness of the mind which is invaluable during the heat of a a difficult sparring match. I’ve also noticed that memorizing the Sanskrit names of the various asanas as well as their correct alignments has much overlap with learning bjj techniques.

Benefits

Flexibility

Core Strength

Breath Control

Posture

Where do I start?

Now I know that some of you are thinking ‘I’m too old to start’. I understand the sentiment. I felt the same way about BJJ when I started at 19 years old. But there is a chinese expression: ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now’.

Get started today!

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