If there’s one movement based system out there that is tailor-made for BJJ than it has to be Yoga. Yoga for BJJ is the same as a brioche bun for a burger. It almost seems as if Jiu-Jitsu and Yoga were designed to complement each other. There are just so many similarities between the two of them. It’s not surprising that they both have roots which are deeply entwined with Buddhism and ancient India.
Yoga is a commonly used generic term for a collection of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in India. It is an extremely complex and diverse system which embraces many different aspects of the human experience. This aspect of yoga is largely concerned with asanas, which refer to the body positions and physical postures which are held during practice, and vinyasa – a specific sequence of breath-synchronized movements used to transition between sustained asanas.
Besides having been proven to alleviate depression, high blood pressure and a host of other physical ailments, Yoga for BJJ is beneficial in a number of grappling specific ways, several of which have been outlined below:
Benefits Of Yoga For BJJ
Jiu-jitsu often causes poor posture as well as a host of skeletomuscular imbalances. It’s just the nature of the sport. Sports science has an acronym called ‘SAID’, which stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. It refers to the observation that the body will rapidly become adapted to the activities it encounters most often. One of the most commonly ‘imposed demands’ of Jiu-Jitsu is a contraction. When you’re in guard, attacking from the side or back control and many of the other positions, your body is constantly in a contracted state.
The upper back is often rounded as you are holding onto an opponent. The hip flexors and psoas muscles are usually tightened because the knees are tucked up towards the chest. As for the neck and shoulders – well if you’ve been training for any length of time you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. This excessive contraction is even more pronounced in the primary defensive postures, like the turtle position.
Regular practice of the various asanas and vinyasas is the best remedy for this imbalanced state. Yoga for BJJ results in twofold effect – it lengthens and opens the body. As an added bonus, many of your submissions will also improve. Consider that many of the finishes in grappling martial arts require an exaggerated expansion out from the center. For example, during a straight armbar, you arch your back and drive your hips forwards to apply the needed leverage. Very often your imbalances hamper your effectiveness. That said, and you can see how addressing them with Yoga for BJJ will allow you to generate more power.
Inevitable Flexibility Gains
We all know that guy who can wrap his legs around your waist from the bottom of the mount and reverse the position. There’s one of those in every academy.
Although you can get away without being flexible in Jiu-Jitsu, it’s an attribute that’s unquestionably beneficial. The greater the range of motion in your joints, the more options you will have in each position. In fact, some parts of Jiu-Jitsu will be completely inaccessible to you unless you develop the required suppleness. The rubber guard is the most obvious example of such a position.
Discover The Rubber Guard: https://bjj-world.com/top-10th-planet-jiu-jitsu-innovative-grappling-concepts-bravo-inside/
Strenght Through Stability
The kind of strength developed through Yoga for BJJ is unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced. Over the past couple of decades the phrase ‘core strength’ has become very popular in sports training. Well, yoga goes far beyond that.
Correct practice develops what is known as ‘intelligent strength’. Not only does it train the central nervous system to fire muscles in the correct sequence, it also teaches you which muscles to engage. The ultimate goal is to maintain postural alignment and efficiently move your anatomy through space. And we all know that good posture and movement are hallmarks of superior Jiu-Jitsu skills.
Furthermore, holding the asanas develops a muscular endurance which is perfectly suited to the isometric contractions required for finishing submissions. And although it tones and strengthens, yoga does not produce excessive muscle hypertrophy. Too much muscle mass is never good for Jiu-Jitsu. It is inefficient because it burns oxygen quickly and inhibits movement. Consistent practice (will reset your body to its optimum tissue composition.
Yoga is exceptional for developing balance. Many of the standing asanas are done unilaterally (on one leg), which not only improves stability but sport-specific strength as well.
Your body is the tool with which you create your Jiu-Jitsu, and the more you know about it and more effectively you can operate it the better you’ll be on the mat. The increase in body awareness from yoga practice is a major benefit.
One of the most valuable ways to achieve this is through breath control. Not only will the vinyasas teach you to coordinate your movement and breathing, but yogic techniques such as pranayama will enable you to engage your diaphragm and utilize your lungs to their full capacity. This will greatly improve your stamina during rolling.
Yoga For BJJ 101
Now, some of you are thinking ‘I’m too old to start’, There is a befitting Chinese expression: ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now’.
Take the risk, move out of your comfort zone and try a yoga class. Yoga can be dangerous if practiced incorrectly and you’re better off utilizing an instructor, especially as a beginner.
There are countless different types of yoga classes available, but the main ones you’ll encounter are:
This style focuses on the physical alignment of the body in the various asanas. It often uses various supports or ‘props’ to facilitate the poses for beginners and the less flexible. It has very little vinyasa between postures. This type of yoga mainly benefits those with muscular and /or postural imbalances as well as less athletic individuals.
Vinyasa yoga, in which movement synchronizes with the breath, is a term that covers a broad range of yoga classes. This style is also called flow yoga, because of the smooth way that the poses run together.
Vinyasa classes are some of the most challenging. Each class is usually quite different, and that the pace and intensity closely approximate jiu-jitsu. If you’re looking for muscular endurance and dynamic flexibility this is the class for you.
This is a form of Vinyasa in which the sequence of asanas and vinyasas is much more regimented and strict. In fact, it so structured that every class you do will be almost exactly the same. It’s very effective but some people become bored by the lack of variety.
It uses a very specific form of yogic breathing called ‘ujjayi’ which has a great carryover application to BJJ. It offers supreme breath control and is really beneficial for developing coordination.
Bikram / ‘Hot’ Yoga
The main differentiating factor of Bikram is that it is done in a heated room. This (and other styles of ‘hot yoga’) has become very popular as of late. Due to the heat and humidity, Bikram can be a little extreme, and it’s not a good fit for anyone in poor shape.
Although I feel that most other Hatha styles are superior, I think that the discomfort caused by the humidity might be good for developing mental strength that could transfer well to grappling martial arts. It is perfect for losing fat.
A Few More tips On Fat Loss: https://bjj-world.com/jiu-jitsu-workout-program-to-lose-fat/