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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

06 September 2012

06/09/2012 - Yoga

Class #004
Link House, (Yoga), Kate Rowland, Bristol, UK - 06/09/2012

This started off the same as last time, with the 'how it is' pose (I've forgotten the Indian name) where your feet are in line. That was followed by the 'vajarasana' lunge with a turn, finishing up with a similar position that involves a greater bend while also resting on your elbows.

Next up was a balance, which again ran through the same pattern as before. We began with the 'awkward' pose, where you do a squat but with your arms stretched out in front of you. The 'eagle' was next, where you hug yourself, keeping your elbows high. Bring your arms up, so that the backs of your hands touch each other. This is supposed to be like wings.

You then wrap one leg around the outside of the other, bending a little with your legs. Kate added a new posture at this point, where you lunge forwards until you can put your hands on the floor. Use that support to swing your leg into the air, then turn your upper body to the side and raise one of your arms.

The final set of techniques kicked off with the 'dog' pose where you are on all fours, toes curled under, with your bottom in the air. Kate plopped us back to the 'child' pose, which is same position as the typical back stretch in BJJ where you sit on your heels with your shoulders to the mat, but without the corresponding position that involves pushing forwards and arching your head back.

Our last pose was a 'bridge', but very different to BJJ bridging, where you reach over your shoulder and push off the mat with your legs. In the yoga version, you are on your back, but rather than focusing on lifting up your hips high, it is more about pressing your feet down to slightly raise the hips. The idea is that nothing is tense, so you end up slapping your bottom and thighs to check they're still quivering rather than tensed muscle. ;)

Meditation closed off the class, which is almost certainly the close of my experience with yoga. I was happy to head along to help Kate out as she prepares for her yoga teaching qualification, but it isn't something I would be interested in doing long term. Having said that, perhaps I would be persuaded back in if I ever had some kind of injury that would otherwise be difficult to train around. My standard example is BJJ black belt and yoga master Phil Migliarese, who has said in the past that since he had a serious car accident, yoga has become essential:

I was involved in a bad car wreck when I was 17 years old, 4 years into jiu-jitsu. I was on my back for about 6 months. I broke my knees, hips, ribs and shoulders. The Doctors told me to forget about ever training again. Well, I had to prove them wrong. I watched videos while I was in bed. I practiced Yoga breathing exercise to help with my focus on recovery. When I started walking again, I used yoga postures to help realign my broken spine and strengthen my back.

I got back on the mat within 9 months after the accident. But I was not pain free nor am I now. Yoga helps to minimize the pain in my back.

My back will literally go out if I stop doing yoga. I cannot train jiu-jitsu without yoga. Without it, I can hardy walk or move around.

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