More on Yoga and BJJ / Grappling

At the request of fellow blogger and honorary Part Time Grappler Georgette Oden, here are some more thoughts on the Yoga-BJJ / Grappling connection.

Let me start by saying that Yoga will not make your BJJ / Grappling techniques better per se.

What it will do, is improve your body awareness and sensitivity. Please take the time to watch the following 6-minute video

The Alexis Brothers from the world famous Cirque Du Soleil

I saw the Alexis Brothers on a CDS dvd two years ago and again live when the show came to town and I could immediately see that what they were doing was not merely an act of extreme strength.

Don't get me wrong, they are very very strong but they more importantly:

  1. Know exactly how to handle their own body weight
  2. Know exactly how to handle each others body weight
And what is guard passing, indeed what is BJJ / Grappling, if not exactly these two points!
By putting your body into positions and angles that teach your hands, feet, knees, elbows, spine...etc. how to handle your weight you are half way there. The reasons I choose Yoga are:
  1. The added benefit of breath control, Pranayama
  2. The flexibility you gain in the muscles
  3. The agility you gain in the joints
and a few, more personal reasons that fit in with the Part Time Grappler mentality:
  1. Yoga is, or at least can be, low impact. This means I can do lots and lots of Yoga without overtaxing my body.
  2. Unlike Pilates, Yoga is very low-maintenance. All you need is a small space and off you go!
  3. You don't have to sweat when doing Yoga. You can definitely push yourself and get a cardio workout out of it, but I aim for approximately 19 sessions per month, and that would result in an impractical amount of laundry. I'm sure this just put a smile on your face but it is indeed a factor that you have to take into account. I do my 45min yoga sessions up to three times per day and never push so hard to break a sweat! I could, but that's not why I do it.
  4. Yoga is old and well studied. There is an ocean of information on it online, in books, DVDs, YouTube and other sources. You can get all the basics with a few clicks.
  5. Yoga is quite popular and well spread-out in the world, and hence finding a teacher for the odd technical session here or there is not difficult. Good luck finding a Ginastica Natural qualified instructor within a 20km radius (that's 12.4 US miles :) )
  6. It's easier to sell Yoga to other family members. My wife would rather join me in a few stretches than in a jog or...God forbid...a BJJ / Grappling roll.
  7. Weight distribution: The Holy Grail of Efficiency. Like the great Bruce Lee once said: You wanna learn how to punch? Punch! You wanna learn how to kick? Kick! I'd like to add: You wanna learn how to transfer your body weight from the right hand to the left foot when guard passing? Play around in Downward dog!
I intend to do more, fuller posts on Yoga-postures v BJJ / Grappling Positions soon. I'm just weary of the fact that I'm not an expert in either and don't want people to think that I'm claiming that. These are just my own ideas that I have played with and developed over time and bits and bobs I have stolen from my years in Karate and Taiji. Weight distribution and anchoring are my favourite areas of BJJ / Grappling (even more so than submissions).
My favourite complement to receive after a roll is: Man have you picked up weight recently? :) ----Did You Like This Article?--- Drop me a line on or explore some of the recommended past articles on the right...

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