What are the benefits of practicing yoga as an athlete or martial artist?

Updated: Apr 26


Is yoga the best practice for an athlete to perform better and longer?


All athletes or martial artists want to improve in their practice and be able to last longer in their game. So your physical condition is a key element for your sport or martial art.

How do you prepare your body? How do you maintain it to perform at your best?


Here are my four promises that the practice of yoga will help you with




AWARENESS

"Awareness is the greatest agent for change" - Eckhart Tolle

When we practice yoga we connect our physical body, and our mind to be in the present moment, to be here and now. We use the breath as a bridge between the mind and the body, to bring awareness.

We create space in the body by using poses, called asanas, in order to move our energy(also called chi, prana or vital force) throughout the physical body.

When we stretch the body, we open our channels called 'nadis' which transport the energy inside us. We create space in the body, as well as in the mind by bringing constant awareness on the practice. The teacher reminds the students to feel and be aware of their breath. It transports us in a state of flow, an optimal state of consciousness where we feel and perform at our best(I will write about the flow state in a future blog post).


We develop an awareness of the body in space also called proprioception, awareness of the breath, awareness of the thoughts.

As an athlete or martial artist, it makes you more conscious of who you are, and how you function as a human.



SUPPLENESS

"Men are born soft and supple. Dead they are hard and stiff. Plants are born tender and pliant. Dead they are brittle and dried. Thus whoever is inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail." - Lao Tzu

The practice of yoga tackle one of the biggest problems of our society: the loss of connection with our bodies and the lack of movement.

From a really young age, we have been conditioned to sit. This has created a terrible impact on people's lives: bad posture, back problems, poor mobility of all the joints...

Practising yoga helps you reconnect with yourself and your physical body.

It allows you to realign your body to stay healthier.

It definitely takes time but this investment is worth it if you want to live freely and move with ease in your life.

We focus on softening the connective tissues, fascias, tendons around the joints in order to gain back some range of motion. This allows the student to create more movement within his body. On top of that, we strengthen and lengthen the muscles which means that the chances for injuries will tremendously diminish.


As well as developing a supple body, yoga develops a supple mind, more patient, tolerant and compassionate.


At Martial yoga we want the students to transform their bodies into competent flexible armour. Strength and flexibility go hand in hand. They are skills that anyone can acquire at any age, as soon as they have the right mindset to practice and dedicate time and efforts




Access the free library to start your journey: https://library.martial-yoga.com/


BREATH

"Your body is your first home. Breathing in I arrive in my body, breathing out I am home." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Yoga will help you become more aware of your breathing.

If you have not been to a yoga class before, you will be surprised how many times you are reminded to focus on your inhale and exhale. Breathing can either be conscious or unconscious. During most of your day, you are probably not aware of your breath, although it is happening in the back

round. However, when you become aware of it, you can feel physically the movement of your breath, your belly moving out when you exhale and coming in as you inhale. This helps develop a general awareness of yourself.



Pranayama means control of the prana(energy) through the control of your breath.

It is one of the eight pillars of the practice of yoga according to Master Pata簽jali, sage from India and author of the Yoga Sutras, a classical yoga text.


The practice of pranayama will make do full inhalation and exhalation. Therefore you will oxygen better your body and your brain. Instead of doing shallow breath from your lungs, you will practise using your whole breathing capacity to take the benefits of it.


As an athlete, this will prepare you for moments at stakes, when you need to focus to deliver the best of you.

The breath is an anchor to keep your mind calm and quiet whenever you need to.



Access the free library to start your journey: https://library.martial-yoga.com/


POSTURE

"You are as young as your spine is flexible" - Joseph Pilates

In the physical practice of yoga, also called asanas, we bend, twist, lenghten our spine. We want to increase the range of motion that the spine can offer us.

It is the centrepiece of our bodies and we have to make sure to take care of it.

Our current lifestyles are not in favour of improving our postures: we spent a long time in front of screens, a long time sitting at a desk and driving.

Therefore the general mobility of people declines and their general postures are very poor.


Yoga allows to address these issues and helps educate people on moves they should be practising on a regular basis to solve their problem.

Unfortunately, even if you go to the physiotherapist regularly, he can guide you but he cannot do the work for you.

Each and every one of us has to take ownership of our bodies and health and put some time and efforts if we want to improve and maintain them in the long run.


The physical posture tells about the state of mind too.

When you ground yourself through your feet, your hips sitting right above your feet, you have a strong foundation and feel ready.

In the practice of yoga, we pay attention to open the heart centre, to allow the energy to flow better. We want to stand straight with the shoulders back to convey a confident attitude. In that way, we open ourselves to the world and are ready to handle things. It allows us to breathe better by inhaling more air, whether we are aware of it or not.


As a martial artist, your posture tells a lot to your opponent. If you can stay straight and confident you are ready for the coming challenge.


To summarise, if you start a yoga practice on the side of your main sport or martial art you will be developing:

- Better awareness

- Suppleness in the mind and in the body

- Conscious breathing

- Postures


Share your thoughts in the comments.

Do you want to find freedom in your body?


Access the free library to start your journey: https://library.martial-yoga.com/


with energy and gratitude


Marc

Martial Yoga

Educate. Empower. Energise

https://library.martial-yoga.com











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