Whether you’re an active BJJ competitor or simply a hobbyist, Yoga is easily one of the most effective ways to see huge benefits in your training. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise really, seeing as the two hobbies have some very obvious crossover between them. It isn’t just about looking similar though, as many people who are experienced in one and new to the other are surprised to find that there are several movements and positions that are used similarly in both. You may even be surprised to find that experienced yogis seem remarkably competent on the mats compared to other new white belts. But what about the other way around, what can a BJJ practitioner expect to get out of going to Yoga?
What are the benefits of doing Yoga for BJJ?
Yoga has a ton of health benefits in general and while some of them like building endurance and fitness will also be found in BJJ, many of them make up for things that BJJ lacks. Extensive training in any sport slowly breaks down the joints and one that is built around targeting them is even worse, but Yoga actually improves joint health to help counteract some of the damage done by Jiu-Jitsu. It isn’t just a preventative measure though, as Yoga also helps improve your balance and overall flexibility. One often overlooked benefit is helping to control breathing, which is something every new white belt struggles with at first.
How does Yoga help your progress in the sport?
Having stronger joints will also help your development because it will reduce your risk of injury, and the number or severity of any injuries you do suffer. That means that you’ll be battling with rehabilitation much less often, and it’ll take less time whenever you do. As for the improvements you’ll see, balance and flexibility are two attributes that every BJJ practitioner will need and there are many techniques or positions within the sport that will feel remarkably easier and more effective after developing them. When you get your breathing under control, your cardio is significantly better and you’re able to think clearer under pressure. By committing some time to Yoga every week, the world of BJJ is significantly bigger. There are more techniques available to you, you will be able to think of them more clearly in the moment, and you will have more time on the mats in order to perfect them.
How often should you do Yoga?
This is a much more personal question, because everyone’s schedule is different. With Yoga classes or courses available online though, working around a busy life has never been easier. The goal is to use it to supplement BJJ instead of replacing it, so it needs to not interfere with whatever your training schedule already is. Even if you do have all the time in the world. there’s a point of diminishing returns and doing Yoga every single day isn’t really necessary to feel the benefits in BJJ. For most people it’s going to be a balancing act in order to make sure that they reap the maximum rewards for minimum time investment, and the sweet spot for that is around two or three times a week. More is better of course, but it’s important to not take away from time in BJJ too. If you’re too busy for that, then even going once a week is enough to feel the benefits for the sport in a smaller way.
Is doing Yoga for BJJ actually easy?
I’d hesitate to call Yoga easy in general, because that’s all relative to your own personal fitness level. After all, there are many people out there who’d describe marathons as easy, and a great deal more who’d struggle to run 5k. But within the context of being a reasonably experienced BJJ practitioner, Yoga should feel relatively easy by comparison. There’s no exhausting cardio element involved and there’s no battle or struggle other than that with your own balance, flexibility, and core strength. If you’ve gotten used to the grind of a BJJ training session and maybe have some experience lifting weights, Yoga will likely feel like an easier way to spend an hour.
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