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Benefits of Yoga for Martial Artists

At The Cellar Gym, we’re always exploring new ways that we can support our students’ martial arts training. Cross-training workouts like weight lifting, rock climbing, and swimming are popular among our team, and yoga is always a favorite for both our grapplers and our strikers.

Recently, we added a brand new recovery-focused class to our schedule every Sunday that offers a refreshing fusion of yoga, meditation, and restorative movement. As a natural complement to martial arts, yoga isn’t just about stretching and relaxing; practicing yoga can directly improve your performance on the mats! Read on to learn more about the incredible benefits of yoga for martial artists.

Yoga improves strength, balance, and coordination

When you think about yoga, are you envisioning something that requires extreme flexibility or the ability to contort yourself into seemingly impossible shapes? Think again! A yoga practice is built from the ground up, with a focus on developing strength and control relative to your own body.

Whether as simple as standing upright with good posture and deep breathing, or more advanced like arm balance poses, the same principles still apply. Practicing yoga with a focus on alignment helps you develop body awareness, better posture, stronger muscles, and more control over your movement. These benefits translate directly to your martial arts practice!

Yoga improves mental clarity

Taking time to focus on your movement and breathing can help you relax your mind and clear mental clutter. Although slowing down your thoughts can be challenging sometimes, approaching this aspect of your practice with intention and non-judgment can provide an opportunity to be present and create space for a mental reset.

Every martial art emphasizes focus and mental clarity as a crucial part of the practice. Whether training on the mats or competing in a ring, the ability to focus and be present in the moment is an essential tool for the martial artist. You can hone in on this skill as part of your yoga practice.

Yoga teaches you how to breathe

Of course we all know how to breathe – but are you leveraging your breath as a tool? Yoga emphasizes breathwork; most importantly, the practice of breath-to-motion. This is a method where inhales and exhales are performed to the rhythm of movements or transitions between poses. Breathwork deepens the practice by bringing higher awareness to movement and creating a meditative quality within the motion.

Martial artists, especially strikers, will recognize the breath-to-motion concept; the technique of creating explosive exhales in rhythm with strikes being thrown is integral to striking sports like Muay Thai or boxing. While yoga is obviously performed at a much slower pace, the concept is still very similar.

Yoga can help prevent injuries

Regularly practicing yoga will aid your body in recovering from harder workouts. Improving your recovery will increase your speed, strength, and coordination, making your time in the training room far more productive. In addition, yoga will also improve your muscular flexibility, your range of motion, and the resilience of your joints, making you far less prone to the type of injuries that commonly occur in martial arts.


Interested in giving yoga a try? Check out Fighter Flow at The Cellar Gym, every Sunday at 9:30am!

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