Ok firstly a massive disclaimer – whilst I love BJJ I am not approaching this blog as a committed yoga type person. In fact if anything I’ve been slightly anti-yoga due to some initially uninspiring and de-motivating experiences.
My previous experiences of yoga range from a standard class that felt just a little pointless – a lot of light stretching and even more “ommms”! Through to a good work out at hot yoga but a serious knock to my body image thanks to a room full of very skinny girls (including at least one glamour model)! I’ve just assumed it was something that just wasn’t for me.
On the flip side my hubby has always loved yoga and has blogged a lot about it including this one. Plus several of my closest BJJ friends love yoga and a quick google shows a pleather of articles about yoga improving your BJJ such as this one that popped into my inbox this week from Gracie Mag. So I thought it might be a good idea to try it out again to especially my body does remind me frequently that I’m older than I like to act and train!
There is a yoga class at my BJJ gym so that seemed a good place to start. I am not even going to try and run through the poses we covered as I am rubbish at remembering names but there was sun salutations, downward dogs, warrior poses, balances and assisted headstands. The instructor (Kirsty) also explained the basics of breathing for yoga. But I’ll be honest that went out the window whilst I concentrated on what I was doing. My inner Rickson Gracie could wait! I would love to say I was elegant and graceful but most of the time I had the grace of a drunken toddler! What the session did highlight was how tight my hamstrings were and that I still needed to develop my body strength.
The week after we had Sebastian Broche visiting the gym. As well as being a talented BJJ brown belt and Judo Black he also is the brains behind Yoga for BJJ. The seminar was essentially split into four parts. A yoga warm up, his unique take on utilising the kimura grip, rolling and a yoga style cool down.
I’m not going to go through everything he covered during the day – that’s why you pay for the seminar! But the yoga element of the class was quite fast paced covering a number of positions and body areas. As well as number of balances and positions that over time would only improve your dynamic strength. Sebastian has a fabulously relaxed teaching style and is incredibly easy to engage with. He was happy to give everyone his time as well as a whole host of hints and tips. Personally I got some extra little gems regarding my stand-up game which is always appreciated!
It became clear over the seminar how much yoga has influenced and helped his BJJ. Even (or perhaps more so) during his rolling marathon where he rolled with every person attending (including me). The cool down section had some really good element to it and is something I’m definitely going to try and incorporate into my training routine. It was really straight forward and easy movements but they felt gooood!
Overall I think I’m going to try and give Yoga a serious chance. I am not convinced on how I will fit it into my daily regime but I certainly will be adding it into to my post session cool down and try to fit in at least one session per week (the advantage of it being offered at the gym!). Yoga if nothing else is a great guided whole body stretching session and by taking a class it will be great opportunity to change the pace of my training and cover an area that it often neglected. We all say we do stretching but usually its at the end of class whilst talking and with a bit foam rollering. Plus some of the balances and the transitions between poses do actually provide some good body weight workout particularly for all those hard to reach stabilising muscles!
I am lucky that yoga is offered at my gym and that I have a range of yoga classes around me in Manchester. However if your after specific resources for BJJ or help to do yoga at home then I do recommend Sebastian’s website Yoga for BJJ. It has a whole variety of free resources as well as a full members only section so you have nothing to lose in checking out!
I’ll let you know about how my yoga adventures go and more importantly if I stick at it! Feel free to let me know if you use Yoga to support your BJJ especially any hints and tip!