The Yoga Intervention: Using Yoga for BJJ to Improve Jiu Jitsu and Life

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My name is Todd and I have an inversion problem.

Crowd:  “Hi Todd.”

To say I have flexibility issues is an understatement.  Shoulders, hips, and neck tend to be the worst areas as I get older. Disc issues in my back are what actually led me to BJJ.  At age 44, it seems like every day I become more like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz without a drop of oil in sight.  I have been training BJJ for 8 years and recently received my brown belt.  As the next goal of black belt looms on the horizon, it’s important for me to take stock and really begin to work on my weak spots.

My goals are simple.  I would like to turn back the clock on the natural stiffness and soreness that comes from regular training.  I would also recognize that increasing my overall mobility will allow me to explore different positions that maybe I’ve steered clear of up until now and also make the positions I currently favor more effective.

I’ve known deep down that a key to prolonging my BJJ practice is improving my flexibility through yoga.  But like the people who say they’re getting in shape before they start BJJ, we all know KNOWING is only half the battle.  The other half is actually starting.  My search for a yoga resource to help me turn back the clock on my flexibility has led me to Yoga for BJJ.  I have now committed to implementing Sebastian Brosche’s Yoga for BJJ plan and will be sharing with readers of the Jiu-Jitsu Times my experiences as I progress through the program.

The Background

Sebastian Brosche, the creator of Yoga for BJJ, is a brown belt BJJ competitor from Sweden who currently lives in Norway with his wife, Stine, who helped introduce him to the benefits of yoga after 10 years of judo had taken it’s toll on his body.  Sebastian won double gold at the Mundials as a purple belt and also won gold as a brown belt.  When I asked Sebastian what the goals are for Yoga for BJJ, this is what he shared.

Sebastian Brosche has united his passions of BJJ and Yoga into a resource for all grapplers. --photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
Sebastian Brosche has united his passions of BJJ and Yoga into a resource for all grapplers. –photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

Yoga for BJJ is a website with simple goals.  Those goals are to spread the benefits of yoga to grapplers who need them.  Those benefits include flexibility, mobility, recovery, balance and injury prevention among others.  The videos are made to cater to everyone, from someone who identifies as a ‘Rock’ in terms of flexibility to world-class competitors, looking for the extra edge in competition.

First Impressions

At the outset, the site is extremely well organized, with plenty of information to help you get started.  I was particularly impressed with the Introductory video where Sebastian lays out the varied paths one can take working through the program.  Essentially, there is no guess work.  You follow the clear instructions, commit to the videos in the order he prescribes depending upon your level and goals, and results will follow.

The Yoga for BJJ roadmap to better flexibility, recovery, and improved Jiu Jitsu performance.
The Yoga for BJJ roadmap to better flexibility, recovery, and improved Jiu Jitsu performance.

Initially, members are instructed to follow the 10-day program of 10 minutes of yoga a day, with each day focused on a specific bodily area like hips or shoulders.  After establishing the daily yoga habit with 10 days of easy practice, students are instructed to begin the Starter Week or if they are like me, they can take the Yoga for Rocks off ramp.  After a number of weeks working through the Yoga for Rocks curriculum, I will then pick up at the Starter Week. Once this groundwork is covered, one can begin exploring the many programs designed for specific needs or problem areas.

The 10-day beginners program helps establish a daily regimen a mere 10 minutes a day.--photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
The 10-day beginners program helps establish a daily regimen a mere 10 minutes a day.–photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

 

The Beginning

For the first 10 days, I am to follow the series of 10-minute videos each focusing on a different area of the body.  Day 1 focused on the hips.  Sebastian’s instructions are very clear.  He speaks with a great deal of experience and makes sure that anyone watching the video would be comfortable as he describes some of the common trouble spots you will encounter.  I found myself following along to the first video, counting my breaths, and before I knew it, the video was over.  My first thought was, “Is that it?”  It was literally over before I knew it.  My second thought was, “Wow, I feel more loose in my hips.”  Sebastian makes a point in this video that 10 minutes is the smallest amount of time one should invest in yoga to see some results.

 

Day 1 of the 10 day beginners program starts with the hips.--Photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
Day 1 of the 10 day beginners program starts with the hips.–Photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

 

Day 2 focused on the shoulders.  Implementing a number of exercises and stretches utilizing his jiu-jitsu belt, Sebastian’s program opens up my all-too-tight shoulder area.

Day 2--The Shoulders--photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
Day 2–The Shoulders–photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

 

Day 3 will be tomorrow and should be a great one as it focuses on the spine, which was my original trouble area.  BJJ has strengthened my core immensely, which has virtually eliminated my issues. But by focusing only on my BJJ training and not enough on stretching exercises, I’m eager to see what this video will offer.

 

The mobile version of Yoga for BJJ is easy to follow. --photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche
The mobile version of Yoga for BJJ is easy to follow. –photo courtesy of Sebastian Brosche

I travel quite a bit for my real job and having a quality mobile option is important for this program.  Sometimes I am unable to train jiu-jitsu while on the road.  This will give me an alternative option to help supplement my BJJ.  I look forward to performing my required videos throughout my travels.

Look for the next installment of my yoga saga in the coming days.  My goal with these pieces is to show that even the most inflexible grapplers can make progress and improve their overall wellness and mobility with very minimal time commitment and interference in their BJJ training.

If you are eager to check out Yoga for BJJ, you can check them out here at YogaforBJJ.Net.  The program is only $17/month with the first month at half price.  If you pay for the year up front, it is only $150.  There are well over 100 videos and many structured programs for you to follow geared to whatever your specific goals or flexibility trouble spots are.

 

 

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