I recently attended a yoga workshop. It was a 2 hour session, and at the end of it I was exhausted. Exhausted way more than I have been while sparring BJJ even. All I could do upon completion was to return home and sleep the entire afternoon. Next day everything hurt. And the worst part was that I couldn’t even hold most of the poses(asanas) properly or for the entire duration.
This got me thinking. Thinking about Yoga and if it can help in MMA and Combat sports.
Yoga brings a couple of images to my mind – 1. Young women in an air conditioned studio 2.Hipsters (not that there is wrong with either category). Yoga is said to have many benefits like flexibility, core strength building etc. But the aspect that particularly interested me was “the mental focus” part.
I am no Yoga expert. But It seems to me that Yoga has poses that we hold for a long duration, primarily to test our mental conditioning. Just when the muscles are on their limit, lactic acid is building up, you still have to remain calm and keep your breathing under control, and eventually move into another grueling pose. Even the supposedly easier breathing exercises are damn hard. Top Yoga practitioners enter a state in which they keep there minds completely free of thoughts and distractions (try not thinking about anything, even for a second, Its near impossible). The legend Rickson Gracie, himself is famous for adapting the breathing exercises, and is said to do it often and specially before his fights.
OK, so here is where I am going with this. I do not think any modern fancy Yoga styles are required. Traditional Yoga should be added to MMA or combat sports training atleast a couple of times a week. Purely for the Mental conditioning part. Imagine going into a competition or a fight, where even after warming up and entering the ring/mat, your heart rate is under control, there is no anxiety, you are able to think clearly. This would be an ideal state atleast for me.. And of course the added benefit, of flexibility and all those popular stuff.
Now here's the real problem. Where should I fit in Yoga between MMA, BJJ, Wrestling, Kick Boxing, Strength and conditioning??