It’s not uncommon in MMA yoga training Thailand to hear sayings like “Relaxed muscles are faster and more powerful” and statements of this kind are very true. If you can keep your muscles in a relaxed state you are burning less energy while not in motion and are therefore likely to be able to sustain your speed etc. Later into a fight than a more tense opponent.
In Thailand it is common for MMA and Muay Thai camps to encourage all fighters, athletes and weight loss participants to attend Yoga classes because through the practice of this ancient art form we learn to control our breathing and with a little bit of dedication we can become more flexible and agile.
With increased flexibility comes increased range of motion allowing us for example to kick higher and to move around quickly with a reduced chance of injury. The more we are able to control our breathing the better our cardio will be during a fight, sparring session or just general fitness drills.
Yoga philosophy also teaches us how to remain focused for longer and to control our thought process. Again when applied to fight psychology these are very useful tools allowing us to remain focused throughout our training camps and also to control your thought process during a fight.
During a fight camp I personally like to do a short 15-20 minute yoga session in the morning and another for around 30 minutes at night to help me relax and hopefully get a better night’s sleep. I also participate in static stretching for around 15 minutes before every training session and use self myofascial release techniques after/between sessions.
A lot of people just think of stretching as something that they are told to do at the beginning of a class etc. and don’t really take the time to focus on getting the benefits of the stretches. Its important to understand with each stretch which area of the body I am targeting, so if you don’t know then ask your instructor. That’s what they are there for!! Its also important while stretching to find the point where the stretch is uncomfortable but not actually painful, it’s a fine line but with some practice you will find it.
Again I can’t over emphasize the importance of stretching for maintaining/improving range of motion and reducing the risk of injury. Stretching post exercise will also help to increase blood circulation through the muscles and improve the efficiency with which the muscles can begin to heal themselves.
We shouldn’t really need to be taught to relax but in the world we live in today it doesn’t always come as easily as it should. Through the practice of regular Yoga and stretching you will help yourself to become a more flexible, relaxed and focused MMA fighter!!