Yoga has a reputation of being the ultimate rest day activity for many athletes especially in the Jiu Jitsu world, because it is low impact and puts little stress on the joints. Although yoga can be extremely relaxing at times, it can also be intense and heat the body. This all depends on your approach and class style. What a lot of Jiu Jitsu hobbyists and athletes don’t realize though, is the amazing benefits that yoga has in order to improve their training performance, especially when integrated properly.
ACTIVE RECOVERY & INJURY PREVENTION
After a tough Jiu Jitsu class, or while recovering from an injury, it is very tempting to remain sedentary especially when experiencing soreness or general fatigue. Using a low impact, active recovery practice on your rest days has many physical and mental benefits. If you immediately stop and rest after class, the lactic acid in your body doesn’t have a chance to clear. Using yoga as your active recovery, especially directly after your heavy Jiu Jitsu training will help clear any lactic acid build up and aid to prevent exhaustion. Adding yoga to your regimen increases your cardiovascular and blood circulation which aids in faster muscle recovery and eliminates stiffness. Yoga also specifically focuses a lot of developing strength in the correct muscles in order to protect your joints. This will allow you to train Jiu Jitsu into your older years because your body will have been cared for, protected, and conditioned. If you allow your body to stiffen up in between or directly after your training, you will slowly begin to tighten up, losing mobility and range of motion. Yoga is the key to opening up your body, gaining a healthy range of motion and getting that deep muscle and tissue stretch that your body will desperately need.
MINDSET WORK & BODY AWARENESS
When you take that full day or two off after training to physically do nothing, believing that it is what you need, you can end up sinking into a physical laziness and it makes it extremely hard, mentally, to start your training week again. Adding yoga as your active recovery will help prevent you from falling into that ‘lazy’ mindset. Not only can that lead you into a mild depression, it can also begin to build up stress within the body and mind. Any heavy emotional or mental stress will put a halt to your Jiu Jitsu progress by messing with your mindset, sleep and digestion. Adding yoga to your Jiu Jitsu regimen, will help balance out your nervous system which allows you to bounce back from stress at a faster rate. Yoga is also one of the best tools for self growth and acceptance.
While in a yoga practice, you are forced to face your ego and gain an understanding of your deeper thoughts and feelings. This helps immensely with injury prevention and you will become happier with the results you see. When you understand and have better control of your ego, you will properly learn when to push and not push yourself which is especially important during deep stretching; knowing the difference between good and bad pain/discomfort. You also gain better control over your movements and develop good motor control which translates perfectly into your Jiu Jitsu training. Having great body awareness, acceptance and patience, you will be able to set limits on your physical exertion as well.
When it comes to yoga, the first thing it does is help connect breath to movement. This helps create a ‘flow’ within the body therefore keeping the mind in a much calmer state. Proper breathing patterns aids in physical endurance and cardio as well as delivering an adequate amount of oxygen to the muscles during training. In Jiu Jitsu, you are bound to end up in a position that makes you uncomfortable and nervous therefore leading to chest breathing or holding the breath. Bringing this knowledge of how to work with a controlled breath in order to calm the mind, control anxiety, and build on stamina is vital to Jiu Jitsu training. There are also different breathing techniques (pranayama) taught through yoga that can help heat the body prior to Jiu Jitsu training and even help cool the body down after class.
Finding the right yoga style and class will help your training performance immensely. Using yoga as a warm up prior to a Jiu Jitsu class will help heat the body, strengthen your mindset as well as build up cardio and endurance while learning proper breathing techniques. Using yoga as a cool down and deep stretch post training will help you gain that healthy range of motion, gain control over your ego, reduce stress and begin to restore your body in order to get back to training the following day.
Here at Stasis, we specifically provide very specific yoga classes in order to have it properly integrated with your Jiu Jitsu training in order to continue to improve your skill, mindset and physical body.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.