Yoga for Martial Artists: Part I

The importance of flexibility extends behind throwing kicks to the head.  It used to be that martial artists along with dancers had the most impressive flexibility, compared to other types of athletes.  The resurgence of yoga classes at most local health clubs has familiarized people from all walks of life with the values of flexibility and breathing.  Even the mainstream athletic world is seeking more balance in training routine.


Corn_TreePose.jpgAlthough many fighters have come out of a traditional martial arts school and therefore understand the value of flexibility, there is little deviation from the standard stretches found in most martial arts schools.  However,  there are many yoga movements that should be added to expand their training, improve joint integrity, range of motion, breathing and even prevent injuries.  Flexibility cross-training is rarely spoken about as an integral part of a mixed martial artist’s training regiment. 

 There are many different poses within the yoga practice that should be part of a fighter’s weekly workout routine.  Many of the movements offer the same types of benefits as traditional martial arts: increase joint range of motion, increase lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons, simulate healthy blood flow to the joints and muscles, and the release of tension to over used areas such as the back and neck.  Despite the similarities in benefits, yoga offers a form of flexibility and balance cross training that can enhance more than your superficial flexibility.


Yoga is known to act in a wholesome manner on different parts of the body.  Many of the sequences stimulate and massage the organs, which is thought to ward off the onset of disease or internal disorder.  It preaches the same healing attributes known to exist in the life long practice of tai chi and qi gong.

martial.jpgYoga, can also help to flush out toxins from the body and allow the replenishing of nourishment to the body’s weakened areas. From an eastern point of view, trauma, over-training, frequent injuries and physical exhaustion can be partially treated through the practice of yoga.  This can be quite valuable for fighters and mma practitioners who experience a combination of this perhaps as often as weekly.  For example, kicks to the legs, even through light training, can cause damage to the muscular tissue.  Activities that promote fresh blood circulation through breathing and specific movements can lengthen and improve the quality of a fighter’s life. 


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  • Love it! Seriously, yoga is good for everything! I could be completely off, but I think the mind-body connection and discipline I need to continue my yoga practice must also be similar to what a martial artist needs to grow in their training. What do you think?

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