By Jenny Park
Kickboxing and yoga seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum at first glance. One is all about beating an opponent into submission, the other emphasizes that ultimately there are no opponents at all. One is aggression in the purest form possible, the other is bliss and peacefulness. How could two disciplines work together in harmony when they appear to be so at odds with each other? Like the yin and yang, they actually serve to complete each other by bringing about balance.
Kickboxing is a hybrid between boxing and traditional Eastern martial arts. The physical punches, jabs and footwork were divided from the spiritual aspects of the martial arts to create a purely physical style of fighting. Kickboxing provides a powerful cardio workout which makes it an effective way to get the body into shape and this has fueled its enduring popularity among those seeking high levels of physical fitness.
Yoga for kickboxers makes a lot of sense, because kickboxing is quite lacking in restorative movements which would compensate for the explosiveness of the practice. Traditional martial arts incorporate restorative practices that serve to rejuvenate participants in order to stave off fatigue, injury and muscle strain but this has been removed from modern kickboxing techniques. At best, most kickboxers will finish off their explosive training sessions with a few cool down stretches at the end of their workout, but this is insufficient. Yoga makes a great addition to an existing kickboxing regimen to fill in this gap.
Adding yoga to the exercise routine will give kickboxers increased levels of flexibility and will also serve to boost their range of motion. Both of these give a kickboxer the competitive edge over their opponents who likely train in the same old ways, resulting in a less robust range of motion on their part. Because kickboxing is a contact sport, it requires a heightened level of focus in order to stay one step ahead of the opponent. Yoga teaches inner stillness and laser focus by constantly drawing the attention into the present moment and this is extremely important for anyone playing a contact sport. Having a hyper-awareness of the environment and the opponent is essential for success in a sport which requires lightning fast reflexes.
Yoga also works muscle groups that would remain dormant and undeveloped with only kickboxing being used for physical conditioning. This increases the overall strength and endurance of the kickboxer as a whole which is yet another advantage to using yoga to diversify the fitness regimen.
Yoga need not take up too much time in the kickboxer’s schedule; short 20 minute sessions every other day is sufficient enough for individuals to reap all the benefits yoga has to offer when used in tandem with a traditional kickboxing training routine.
Adding yoga to the fitness regimen of a kickboxer is a great way to give them the competitive edge over their opponents and serves to prevent burnout and injury. It’s a great combination.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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