On the surface, yoga and martial arts appear to be complete opposites. You’d be surprised that once you have a closer look, martial arts and yoga actually have more in common than most of us realize!
For starters, the fundamentals of both practices are awareness, consciousness, and mindfulness, both on the mat, and in life. Those who practice it often view martial arts as more than just a sport or a self-defense practice – it is a philosophy, an art, and a lifestyle. Similar to yoga, it focuses on movements and being present with awareness, embodiment, and precision. Hence, it is no surprise that various poses and asanas found in yoga can improve the execution of techniques that are constantly used in many martial arts styles. When combined, yoga and martial arts effortlessly act as a yin and yang, balancing each other to form a lethal combination.
Without further ado, here are five great reasons why we believe yoga will perfectly complement your martial arts practice:
It increases endurance
With regular yoga practice, your endurance or stamina will inevitably develop along the way. If you’re looking to improve your overall body strength, holding different asanas or yoga poses for long periods will serve you greatly by increasing your stamina and mental toughness. As a bonus, the breathing and meditation techniques one learns through yoga may also help to clear the mind more efficiently and increase focus.
As you may already know, the focus is one of the essential aspects of practicing martial arts. With regular yoga practice, you may gain that clarity, and zen focus samurais and ninjas are known. If you happen to spend a lot of time hunching over with your shoulders in and chest down during practice, Wanderlust.com recommends for you to try the Ustrasana (Camel Pose). This posture will allow you to open up your chest, and not only will it help to counter some of your habits from training, but it will also naturally give you more space to breathe. In short, more oxygen circulating in your body = more power.
It develops and improves flexibility.
In general, increased flexibility is often perceived to be one of the main benefits of yoga, and it certainly comes in handy in martial arts practice. Flexibility is highly required for crucial moves such as high kicks and submissions. Having increased flexibility will also help in preventing risks of injuries during fights.
Are we currently feeling stiff as a board? To start, we recommend trying the Dhanurasana or bow pose that will give you a full backward bend to the entire length of the spine, building strength and flexibility in the back. This posture stretches the neck, shoulder, arms, and legs and expands the Thorac region of the chest. You can try these 12 yoga poses suitable for those who are not so flexible.
It improves balance
Based on the appearance of yoga poses, even those unfamiliar with yoga would gather that aside from flexibility, it is also an effective way to improve balance. Yoga can help to strengthen our balance through the increased awareness of our mind and bodies – as they are closely related. Though yoga does require physical strength and flexibility, it also demands that it also requires us to be aware of our mind and energy. As our mind and body become more aligned, the easier we would achieve balance.
To strengthen balance, one should emphasize their practice on one specific pose instead and opt for a mix of poses that encourage the synchronization of the mind and body, such as the tree pose, the eagle pose, the mountain, and the triangle pose.
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