The Yoga Intervention Part 2: On the Rocks

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This is the second installment in a series of articles that will attempt to document my experience utilizing the Yoga for BJJ program designed by Sebastian Brosche.  

Here is a link to the first installment if you haven’t had a chance to check it out:The Yoga Intervention Part 1

I am now in my third week of following the Yoga for BJJ program.  I have completed the 10 in 10 beginners program, which has consisted of a short 10-minute series of daily videos focusing on the most common trouble spots for BJJ practitioners.  The goal of this program is not only to introduce one to yoga, but also to establish a sense of discipline in doing the program each day.  For the most part, the work was not too strenuous, although there were some poses that were a definite challenge, i.e. handstands and some of the moves focused on balance.  Yoga is meant to be restorative for the most part, so for me, it’s the perfect complement to the strains and damage that BJJ can sometimes levy on my body.

Did it work?

100% Yes.

I must confess one small detail, though. The videos were only 10 minutes, but there were several days (both while traveling for work and also being at home) when I simply didn’t get to it.  But the beauty of the program is that the videos are so short, I was able to “double up” and keep a good pace.  I completed this section is 12 days.

Though I would give myself a C- for missing a few days, I definitely noticed some very positive benefits from this initial phase.

  1.  Pre-Class I have made it a point to do several of the stretches and poses before and after BJJ class.  This program has definitely given me a fresh mindset with regards to my BJJ flexibility.  The benefits I have seen from this have been an increased energy level in class as well as during sparring.  I credit it to my problem areas (primarily hips, hip flexors, hamstrings, and lower back) being more warmed up and limber than in the past.
This hip triangle stretch will yield incredible benefits in loosening one's hips before and after training.--photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
This hip triangle stretch will yield incredible benefits in loosening one’s hips before and after training.–photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

 

2. During Class As Sebastian goes through each video, his commentary is primarily focused on BJJ, and one of the best pieces of advice I’ve taken from these early videos regards how one sits during class and in between sparring.  Typically, I sit cross-legged or perhaps against the wall in between rounds or when watching a technique.  Since starting the Yoga for BJJ program, however, I’m consciously focusing on sitting on my heels and ideally leaning back to keep my hip flexors and quadriceps from tightening up during downtime.

 

In between rounds and during class, this stretch goes a long way to help the hip flexors.--photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
In between rounds and during class, this stretch goes a long way to help the hip flexors.–photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

 3. Post Class  Most days so far, I have completed the Yoga for BJJ video in the morning before I head to work.  BJJ class is in the evening.  I did have a few days when I completed the videos after BJJ and doing this has produced some interesting benefits.  Doing the session after jiu-jitsu guarantees that my muscles are the warmest they can ever be, which makes for maximum stretch.  Also, the simple act of focused breathing really helps give my mind a break from absorbing new techniques, which indirectly allows me to absorb the technique even better by not overthinking it.

Beginning and ending one's BJJ training with some simple wall stretches helps circulate the blood and ready the mind.--Photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
Beginning and ending one’s BJJ training with some simple wall stretches helps circulate the blood and ready the mind.–Photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

Once completed, Yoga for BJJ participants have the ability to choose their own path by either jumping into the Starter Week program or taking the Yoga for Rocks route.  I am currently midway through my first week of the Yoga for Rocks program.  For Sebastian, the “rock” is the BJJ practitioner who suffers from chronic inflexibilty.

The goal of this next phase of my Yoga for BJJ journey is to hone in on the muscles and techniques that will allow me to open my game up to techniques that utilize inversion.  I will repeat this 5-day program for four weeks and then proceed into The Starter Week.  Thus far, I find the Yoga for Rocks videos to be extremely doable and even though they range from 20-30 minutes in length, the program has successfully made daily yoga something I not only look forward to, but something I’m compelled to do, much like BJJ.  Well, done Sebastian!

To sum up briefly, I’d like to list out the benefits I’ve experienced in less than 3 weeks:

Improved flexibility–A recent bout with hip flexor soreness has completely disappeared.

Improved recovery–I have noticed much less soreness the next day after a hard training session.

Improved breathing–I believe anytime we can quiet our minds and focus our attention and our breathing, this can yield many benefits. Before class, it helps get our minds ready to take in new information and techniques, during class it helps us calm our breathing to improve overall stamina and performance, and after class, it allows us to calm down after those tough training sessions and reflect a bit on what we’ve learned.

I’m truly amazed, as a 44-year-old grappler who trains an average of 3-4 times a week for a total of 6-8 hours, how a 10-30 minute additional investment in this simple-to-follow program has already begun to pay dividends.  If I can benefit in less than 3 weeks, imagine what you can do.

I would also like to point out that Sebastian has a great YouTube page with nearly 100 free videos for you to peruse.  Check it out here:  Yoga for BJJ YouTube Page

Also, if you are a Reddit User, there’s also a Reddit SubGroup specifically for users.  Check it out here: Yoga for BJJ on Reddit

Check out the recent documentary on Sebastian called “Smooth Transitions” here:  Yoga for BJJ Documentary

Look for my next installment of The Yoga Intervention, coming soon!

 

 

 

 

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