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Yoga for MMA & Athletic Performance

DRAGON TAO BLOGS are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices such as Chinese Qigong, Thai Fon Jeung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga, and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.

The original history of yoga and its origins can be traced back over 10,000 thousand years, but its creation specifics are both vague and mysterious. Essentially Yoga has countless systems and sub-systems focusing on principles that align the mind, body, and soul. The integration of asanas (poses/postures), breathing techniques, meditation pathways, and other unique variations will help the practitioner attain a higher quality of life and maintain healthy organs, muscles, connective tissues, and mental facilities. "Yoga is an ancient practice that has historically centered in India. It was a technique that was passed own from generation to generation through master-disciple relationships." (Smith 1) Dialogue and personal experience were the main forms of transferring knowledge from teacher to student before the yoga Bible, Yoga Sutras were written in 200 B.C. by a man named Pantanjali. "The Yoga Sutras attributed to the Sage Pantanjali are used as a source scripture by many traditional Yoga Systems. The principles and practices of Raja Yoga (Kringly Yoga) and Ashtanga Yoga (Yoga with Eight Limbs of Practice) are found within the four books of the Yoga Sutras." (Dass 1)

To this day these main forms of yoga and the teachings behind them are permanently intertwined within time but the depth and exponential growth will perhaps never be fully grasped. Pantanjali revolutionized the world of Yoga with the first written text, yet "yoga was not a new subject even at the time of Pantanjali. In fact, methods of yoga (union with truth, God and Self) had been developed and practiced for thousands of years by rishis (seers) and munis (teachers) of ancient India, prior to being written down by Pantanjali." (Dass 2)

Yoga and its relationship with sports and athletics cannot be more emphasized and appreciated than it has been in the last decade in Western thought. As a former nationally ranked Division 1A college wrestler, I knew first hand the importance of stretching, but never really grasped the design of breathing and mental focus associated with Yoga until recently. I am confident when I say that increased flexibility and limberness will potentially reduce sports-related injuries along with reducing the time it takes to come back from injuries. More importantly, I believe that having direct knowledge of one's personal limitations concerning flexibility will alleviate possible overstretching complications within athletics and the training involved.

Yoga Poses that would compliment any athletic training protocol I would identify as the Sun Salutation Series, forward bends, backbends, and spinal twists. Baseball players and any sport-oriented with throwing movements can benefit from normal or modified Downward Facing Dog poses that can stretch and strengthen the rotator cuff region along with the Achilles and posterior leg muscles. Wrestlers, Hockey and Football players can benefit greatly from the Warrior series, Dancers poses and Extended Angle poses due to the increases tension, strength and flexibility associated with the Powerhouse muscle groups like the glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings not to mention the sartorious and adductor muscles.

Blessings and Respect.

Thank You for Time to Read the Dragon Tao Blogs.

- Brian Seraiah Wood 

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