a lot in common more than what we could imagine. Incorporating one to the other will definitely boost your overall health, mentality and spirituality.

Both the Yoga mat and the dojo (a temple or place where martial arts is practiced) are considered sacred spaces where one practices a discipline that leads to enlightenment. Both spaces are where you face your fears, conquer your doubts, become mindful of your reactions and be aware of your surroundings and of what’s happening within. The only difference is that, in martial arts, you are engaged by an outside force, an opponent or a partner, while in yoga, you practice individually.

Improving Martial Arts through Yoga

The common stereotypes when we hear the word “martial arts” are high kick, staccato and harsh movements. This is due to media influence, especially in Hollywood action movies. But these kinds of big movements require a lot of effort and are often times inefficient during a combat. Big muscle groups connected to the pelvic floor, such as the back, buttocks, thighs and abdomen, are engaged, and all of it is fueled by twisting and by the lower limb’s power. Yoga’s lower body and hip-opening postures will be a great help to improve the lower body and hips’ flexibility, while the standing poses help strengthen the legs. Here are some poses you can try to help develop flexibility and leg strength:

Pigeon Pose/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. This is one of the best hip openers in the practice. This stretch opens the rectus femoris, psoas and the rotator muscles on the hips, which allows big movements without any strain. Open hips are very essential for an efficient and effective kick in any martial arts discipline.
To do the pose: Begin by planting your hands on the floor and make sure it is parallel to the shoulders and your knees parallel to the hips. Place your left knee next to your left wrist and slowly sink your hips down to the ground. Then, extend your right leg back. Inhale, lengthen your spine, and then, reach your hand forward as you exhale. Continuously lower yourself with every exhale until your forehead is resting on the mat.

Standing Squat Pose/Utkata Kunasana. This pose improves the strength of the glutes, hips, legs, calves and ankles. A strong lower body and the right clothing are vital for a powerful kick that can surely throw the opponent on the floor. It is also a good chest and hip opener.
To do the pose: To begin, stand with your feet apart and turned outwards on a 45-degree angle. Increase the distance between your feet as you send your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Remember to keep your weight on your heels. Place your hands in prayer and hold the pose for 10 breaths.

Martial arts require a rigid body to be able to strongly block attacks, and blending yoga into it to counter the rigidness can be a powerful combination. They are two different disciplines with the same philosophies. This is a practice that can truly transform and elevate those who discover their amazing fusion!