Could Yoga Sports Science® be the missing link to achieve that extra edge in martial arts?
Martial Arts is a sport and discipline requiring an intense level of physical and mental endurance, placing immense demands on a martial artist. Every athlete recognizes these demands and will have spent a significant amount of time with their coach identifying ways in which to enhance their performance. Yoga is fast becoming an accepted beneficial add-on to traditional training for athletes looking to achieve that extra edge.
Yoga Sports Science® suffers from its label ’Yoga’, the image of being dressed in lycra and bending your body into the shape of a pretzel overshadowing yoga’s considerable benefits. Even if you never do touch your toes, Sports Specific Yoga will improve your performance and make you a better athlete or performer, no matter what your sport or discipline.
Yoga is an ancient science that studies the nature of the body and utilizes the body’s natural ability to perform to its highest potential. Yoga Sport Science® combines this ancient science with modern developments in sports science — enabling an athlete to integrate training techniques, producing a significantly superior training program, and ultimately an extra edge over an opponent.
I am a Yoga Sports Coach™ working within Yoga Sports Science®, currently only 1 of only 10 fully qualified, recognized and registered in the U.K. and across the world. I work alongside coaches, athletes, performers, teams and NGB’s and have seen first hand the considerable benefits and improvements that an intervention of Sport Specific Yoga techniques can produce in an athlete’s performance. My research of the benefits of yoga within sport has been a great success, introducing performance breathing techniques that enhance performance in elite martial artists.
Breathing is one aspect of training that is often overlooked by both athlete and coach. Over the course of the intervention the breathing techniques were found to be very beneficial to the athletes performance and training, by not only working into and utilizing correct breathing postural muscles, the primary and secondary breathing muscles, but were quickly picked up by the athletes as ‘tools’ to utilize during pre-and-post performance, during bouts and between rounds to help with relaxation, nerves, focus, continued concentration and stamina / breath recovery.
Athletes using this method began to observe very early on significant improvements in their functional strength and conditioning, mobility and stability, endurance, stamina, agility, alignment, proprioception, reaction times and kinetic chains.
Performance breathing techniques increase VO2 maximum capacity, breathing efficiency, train the neural pathways of the brain to work the Serratus Anterior muscles, increases lung expansion and capacity, diaphragmatic breathing into the lower lobes of the lungs, working efficiently into the primary and secondary breathing muscles and improve and increase heart and lung organ strength.
Reaction time, added balance, coordination, stamina and endurance can also be improved through breath control and because of the increased oxygenation to the muscles, lactic acid and waste products can be removed quicker, which can prevent injury and soreness after an accumulation strength session.
They can also be used as a relaxation, recovery and focusing tool while not training, to engage with the parasympathetic nervous system.
The benefits of Sport Specific Yoga when used consistently are:
- Development and enhancement of concentration and focus
- Enhanced physical performance, stamina, agility, fitness and endurance
- Improved strength and conditioning
- Development of structural core stability and increased range of motion
- Improved functional stability and mobility and balance
- Aid injury prevention and recovery from injury
- Improve the quality and efficiency of the breath through performance breathing techniques.
- Effective management of tension and control stress levels
- Improved explosive power and explosive breathing
- Improved proprioception, spatial awareness and body awareness
- Greater motor control and develop an improved movement accuracy
- Increases longevity within chosen field
- Improved reaction times and biomechanical efficiency
- Corrections to muscle imbalances and joint instability, perpetuated through repetitive and unbalanced sports
- Reduced recovery times – restorative posture work benefits the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems
A Sports Specific Yoga program is designed with an understanding of the athlete’s biomechanics and the biomechanical demands of each specific sport and discipline, so each program is uniquely and realistically designed to fit in with an intense training schedule.
After an initial introduction to sport specific yoga techniques an intervention will often last between 5 to 30 minutes, enabling the athlete to continue to attain training objectives.
I am available to work with martial artists, athletes, performers, coaches, individuals, teams and NGB’s, be it on a one to one basis, workshops, team or group sessions and weekly / monthly / seasonal classes along with Biomechanical Assessments.
Fiona Adamson is a Yoga Sports Coach™, within Yoga Sports Science®, working with athletes and performers of any discipline; coaches, teams and NGB’s etc. on any aspect of training, pre-hab and rehab, helping to improve and enhance an athletes performance and achieve that extra edge. She is a Martial Arts instructor and trains British and European Champions. Twitter | Facebook
Yoga in the news
The Times and Independent newspapers featured Premiership footballer and Sports Personality of the Year, Ryan Giggs and his passion for yoga to which he credits his longevity in the game (now 37 yrs old with 600 appearances!) and which has inspired his new strength and conditioning DVD – read more: Independent (2011), Times (2008), Times (Jan 2011)- online subscribers, Guardian (2009).