I have been training in Ashtanga Yoga now for about six months. There are a number of recommendations on the internet, about how well yoga and bjj go together. There are a number of famous yogis that are high level BJJ practioners, Rickson Gracie, Nic Gregoriades and Danny Prokopos just to name a few.
When I was recovering from my second surgery yoga was my go to exercise that helped functionally strengthen me back up. I have now progressed on from the original Hatha Yoga style class I was originally attending to a specific Ashtanga Yoga class. I did try hot yoga for a while, but Mrs Munki was not a fan and I then struggled to find a class that would fit my schedule.
Just so you know Hatha yoga tends to be a mix of the different types of yoga, it is reasonably slow-paced, gentle, and focused on breathing and meditation. It is also recognized as a stress-reducing practice.
Of the two my personal preference is the Ashtanga style of yoga. It is split into the Primary Series and subsequent intermediate or second series and the advanced series. The Primary Series is seen as a way to prepare and repair your body, in readiness for the more strenuous Second Series. This suits me great as this Old Munki body needs a lot of repairing and to be honest the healing side of it is working.
I would point out that Ashtanga Yoga is not the easiest style to practise and it is a kind of strength yoga, but this additional effort does bring benefits. As the type of strength I am building is transferable to BJJ, but also benefits me physically in day to day life.
I have found that my spinal and shoulder flexibility is improving, both of which help with my jiu jitsu and my overall Munki wellness. But I also feel that after a week of training and rolling, yoga feels like it pulls me back into place. This may seem a strange thing to say, but you will all know how much you get banged around when rolling. Spending an hour and a half pulling and stretching myself, feels really good…afterwards! It does also help that my yoga teacher helps me into some positions and adjusts me, just enough each time to make the posture challenging.
As far as achieving the postures this is very much a work in progress, my Downward Dog looks more like a Wobbly Table, but as with BJJ it is all about getting the techniques right and achieving as much as I can and not about comparing myself to the very bendy other people in the class. It’s my body and my journey just like BJJ.
If you live around Manchester UK, I would definitely recommend Ashtanga Yoga Manchester for both men and women. The teacher is very helpful and they even run beginner courses and separate classes, if you are totally new to yoga. This does help you feel a little less intimidated and help you understand what Ashtanga Yoga is.
There are a number of different types of yoga not just Hatha and Ashtanga that I have mentioned already. Explanations of the main types of yoga you are likely to come across can be found here. My advice is if yoga is something you want to try, would be to research and find a style which will suit you. They do what you did when starting jiu jitsu, find a class you can make locally and see if the teacher works for you.
Be prepared some teachers and their classes may have more of a spiritual content than others. So don’t be put off if you want more or less chanting etc. Just try another teacher first before considering another style.