Yoga and BJJ: The Ultimate Yoga Pose for Recovery
Recovering from intense training sessions takes a multitude of different elements. As I’ve discussed before there are many factors in creating a solid routine for optimal recovery. But life surely get in the way on occasion. We don’t always find ourselves with lots of spare time to meet the requirements for regaining a refreshed body and sound mind. Adhering to a daily schedule and sticking to you guns when it comes to your recovery is important, but sometimes we’ll need to get the most out of a shorter period of time when life throws a wrench into our beloved regimen.
I’ve discuss the importance of stretching and yoga pertaining to your BJJ and recovery. I don’t know about you, but if I could spend an hour a day in a yoga class, I would. The weeks where I’m able to spend a good portion of time with yoga, are my weeks where I feel my best, and recover faster. But if we can’t get to yoga class, or simply don’t have the spare hour for a stretching routine at home, what can we do?
There is one particular pose or stretch that in my opinion can make a huge difference in how you feel the following morning after a night of intense training. On my heaviest training days with lots of volume, ill often get home late. You know how it goes, maybe a protein shake after you walk in the door, a hot shower, and you begin to unwind. But wait, don’t lay down just yet. No matter how exhausted I might be, and how badly I want to hit the mattress, I always make sure I do this pose for a minimum of 5 minutes per side before I lay down. I may not feel perfect in the morning. But I have experienced mornings with and without the addition of this stretch to my nighttime routine, and the difference in how I feel is staggering. In this video Sebastian Brosche of yoga for bjj explains the pigeon pose in detail and offers some advice and information on variations.
As you can see in the video there are a variety of ways to achieve the pose. You can even incorporate small movements and there are different ways to settle into the stretch to make it comfortable and put it to work for your body type and range of flexibility. It can also be modified for those pesky knee injuries and for those of you just beginning to explore yoga and the benefits of stretching.
I personally like to start in the plank orientation and slowly work my way down to laying flat over the leg. I put a timer on for 5 minutes and allow myself to gradually settle into the stretch. My goal is for the last minute to be completely flat and fully surrendered to the pose. Let gravity do the work and just try to relax. The pose is not generally a super comfortable one, but just like anything else that’s worth doing it will take time, allow it to work it’s magic and commit to staying with it.
Not only does pigeon pose combat the soreness from intense training. It’s also a great pre-sleep stretch to relax your hips and loosen the lower back, making your slumber a little more restful.
We need all the help we can get when it comes to recovery. If your goal is to attend as many training sessions as possible, your recovery must be a priority to get the most of your hard work. Give pigeon pose a try and see how you feel!
For more recovery techniques check out Josh Stockman's Grappling for Yoga available here at BJJ Fanatics!