Yoga and Jiu-Jitsu
By Carol Gracie
Yoga by definition is known as “a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation” and it is more than 5.000 years old. However in my opinion Yoga is much more than that. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, which means “to yoke” or “to unite” the spirit and physical body together. Since I started to practice it last year I could experience many improvements physically and mentally. It is an overall well being enhancement practice.
The practice of Yoga brings so many benefits to your body and mind that it is actually hard to mention all of them or just pick a few to share here with you. Anyone can do Yoga. It is good for everybody, BJJ practitioners included. Physically, Yoga works on balance, flexibility, strength, endurance, core and breathing which will definitely help you improve your performance on the mats. Considering that Jiu-Jitsu is also a mental game of strategy, logic, intelligence and patience, it is necessary to work on strengthening your mind as well as your own body.
Mentally, the practice of Yoga will help you train your mind for Jiu-Jitsu, opening your head to new ways of thinking and cleaning your thoughts so you can have more focus and easily find the solutions to your questions and problems. You will acquire mental endurance and strength to push forward beyond your limits, and at the same time relaxes your mind to bring you more patience and calmness.
Yoga has evolved so much over thousands of years that today embrace a wide range of styles and disciplines. The Gracie Family members have been combining Yoga and Jiu-Jitsu for many years. Rickson is one of the most feverous adapts of Yoga poses, breathing techniques and meditation, and he is also one of the best Jiu-Jitsu fighters of all times. Grandmaster Carlos Gracie, my grandfather used to meditate, just like my dad does it after him, and like that it runs in the family. Nowadays, many BJJ schools have been offering Yoga classes as a complement to Jiu-Jitsu training.
On this fourth episode of LIFESTYLE with Carol Gracie, I visit a BJJ school to take a Yoga class and talk to the instructor about the benefits of the practice for fighters. Check it out!