Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Yoga DVDs I Use to Balance Out My Martial Arts Training

As discussed in a previous post, Yoga and the Martial Arts, yoga is a great tool for enhancing one's martial arts training. But people often ask me how I find the motivation to wake up at 6:25 to do 20 minutes of meditation followed by 20 minutes of yoga. The secret is consistency... and having a few yoga DVDs to follow so you don't have to think.

The meditation part is easy. It's really only one step up from sleeping, though you don't want to fall asleep during your meditation. It kinda defeats the purpose.

As for the yoga, sometimes I'll pick out specific moves from The Martial Artist's Book of Yoga that work muscle groups I need to stretch out. But more often than not I'm not quite awake enough to think so much so I'll rely on DVD workouts. Sara Ivanhoe's 5-workout set Yoga Makeover: Gift Boxed Set is great because each of the 5 workouts are exactly 20 minutes long, making them easy to fit into my morning routine. Plus each workout has a different purpose or works a different muscle set. Rodney Yee's Abs Yoga for Beginners - DVD is also a good 20 minute workout. It gives a solid ab workout, which simultaneously relaxes you.

I also have a few other DVDs with longer workouts that work into my weekend rotation. Baron Baptiste's Core Power-Power Vinyasa Yoga is closer to 30 minutes long and gives a good all-over stretch in addition to a series of lower back and ab strengthening exercises. Sara Ivanhoe's Crunch: Candlelight Yoga (Full Screen) is a great 40-minute workout for beginners and people who just want a relaxing stretch-out to help recover from a heavy training day at the dojo. There is also a 15-minute energizer work-out that I use in the mornings when I accidentally sleep in an extra 5 minutes :P. Hemalaya Behl's Yoga For Urban Living has 3 nice workouts, a 30-minute AM workout, a 1-hour full-body workout, and my favourite, the 25-minute evening bath workout. The evening bath one is very soothing and leaves you feeling like an ice cube melting in hot water. One last one that I sometimes use is Ali MacGraw: Yoga--Mind & Body. This 40-minute workout is actually a little difficult for beginners, but if you're up for a more challenging workout and you can get past the very new-age feel of the production, it's a great all-over stretching and strengthening workout.

If you really want to use yoga to help improve your martial arts training, you should try to do it regularly. You can work in a few stretches while you watch TV or sneak in a quick 20-minute workout every other day. By doing it regularly your body will get used to the movements and you'll be better able to develop your strength and flexibility in the long run.

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