In a sport where turning your training partners into human pretzels is not only normal but encouraged, it makes sense why there are so many advocates of yoga for BJJ.
Forced flexibility aside, yoga for BJJ can be a great addition to any grappler or fighter’s recovery routine.
Add in the emphasis on breathing and controlling one’s body and mind together, and the similarities between yoga and BJJ start to become much more obvious.
Before anything else, let’s quickly go over why we’re covering the topic of yoga for BJJ at all.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a mixture of ancient physical, mental and spiritual practices, originating in India over 5000 years ago. At that time, yoga was embedded in religious tradition, and the word was broadly used to describe a collection of thoughts, beliefs and practices.
However, you’re probably more used to the western interpretation of yoga, basically the exercise version that has people practice breathing along with various poses and postures, called asanas.
At that, there are different types of modern-day yoga to be practiced, depending on a person’s goals. For example, Hatha yoga should be used for relaxation and calming purposes, whereas Vinyasa yoga should be used for purposes more so related to fitness.
No matter what your goals are, yoga can benefit you in some way or another. Don’t care about developing your flexibility? That’s ok, yoga can help you in more ways than being able to touch your toes.
Regardless of how flexible you are, it is a very wise decision to be training yoga for BJJ.
Yoga is the only activity that will even come close to recreating the strange and uncomfortable positions we find ourselves in when we train.
Likewise, the two activities emphasize the importance of breathing and breath work, an incredibly important skill needed to be successful as a yogi, a martial artist, and as a person.
Lastly, although yoga and BJJ are physical activities, the battle for success is often mental. And at that, these battles are almost always between you and yourself.
What are the Benefits of Yoga for BJJ?
Yoga can be a great activity for anyone and everyone, and it’s really something we should be encouraging more people in our lives to take up as a hobby.
That being said, there is something special about yoga for BJJ. The two arts come together and are similar in more ways than one, as outlined above.
Getting more specific, here are 4 main benefits of yoga for BJJ.
- Improve your posture.
First and foremost, most of us don’t have great posture when we stand – and we have sitting and desk jobs to thank for that. Practicing yoga is fantastic for correcting posture and making sure you’re not walking around hunched over with rolled shoulders.
Likewise, getting good at yoga means there will be carryover to your BJJ skills. This is because many of the poses in yoga require you to stand still while maintaining balance, something that happens on the BJJ mats all the time. You will find your movements to be flowing better.
- Improve your recovery.
Your muscles will be sore after a hard BJJ training session, and you will likely be very tired and want nothing more than to collapse and sleep for a day (or three).
But making sure that you include yoga in your daily or weekly training regimen means your body will be more loose, limber and flexible. That means you will be able to withstand more of the physical punishment you so happily accept at BJJ training.
But yoga won’t only improve your physical recovery – it will also help to calm your mind and spirit.
- Improve your flexibility.
Most people don’t enjoy being twisted into a pretzel, but the more flexible you are, the less of an issue it will be when one of your training partners inevitably turns your BJJ roll into a forced yoga session. I don’t want to tap, you think to yourself, but my leg definitely shouldn’t be moving in that direction!
Not only will flexibility make you more comfortable under pressure, having an increased range of motion in major joints such as the hips and shoulders may improve guard retention and make some submission entries easier.
- Improve your breathing.
Yoga practices appear to emphasize breathing nearly as much as they emphasize the physical poses and postures.
Mastering your breath comes in handy in BJJ, and the Gracie family were huge advocates for practicing breath work outside of training. Whether it be to recover from a quick burst of high intensity exertion or to deal with the pressure of being in a bad position, breathing is one more reason why yoga for BJJ is such a great fit.
Notice that these points aren’t just for competitors. Whether you’re training multiple times per day or once per week, you can benefit from adding some yoga to your routine.
Below are some resources to kick-start your yoga journey – whether it’s yoga for BJJ, yoga for general exercise or yoga for life.
What are the Best YouTube Channels for Learning Yoga for BJJ?
Now that you know how similar yoga and BJJ are, and you’re up to speed on all of the main benefits of practicing yoga for BJJ, we can now get to what we’ve all been waiting for: the best YouTube channels for learning yoga for BJJ.
At the time this article was written, quarantines for COVID-19 are keeping grapplers from all over the world indoors (and for good reason). Just because you aren’t physically training doesn’t mean you can’t be getting better at BJJ – why not practice some yoga while you’re off the mats?
As requested, here are the top 3 best YouTube channels for learning yoga for BJJ. Check them out, start stretching, and click subscribe on your favorite channels.
#3 – Yoga for BJJ
Yoga for BJJ was founded by Swedish BJJ black belt Sebastian Brosche. His website, www.yogaforbjj.net, was the first of its kind in the BJJ world and has helped countless athletes since its creation. Brosche’s competitive success at brown belt, as well as producing high-quality yoga content online, quickly made him a popular figure in the BJJ scene.
Brosche has done an amazing job of putting together yoga routines and sequences specific to the areas of the body so heavily used by those who train jiu jitsu on a regular basis.
Here’s a free basic class presented by Brosche with the help of Miha Perhavec. Watch the video here.
#2 – Fightmaster Yoga
Lesley Fightmaster is a certified yoga instructor with the goal of making yoga available to as many people as possible. Her two sons train in BJJ, and her husband helps with the filming of videos for her YouTube channel and website www.fightmasteryoga.com.
Fightmaster’s motto is “it’s not about the pose.” Instead of insisting on perfection, this yoga instructor just wants to see you making an effort and doing your best.
Here’s a great yoga workout video that’s been designed specifically for jiu jitsu. In the video, Professor Flavio Almeida from Gracie Barra, is led through the routine by Lesley’s voice. Watch the video here.
#1 – Breathe and Flow
Breathe and Flow was founded by two yoga instructors named Bre and Flo. These minimalists decided to sell all of their possessions a few years ago, pack up what they had left and travel around the world teaching yoga and uploading content to their awesome YouTube channel.
Learn more about the work they do at www.beatheandflow.org.
Flo, a brown belt in BJJ, has a great video called The Ultimate Jiu Jitsu Stretching Routine. You can find a link to it here.
This is what Flo has to say about the routine:
“This routine works on every body part that you need for your jiu-jitsu training. This routine not only helped me to stay injury free but also progress further in my jiu-jitsu training by increasing mobility, range of motion and flexibility.”
Check out Breathe and Flow, as well as Fightmaster Yoga and Yoga for BJJ, and like, comment and subscribe to their channels if you enjoy what you see.
Roll Out Your Yoga Mat!
Now that you know how great yoga is for you and you have these three awesome resources, what are you waiting for!
Support these awesome channels so they can continue producing awesome content.
Now, roll out your yoga mat and enjoy all of the benefits of yoga for BJJ, exercise and everyday life!
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