BJJ / Grappling tips: Yoga & Jiujitsu

Adding yoga to jiujitsu is a great idea. The functional understanding of your body that the poses and flows of yoga give you, not to mention the breath control and mental focus, will go a long way to help both prevent injury by strengthening your joints and muscles and raise your competitive performance. Just look at the examples of Eddie Bravo, Sebastian Brosche and any Gracie. 

The thing is, we already know this. 

So why aren't yoga studios full of aspiring jiujitsu practitioners? The reasons are many:

1. Lack of additional time
2. Money
3. Not really knowing where to start...etc

All these reasons are perfectly valid and if like to use this post to help you overcome some of them. 

Let me start by saying that I personally believe that the 3rd one is the most powerful reason why most of don't, or at least delayed, do yoga. 

After all, there's so much out yoga out there that it's hard to know where to start. Not to mention, yoga enthusiasts are, well, often overly enthusiastic about yoga (not that we're any better with our gi fetish, belt embroidery, magazines, camps, comps, books, DVDs, apps, leisurewear and what not). It's easy to feel a little overwhelmed and just say "yeah, I'll start yoga at some point!"

I did some research and here is some great advice I've found from experienced yoga teacher Karen Fabian: which I think you will find relevant to us Part Time Grapplers:

Don't worry about type of yoga. 

Dont worry about not having 2-3 additional hours a week on top of your (jiujitsu) training. 

Karen explains that she gets a number of referrals from athletes (runners and cyclists) and bodybuilders frustrated by the lack of flexibility their primary sport is generating in their body. To counter that she recommends the following those of us who are already involved in another activity or sport:

"To build flexibility while continuing with aggressive weight lifting/running/cycling: 

a) At least 1 class per week focused on general stretching (heated or unheated power classes work well as the poses mimic functional movement and joints are worked along their regular range of motion) 

Here's a great example of such a routine designed by Leslie Fightmaster and performed by Gracie Barra professor Flávio Almeida 

b) an insertion before or after regular exercise of at least 5 poses that focus on hip extension, shoulder opening, lower back stretching and hamstring lengthening."

In a previous post I gave you exactly such a list of yoga poses:

Karen then goes on to address the question of "How to get started / make time for yoga?":

"If more than 1 class per week can be completed, even better but in the case of these kinds of students, exercise time is usually pretty extensive as it is."
"Overall, practicing 3 times per week is ideal but remember: a little bit of yoga every day is better than a lot of yoga once or twice per week. If all you can do is 15 minutes per day, do that."
As often as I can, I follow a free 10 minute programme for Healthy Backs from an App called Daily Yoga: I try to squeeze in 2-3 of those sessions a week, before getting ready for work in the mornings. I can't see myself getting up an hour early everyday to do yoga, but 10 minutes? Anybody can do that. 
"All the guidelines in the world won’t replace what you most likely already know."
Namaste and such.


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