Yoga for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, because it’s such an energizing sport to both watch and participate in. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC, has also become a pay-per-view powerhouse and attracts a huge viewing audience across the globe.
Whether people have goals of becoming a well-rounded fighter or just want to get in great shape, more and more people are turning to MMA classes such as Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Boxing to meet their fitness needs.
So what does yoga, a mental and physical discipline, have anything to do with these combat sports?
While MMA classes are excellent for maintaining great shape and health, it is also very important to incorporate core strength and flexibility. Yoga can greatly enhance an individual’s performance in MMA sports through conditioning the body in strength and flexibility, in ways that traditional MMA training routines can’t.
When they hear the word “yoga,” most people imagine a skinny, half-naked Indian man chanting with his legs behind his head while wearing what looks like a over-sized diaper. This isn’t exactly accurate as there are many branches of yoga, and in this particular blog, the focus is on Ashtanga yoga, a very athletic type of yoga.
Yoga complements MMA in many ways, and is a great addition to the training regimen of MMA fighters. Take Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, for example. Both practices are done on a mat, so the body’s relationship to the ground is emphasized by both. Many BJJ practitioners come to class to take out their stress and energy “on the mat,” while yoga practitioners leave all the negativity “off the mat.” Both yoga and BJJ can be intertwined like the yin and yang dynamic, since they both require physical skill and encourage self-development and discipline.
In the documentary, Choke, there is a segment of Rickson Gracie, a well-known Brazilian Jiu-jitsu champion, doing yoga on the beach:
Certain asanas (or poses) in yoga greatly improve specific movements for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
So whether you are aiming to become a professional fighter or just a healthier, happier person, incorporating yoga into your fitness regimen has endless benefits. At Team Octopus, we offer Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Boxing, Kickboxing, Strength & Conditioning, and Ashtanga-based yoga classes.