At first glance, yoga and martial arts seem like everything but a match made in heaven. In fact, they appear to be opposing forces, one slow and endearing, and the other merciless and crude. Beneath this seemingly stormy relationship, a deeper truth lies buried. Namely, once you make an effort to grasp the bigger picture, you become aware that there are many ways in which these practices can actually complement each other. Yoga and martial arts surely are not birds of a feather, but they can certainly flock together towards a new, exciting fitness frontier.
It's almost a new year and many of you are going to be thinking about joining a gym or taking up some sort of fitness regimen. There are many different opinions and schools of thought about fitness and wellness, so depending on where you go, you will find a different approach to fitness. I realize that different things motivate different people, so one approach may not work for all. Check out the philosophy behind Philosophy-Fit and think about whether this might be a solution for you if you hate going to the gym or don't want someone pushing you to the point of injury.
In 1980 there was an article published in Yoga Journal by Joel Kramer. He talked about the balance between control and surrender and about how in yoga you have pushers and surrenders and that the pushers need to learn to surrender and this surrenderers need to learn to push.
One of the most common fitness class misconceptions that I encounter is the notion that you have to be at a certain level of fitness or have some sort of expert knowledge or experience to join the class. This is so false! Fitness classes are designed to help you get fit, or maintain your level of physical fitness. There is no requirement that you need to possess a certain amount of skill to join a class, or that you have to ‘be good enough’ to take the class.
Sensei Dan used to talk about what the kids in his dojo learned: not just high kicks, and blocks, and so on, but also self control, the ability to stand up to bullies, and self respect. With any physical discipline there are physical end points, but also benefits of understanding, character, and behaviour. The practice I know best is yoga. Not simply a physical practice, it is unsurprising how much one gets from a long term yoga practice. Lately I have seen a lot of articles on 'the benefits of yoga'.
I tell people all the time that fitness is not a destination....it's a way of life....it's all about the journey....blah...blah...blah! Well, just so you know that ALL of us are in this together, I have a short (and hopefully, "enlightening") story to share:
In the Summer, I spend more time outside. Colorado is sunny and beautiful all year. I like to bike to the pool and take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, which is just a few blocks from my house. I can't resist the diving board or the slide! My legs, arms and core get a super duper workout. Yoga in the park is one of my favorite things to do. It's a free event 2 times a month with about 700 plus people. The instructors are great and I get to do a different yoga style each time. Its an exhilarating experience. The DJ's and music get me energized!