If you are finding your yoga practice a little stale, or you feel your progression has stalled – you may benefit from changing things up a bit. Interestingly, you may benefit from taking inspiration from the martial arts.
On the surface, martial arts and yoga may seem completely different, but the two practices actually have a lot in common. Both cultivate body awareness, flexibility, strength and breath control. Try applying these martial art techniques to your practice.
Be like water
Bruce Lee famously said this statement, but he was really echoing the teachings of Tao Te Ching and Lao-Tzu which says:
“Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.”
In martial arts, this relates to using the opponent’s energy against them. In yoga you can use this principle to soften into poses and to stop fighting your own body. Add some fluid movements into your poses for a freer practice.
Move out of your comfort zone
Martial artists are forever moving past their comfort zone. Apply this to your yoga practice by trying new styles, new poses and even new teachers. This variety will challenge you and may even give you the confidence to do a pose that used to scare you.
Focus on transitions
Those who practise martial arts make every movement count, as they could be the difference between winning and losing a fight. In yoga, try not to get too focused on the poses themselves, instead give every movement consideration. This means focusing on the transitions too.
The Tao Te Ching teachings say: “Less and less do you need to force things, until you finally arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” Bringing this sense of ‘non-action’ to your yoga practice can be incredibly effective. Give yourself five minutes at the end of your practice to meditate. Simply count your breaths and focus on the present moment. If your mind wanders, notice this and gently bring it back to the breath.