Training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be really difficult on the body. The stiffness, aches and pain… Can sometime make you wonder if it is all “worth it”. And that, exactly, is the reason why you should start doing yoga.
Yoga will help you get rid off these obstructions to full BJJ enjoyment and longevity. It will also increase your mobility, flexibility, and positional endurance.
Here are the top 10 poses you could (and should) do every day. They won’t take too long, but they will pay off long into the future!
YOGA POSE #1: CAT COW
If you’re experiencing upper back pain, then the Cat Cow pose/Yoga exercise is tailored made for you. Do a couple of these every day (especially after training), and you’ll feel better in a matter of days.
Here’s a great demonstration on how to do it:
YOGA POSE #2: CHILD’S POSE
The “Child’s Pose” is a great way to get relaxed, breathe in and breathe out, after a tough rolling session. It will bring relaxation to your shoulders, upper and lower back, as well as to your breathing:
YOGA POSE #3: DOWNWARD DOG
So you’re looking for something a bit more active and a bit more challenging than the previous two poses? Then you should try the Downward Dog.
It’s going to pose a HUGE challenge on your shoulders, back, core and legs. So take it one step at a time and aim to progress to the “perfect” position slowly. It will take time nonetheless, so better to enjoy it while you suffer:
YOGA POSE #4: HAPPY BABY
This pose will help you relax after training as no other pose will. Grab your toes (or your ankles) and begin enjoying the sweet relief:
YOGA POSE #5: THE PIGEON STRETCH
Moving away from the upper body region, the Pigeon Stretch will provide you with a much needed relief in your legs:
YOGA POSE #6: THE COBRA POSE
As a BJJ athlete, much of your time is spent bent and hunched over. That can cause many structural imbalances and pains in your body – and you need to do exercises that counteract that.
One of the poses that will help you get the front of your shoulders and your chest loose, as well as strengthen your back, is the Cobra Pose. Beware, though: don’t do this one if you’ve got a herniated disc.
YOGA POSE #7: CHAIR POSE
The Chair Pose is the Downward Dog’s brother or sister in terms of difficulty. You’ll sweat a lot by doing this one; as your legs, core, upper back and shoulders will struggle to find the right position and balance. But keep at it – it’ll feel great afterwards!
YOGA POSE #8: THE FORWARD FOLD
To increase your hamstring flexibility, as well as to further develop your ability for breathing deeply while in uncomfortable positions… You should try to do the Forward Fold.
Just make sure to watch out for any sort of pain in your hamstrings and/or lower back. There should never be pain when it comes to these poses, just discomfort.
YOGA POSE #9: CRESCENT POSE/LOW LUNGE
Do you know what every Jiujiteiro has? That’s right: tight hip flexors. And you need to stretch them out if you want to stay injury-free (and to give your lower back the much needed break).
The Crescent Pose is going to be a great one for your hip flexors, and a really challenging one for the rest of your body. The Low Lunge can be a really good precursor to it, though:
YOGA POSE #10: THE PLOUGH POSE
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. To improve your inverted guard, you should do this one every single day.