Home > Brazilian jiu jitsu, Challenges, Injuries, Judo, kettlebells, Learning, uchi mata, yoga > Is Yoga actually for bad asses?

Is Yoga actually for bad asses?

Since I strained my hip flexor, I’ve been trying ways to still train and keep in shape. I realized last week, however, that I needed to take a few days off from jiu jitsu and judo completely or I was never going to get anywhere, no matter how lightly I participated in class. Kettlebells have been helpful, and conveniently I can take classes at my club.  I also started taking yoga again because I thought that would be a nice, light work out that would help my hip.

I first took yoga about two and a half years ago under slight coercion from my doctor at the time. She insisted that I was too stressed out and that yoga was the answer. I thought that was a stupid answer. I did not want to take yoga. It seemed decidedly hippie to me. I also thought it was just stretching. Boring. Around that time though, a friend wanted to start taking yoga again and asked me to join her. I decided to pretend to have an open mind and tag along.

Admittedly, I was not thrilled to join bunch of comfortable Westerners to sit on yoga mats with hippie blankets and chant “Om”. This was ridiculous to me. But as class started, I was floored. Yoga was hard. Sure, I was flexible enough, but not nearly strong enough. The class was an hour and half long and I kept looking at the clock, which only made matters worse. My core muscles were so sore the next day that I couldn’t sit up in normal way. It hurt too much. Of course, I decided I liked yoga because it was hard and ended up going to class five days a week. I even learned to appreciate the chanting.

So last week when I started up again, what was I thinking? Yoga is not a light work out. Not at all. For a girl my size, I would consider myself fairly strong. (I am only five feet tall, so if airport security did not insist on thwarting our plans, you could hide me in your suitcase on your next business trip). During yoga though, I feel like a complete wuss. The classes I’ve attended so far have mostly women students, who seem so unassuming with their long braided hair and dangly earrings, but the poses they can execute are insane. The instructor today was demonstrating some different arm balances which my brain and body could not really wrap around, and I was impressed that some of the students came close to getting the poses right.

Looking around the room and noticing how jacked these women were, I couldn’t help but think they’d likely be perfect for judo. Besides their flexibility, they have amazing balance and are incredibly strong. They could probably get the hang of uchi mata in no time.

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  1. Fedor Gracie
    October 31, 2013 at 11:42

    My son wanted to start weight training at 11-12 to complement his judo because he saw the older kids do it.
    I wasnt too enthralled by the idea but gave him a bodyweight based workout that would use no direct lifting or pressure on the spine. I installed a chin up bar and dip bar and this forms the basis of his workout (sissy squats for legs followed by dynamic explosive movements ) even a few basic kettlebell movements. He was disappointed he woulndt be squatting or doing bench presses because thats ‘what guys do’. The difference was noticeable in less than a year in strenght and grip power.
    Recently, I ended up winning a bet with him and he had to clean our yard from top to bottom. That weekend was absolutely gorgeous and I offered him a deal: go have fun instead today but this monday you are going to take a yoga class with your cousin.
    His jaw almost dropped. Was I insane? Yoga? No, was the firm answer. No way it was gonna happen. He worked that saturday for about 1.5hrs, seeing his friends passing by on their bikes to play soccer. He couldnt take it, he accepted my deal. As long as I didnt tell anyone.
    So off he went with his older cousin that monday to yoga..
    He comes back 2 hrs later and is beaming from ear to ear. This was amazing and sooo hard that he was surprised how so many non athletic girls could be able to do this class.
    He’s tried to fit it around his practices 2-3 times a week since school restarted and says his uchimata has improved to the point where he is very confident of getting past that hump every time because he is more flexible and stronger in the end position. As a teenage boy, he loves the fact that its mainly girls-women in the class but still asks me not to tell anyone we know that he does yoga.

    Depending what kind of yoga you do, you will get different results but in a sport like judo where kuzushi is so important, improving balance and flexibility is a necessity just as important as strength (although the new rules are pushing kuzushi out in favour of strenght and this seems as going against the basic tenets of judo).

    Just like soccer teams benefit from having sprinting classes from people who specialize in that, judokas can only benefit from an activity that is all about flexibility and balance like yoga (or golf…. kidding). Maybe the secret isnt bringing the horse to the water but bringing the water to the horse: our club is looking into having an in-club yoga class added.

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