A Perfect Pairing: Yoga and Martial Arts

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

Tiger Muay Thai YogaFor most high pace-high intensity athletes, the thought of doing training session at a slow pace just feels like a waste of time. But, the practice of yoga can be an invaluable asset to the martial arts practitioner.

From the building blocks of martial arts and yoga, there are a numerous transferable skills. In yoga, each asana (or pose), is taken in cadence with the breath. If you are not breathing, you are not doing yoga. In every form of martial arts, breath is used to transfer power and energy through each punch, kick, or throw. You cannot land a precise hit without the power of the breath. The breath is the source of energy for the body and promotes endurance and recovery. Taking your practice onto the yoga mat can increase lung capacity and strength. The diaphragm is just another muscle. Learning to breathe consistently, deeply, and with control speeds up recovery, improves endurance and spills over from your yoga mat to the judo mat and beyond.

Balance is key to moving quickly, hitting your target accurately, and using your body’s center of gravity in the most effective way possible. Balance is different everyday- it is a fickle skill. It requires tiny, almost unnoticeable movements in every part of the body to create confident stillness in a difficult position. Balance is invisible, but critical, strength. Yoga takes an asana and asks the body to sustain balance over several breaths. Many times, you will fall out. But, as you practice and return to the pose, you feel balance ebb and flow, and the body learns to respond effectively to the signals the brain sends that say you are falling. The body becomes adept at executing the tiny movements necessary to keep you upright and agile as it is able to slow down and break the movements apart piece by piece.Tina Kaitlin Chataranga

Martial arts are dynamic. But, the key to being dynamic is mastering the ease with which the effort is executed. Many athletes and martial arts practitioners equate big movements, heavy weights, and hundreds of reps with improvement. But, some growth comes from building endurance through being still. In most yoga practices, while the movement is fluid, it also requires the body to hold an asana for a long time. Instead of a quick jab or a fast kick, yoga forces you to reign in the momentum and shift focus to the strength of holding back power, focusing all the body’s strength on a single goal. Where martial arts is the force of the river rapids, yoga is the dam able to hold them back. It is equal strength, but it is stillness. Yoga forces your body to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. It removes the fear from going deeper into strength and flexibility. You will see core strength improve exponentially as you make yoga practice a part of your training.

One Comment

  1. Why did Jean Claude Van Damme do ballet? Your article has the answers.

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