Yoga and BJJ With Josh Stockman
When you first start training there are a million things coming at you all at once. It seems within the first few months or maybe even the first year it is basically a whirlwind of information. Between trying to learn the fundamental positions and other techniques, learning the proper academy etiquette, learning what gear to wear and what brands you like, learning to tie your belt, the list goes on and on. Things are coming at you from every direction and it can be a lot to digest.
It seems that once you start to get a handle on those basics, the next wave hits. This is the big one. I like to call it the supplementation wave. I’m not referring to actual supplements, or at least not solely, but rather all of the things that go hand in hand with Jiu Jitsu training that are extras on top of the training itself.
This is where you will start to hear about how the Gracie Diet is the only way to go, or that intermittent fasting is the best way to eat for training and so on. You will begin seeing ads from supplement companies that are designed specifically for training Jiu Jitsu as well as tons of other products some of which are probably great, while others may have some mixed reviews.
The one supplementation to your Jiu Jitsu training that I think everyone can agree on is the positive impacts of yoga, in general, but specifically when you train Jiu Jitsu. Yoga carries tons of health benefits on its own, but first let’s look at how it can benefit our Jiu Jitsu training.
Yoga reinforces a lot of the same mental benefits of Jiu Jitsu such as clarity and being in the moment, freeing your mind from the clutter of every day life and allowing you to be in a meditative like state. Yoga can also be used to supplement your Jiu Jitsu training from a flexibility standpoint. It’s no secret that being flexible is helpful in Jiu Jitsu, and Yoga can help expedite how long it takes to get there.
Becoming more flexible is not just helpful in that it makes it easier to move on the mats and easier to accomplish certain movements, but it is helpful in that it also aides in preventing injury. Injury tends to happen when you are pushing your body too far past its limits, whether that be from your own doing, or from your partner doing a knee slice pass and forcing you to do the splits. Either way, it’s not great and doing some yoga can help make that a little less likely to happen.
As much as people say strength does not matter in Jiu Jitsu, I have to disagree strongly. Many people are shifting this thinking to agree that when everything else is the same, skill set, weight, athleticism, strength will be the differentiator. Yoga helps build strength in a way that is much different than lifting weights or a typical strength training routine.
Yoga is able to supplement your Jiu Jitsu providing not just strength but stability and endurance strength so that you are able to perform the techniques more smoothly and able to hold positions longer than you would be able to if you were not doing yoga. Believe it or not, yoga actually aides in building your cardio, which may be surprising since it’s different than what we typically would think of when thinking about cardio; running, jump rope, live training rounds with little to know breaks, etc.
So, at this point I think I have successfully sold you on the value of adding yoga to your training regimen, but where do you start? YouTube? Downward dog? Childs pose? What do these things even mean?
Starting to add yoga into your Jiu Jitsu training schedule does not need to be complicated. While it can certainly be overwhelming trying to navigate the waters of this new “thing” you want to start doing, it does not need to be. Much like starting to train Jiu Jitsu, you simply need someone to show you the ropes and help get you on your way.
Luckily for us, Josh Stockman has developed a video instructional to walk us through some of the fundamental and most impactful yoga positions to help us reach our goals. His video instructional titled “Grappling with Yoga” is guaranteed to increase your flexibility and help you to feel so much better after training! Josh says in just 10-15 minutes a day you will feel like a completely new person in just 3 months. Let that sink in for a minute. In the time you have spent zombie scrolling on your favorite social media platform today you could be doing your body a favor and making it feel better as well as making it more capable of recovering quicker.
Still unsure? Let’s take a look at a few of the techniques and thoughts from Josh’s video instructional in his free video clip “Yoga for BJJ by Josh Stockman”. Josh starts off by saying there are three fundamental benefits that you will notice when supplementing your Jiu Jitsu training with Yoga. Balance, flexibility and strength are the three primary areas you will notice a difference when it comes to adding yoga into your training schedule. Josh is going to show us one exercise to practice for each of these areas.
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The first exercise Josh shares with us is a yoga pushup to help with the strength portion of the three benefits he mentioned. A yoga pushup is very similar to a regular pushup except the difference is that the elbows are kept very tight to the sides of your body. In order to do this exercise properly you want to place your hands about shoulder width apart on the mat and twist your elbow into your ribs. We then can come up on our toes and assume the plank push up position.
Before we begin doing pushups the last adjustment that we need to make is to push our body forward positioning our chest over our hands rather than having our hands even with our shoulders like you may typically do when doing pushups.
The next exercise is for flexibility. In this exercise you want to sit on the mat with one leg fully extended and the other leg curled in with your foot on your extended leg just above the knee. You the want to reach as far down your extended leg as you possibly can without hurting yourself obviously. Regardless of how far you can reach you can grab onto something, whether that is your ankle, or if you are already flexible, maybe the bottom of your foot perhaps.
The key here is to make this an “active stretch” meaning that with each exhale breath we pull ourselves deeper into the stretch. Understand that progress is progress and you may not see astonishing results all at once, with each breath you may only be able to pull yourself a millimeter or two deeper into the stretch, and that’s ok. Before you know it, you will be pulling your chest all the way to your knee with ease.
The final exercise is called a crow and is designed to develop strength. To do this next exercise we start from a body squat position with our hands about shoulder width apart and our fingers spread wide for stability. We then place our triceps against the front of our knees and start to lift our hips towards the ceiling. Once you get your legs almost straight you can start shifting your weight forward by driving your hips over your hands.
Getting your body weight balanced over your hands is the goal. When you start to feel this balance you can begin lifting one leg off the mat, and then the other when you are ready. Don’t be worried if you are not able to hold yourself in this position for long at first, but you should expect to see the time increase as you do this exercise more and more.
You will hear Josh talk at the end of the video clip about how yoga is great for rehabbing injury as well and even taking it a step further and saying it’s great at preventing injury because injury occurs when we are not aligned properly but yoga helps force our bodies into alignment.
No matter where you are in your Jiu Jitsu career it is absolutely, without question, worth your time to consider adding yoga to your daily or at least weekly regimen. As you have seen in this article, it does not need to be complicated, or take a ton of time, it simply just needs to be done on a semi consistent basis. Much like Jiu Jitsu, as you grow in yoga your skill set will increase and open up new and more challenging exercises to you all while continuing to push your body to its maximum potential.
If you are ready to pull the trigger and start maximizing your time on the mats then it’s time for you to check out Josh’s video instructional titled “Grappling with Yoga”. You will not be disappointed. Remember that the exercises only work if you do. Much like drilling techniques, if you look for shortcuts or do not apply max effort then you will get less than the desired result in return. It’s time to start enjoying the benefits of yoga along side your passion for grappling.
Grappling with Yoga By Josh Stockman is a sure-fire way to supplement your BJJ. Take the everyday aches and pains and minimize their impact while simultaneously gaining flexibility. ANY good Guard player will tell you the importance of having some Top-Tier Flexibility.
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