Before yoga, I practiced mixed-martial arts for nearly six years. Seeing my body transform has been very interesting to say the least. Along the way, I've witnessed the power that my yoga practice has on my martial arts.
The various poses and exercises in yoga contribute to strengths and techniques that are constantly used in martial arts.
Here are some reasons why yoga is great for your martial arts:
1. You'll develop and improve flexibility.
For many, this is the number one benefit of yoga. The various stances and positions are designed to stretch the muscles, add fluidity back to the joints, and improve flexibility in general. Having this increase in flexibility will improve: (1) your torque while throwing punches, (2) your Jean-Claude Van Damme-style high kicks, and (3) submissions in Brazilian jiujitsu.
2. You'll increase your endurance.
Practicing yoga on a regular basis will develop your endurance. Holding the different asanas for long periods of time will improve your overall body strength, which will in turn increase stamina and mental toughness. The breathing and meditation techniques will aid in clearing your mind and help you become more focused. Of course, focus is one of the most important aspects of practicing martial arts - the ancient samurais had an untouchable zen focus when they went into battle.
3. You'll boost core strength.
Many yoga poses are held for extended periods of time, and force you to utilize your core muscles. Core muscles are the foundation of strong punches and kicks. Get ready to see a big increase in power - especially if you know how to throw a good Muay Thai kick!
4. You'll have a speedier recovery.
Yoga can reduce your recovery time after being injured. Performing yoga asanas after a mixed martial arts class will help to relax the muscles. Yoga will help to teach athletes how to use their muscles in a more controlled manner as well, thus preventing a lot of common martial arts injuries. Many yoga poses are designed to have healing benefits, so by doing these poses you can recover from the numerous aches and pains that often accompany martial arts.
5. Your balance will improve.
Yoga will also improve your balance. Poses like tree pose require you to stand balanced on one leg for long periods of time. By doing these poses, your internal equilibrium will become more balanced. Having improved balance will help you stay light on your feet like Mohammed Ali.
"May you float like a beautiful Yogi and sting like a killer martial artist!"