Martial Arts and Yoga---Can the Two Co-Exist?

 In the world's of yoga, and martial arts can it be said that these two very opposing forces can ever collide?
An astounding number of studios and dojos are incorporating both aspects of yoga and martial arts and encouraging those who practice both fields to broaden their horizons and experience something new and different, and in turn helping to develop their skills in terms of their choice of practice. There are many differences between yoga and martial arts, but there are also several important likenesses, and these striking similarities can in turn play important roles within each other, creating a very beautiful thing...

Originating centuries ago, in 527 A.D., a Buddhist monk from India named Bodhidharma, traveled to China and met with the Emperor, Wu Di, who did not particularly agree with his viewpoints, and thus sent him away. He was led to the Henan Province, where he found monks who were being repeatedly attacked by raiders and bandits and they had no training in which to defend themselves, they we simply to exhausted to continue on their spiritual journey. Upon arriving at Shaolin temple, Bodhidharma meditated for nine straight years in a cave in attempts to reflect upon and attempt to find a solution to the problem. When he had finished with his meditation, he went on to write two manuscripts, “Yi Jin Jing” (about the development of physical strength) and “Xi Sui Jing” (the importance of breathing and meditation). Thus in turn changing the worlds of martial arts and yoga, in intertwining them. It is also said that Bodhidharma, was a member of Warrior Class in his native country, meaning that he was highly trained in a martial art.

Both martial arts and yoga are strongly rooted in the same philosophy of meditation, in fact martial arts is often referred to as “moving meditation”, where the times of stillness lead to relaxation within in the body. Interestingly, many yoga poses are very similar to martial arts postures, a good example being, Warrior I pose in yoga and “Climb the Mountain Posture” in martial arts. Both aspects of training also incorporate flexibility, breathing control, motor skills, awareness and concentration, while focusing heavily on the center of self, and on “chi” being the source of all human energy in one's lower abdominal area.

If you are a martial artist take note in your next class or training the stretches that you do for your warm-up, typically sensei's incorporate a tremendous amount of yoga poses for loosen up your body and prepare you for movement. The same can be said for yoga, although incorporated in a different way there are several yoga poses that also double as martial art posture and technique. Let's take a look into the ways that yoga practice can help martial artists, and also how martial arts can help yogi's.

For starters, yoga is incredible beneficial to martial artists because it can help increase flexibility, stamina, strength, and stability. It also allows for martial artists to master the art of breathing control, which is an important technique that is used in martial arts. Yogic Breathing helps to purify the bloodstream and also expand your lung capacity, both excellent advantages for a martial artist. Yoga also allows the martial artist to find a sense of calm and involve meditation, as martial arts are not only physical arts, but they are mental as well.

Now, how can those who practice yoga get any benefits from practicing martial arts? In the exact same way, as yoga is beneficial to martial artists. You are reaping the exact same rewards. And also gaining a new skill... That of self-defense. Through martial arts you learn self-control, strength, work on your breathing, meditation, balance, stamina and stability as well, while also training your body, mind and spirit the techniques in which you can protect yourself from both physical and mental harm.


The combining and incorporation of these two worlds is a fierce and defining one, and the rewards in experiencing, practicing and mastering either of these incredible and unique arts, whether individually or hand in hand, are tremendous. I highly recommend combining the two and discovering an alternate path on your journey to enlightenment, as well increasing your spiritual, mental and physical health and well-being.

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