Yoga for BJJ sounds weird to many of you, right? Well, it is one of the greatest ways to boost your flexibility and develop into a superb grappling phenom. While some positions demand no flexibility at all, others like triangle chokes or Gogoplatas feel nearly impossible when your muscles are stiff. So it’s time to get to know how yoga for BJJ can affect your grappling performance.
What Are The Benefits Of Yoga For BJJ?
BJJ is a martial art that demands superb levels of flexibility and an amazing ability to quickly transition from position to position or submission to submission. So here is the list of the most important benefits of yoga for BJJ performance:
- It boosts your flexibility, one of the most important parts of BJJ. Have you ever seen a world champion with stiff hips or shoulders? While you don’t need to be made of rubber, flexibility will help you become a healthier and more successful fighter.
- It teaches you to breath. Learning to breathe properly decreases your pulse and fatigue levels during a tough roll. Yoga is your perfect ally here, teaching you to become aware of how you are breathing, even in awkward positions. Each roll demands careful breath control. Look at this BJJ video on breath work:
- It helps you develop spatial intelligence. To the uninitiated the gogoplata may look like a human pretzel, requiring an elaborate knotwork of legs and arms. Yoga will teach you to be aware of your body’s position in space, allowing you to recreate the complex positions your coach demonstrates.
- It increases strength and balance. Some yoga drills are designed to make your muscles stronger while others require fine tuning your sense of equilibrium. These attributes are vital to anyone interested in unlocking their maximum potential in BJJ.
- Yoga corrects posture. BJJ generally leads to poor posture as we are constantly hunching forward. This problem is magnified if you are coming from a desk job where its almost impossible to fight the occasional slouch. Yoga exercises strengthen your spine muscles and offer counter poses to the perpetual forward curl of BJJ and daily life.
- It boosts mental strength. While we commonly think of yoga as relaxing, an intense session of Bikram Yoga, which is practiced rooms heated to 41C (105F), might push your mind to the limits. Developing mental resilience will enable you to push through tough training sessions in BJJ.
5 Yoga for BJJ Poses That Every BJJ Practitioner Should Do Every Day
Yoga is like BJJ and includes dozens of positions and it can be difficult to determine where to begin! But, we’ve selected 5 poses that will you get the most out of your yoga for BJJ training.
This pose will improve the flexibility of your spine and provide benefits when you are fighting from the top position or sprawling atop a hard shot. It is one of the greatest drills to neutralize a hunched back and make your shoulders more flexible. Here is an instructional video.
This body position is a great way to begin defending against some chokes like the guillotine and triangle.
Note: You’re doing the exercise well as long your hips maintain contact with the floor, otherwise, the technique is wrong.
This is an advanced pose that significantly increases the flexibility of your spine. While it won’t make your triangles tighter or your berimbolos smoother, it stretches your stomach, shoulders, hips, and quads! Here is the exercise video below.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
This is one of the best yoga poses for BJJ. The drill is an awesome choice for shoulder, hamstrings, and back stretching. Check out the instructional video below.
If you want to increase the difficulty, just move your arms away from your head as much as comfortably possible.
Plow pose is a fabulous choice for someone who works from open guard all the time, keeping their hips high while not letting their opponent pass. It is a must for any advanced open-guard technique. The exercise is a great choice to stretch your lower back and neutralize spine pain, while also improves the flexibility of your shoulders and upper back. The video tutorial below shows you how to perform it.
If you want to make the drill harder, just push your toes further away from your head.
Pigeon pose is an excellent pick for fighters who like to defend off their backs. Avid fans of Bellator MMA have seen Haim “The Israeli Batman” Gozali demonstrating the superpower of flexible hips many times. Outside of MMA, pigeon pose is fantastic for fans of open guard, rubber guard or even mounted triangles. You can take a look at the instructional video below.
This perfect yoga for BJJ exercise improves the flexibility of your hip abductors and adductors. You can stretch your back leg further or drop your elbows to the floor to increase the drill difficulty.
Yoga for BJJ is required because flexibility allows you to be resilient and creative. A flexible fighter always has more options to finish the fight and escape submission attempt. Don’t underestimate the power of yoga, it boosts flexibility and while teaching you to think quickly, unlocking more options and potential ways to win the fight.