Hi Sebastian. Please give our readers a quick introduction of who you are!
Hi GrapplersParadise! My fiancee Stine and I practice and teach Yoga fulltime, we also play BJJ and compete in the big tournaments. The things that take up most of our attention and dedication is how we choose to live our life, for example learning about how nutrition and consumtion affects us and the environment, and how we can make a small but yet significant impact in the world with the choices we make every day. We have taken a vow to not waste a singe day and make this short life one to be proud.
What role has yoga had in your life?
When I met Stine who is a yogainstructor, my life and my BJJ changed alot. My body has become much more agile and strong, and I spend much less energy and effort to accomplish what I want in sparring.
When did you start training Jiu-Jitsu, and what role does it play for you today?
I transitioned from Judo in 2007 and it has really humbled me and made me mature. There is so much to learn from BJJ, and I feel that every time I step on the mat there is great lessons there waiting for me if I pay attention. I dont train every day anymore, but it feels good every time I wear the gi. Einstein said that „Play is the highest form of research“, so I play with the techniques we learn at the academy and I smile (almost) every time I get tapped
Why should a grappler incorporate Yoga into his or her training regiment and which are the greatest benefits ?
This is my top 9 benefits for grapplers: Lesser injuries. Better breathing [huge!] Better use of energy, so you can sparr more. Moving smoother and quicker. Increased flexibility, of course. More powerful submissions and being able to hold them much longer. Improved balance,base and control from top. Your core will get much stronger, and this will help all aspects of your game. The number one thing for me is the mental calmness (Keeping Cool) you get from yoga, which is paramount and crucial in a big tournament.
The more i practice Yoga and BJJ, the more similar they become. The underlying principles for improving in both genres are the exact same, so they improve and boost each other. If you are into BJJ for the long run, then Yoga is your greatest tool to stay healthy and nimble, no matter how old you get.
How often and how long should a grappler train yoga?
The simple and most honest answer is: The more the better. When you practice yoga with the right mindset, it is not possible to overtrain. Starting your day with a easy flow, and finishing the day with some relaxing stretching will 100% guaranteed transform you, as a grappler and a person.
(and when you start finding your favorite exercises and start warming up before class with yoga, great things will happen in sparring
What are the three best yoga excercises every grappler should know and practise?
1. Sunsalutations 2. Hipopeners 3. Backbends Sunsalutations because it is the best and most ancient sequence to wake up, strenghten and open your whole body, plus you can do endless of variations when you get used to them. Hipopeners because the better you can move your hips, the better your game. Stretching and strenghtening your hips will keep you away from kneeinjuries and backpain, and you will move smoother with less effort. Backbends are great for grapplers because we never bend backwards in BJJ, but contract and compress the front of our body so much, which gives us bad posture and short shallow breathing.
In our last issue we asked several fighters how they deal with injuries. They either work around, or try to go with light intensity. What are your thoughts on this and how do you adjust training once you, or someone you train, gets injured?
Acute injuries should be treated with great respect. However, few people are injured in their whole body at once, so there is usually something you can do to strenghten or lengthen other parts of your body during injury. When you get a serious injury, it is not a bad idea to watch BJJ-instructionals and competition-videos or even read a book about mental training or BJJ-philosophy, and stick to a regular but light yogapractice for a few weeks or a couple of months. This approach will get you back on the mat sooner and smarter than the well known „I-guess-its-ok,-kinda,-so-im-just-going-light-today….OOW!!!“
Can you tell us more about your Yoga Project and where our readers can get in touch with you?
Since we launched our site we have got tons of positive feedback on our Yogavideos for BJJ! Tony Riley from UK sent me this a couple of days ago: „After only 2 weeks I could feel my movement, balance & flexibility greatly improve.“
Many guys appreciate that for less than 4$/week you get specific yoga-classes for Jiu-Jitsu, and people send me requests on specific topics that I post every week. Check out short clips from all the videos on yogaforbjj.net and click videos. Signup with PayPal when you want to join the revolution.
Thanks for your time, is there anything that we should have asked you but missed?
Thanks for the interview, and thanks for spreading the popularity of BJJ in germany. I know that when you guys really get started we will have BIG problems in tournaments! :-S Cheers guys!