After a few years of martial arts a Thai Boxing instructor enthusiastically recommended yoga. A few weeks later I had mostly dropped the martial arts in favour of yoga. While the problematic focus on violence may have partially justified it; in the long run that it was a sustainable, life-enhancing practice kept it going. While I rarely do yoga classes (and haven’t done a martial arts class for years) I do maintain a regular (sometimes daily) pratice which is a simple mostly-yoga flow.
Creating Your Own Flow
- Choose what to focus on: I think the most valuable aspects of yoga are the (interrelated) strength and balance. Flexibility (what is typically considered the other major physical benefit has never seemed so important).
- My practice while involving some elements which would be considered advanced (movements and poses requiring balance and a lot of strength) is focused on things I know doesn’t seem to cause any kind of physical issues/soreness. I’ve picked little bits of martial arts conditioning to include too (which can be good for challenging but practical balance).
- Learn about the health risks and avoid dangerous poses. A lot of yoga poses put stress on the knees. Some are dangerous for other reasons. Many yoga instructors don’t really understand the dangers. You will probably find some poses don’t work for you or put unacceptable stress on parts of your body. Don’t do these.
- I find having a fairly complex sequence of moves that works first on one side and then the other works well (as it motivates you to finish the whole thing).
- Increase the level of difficulty over time but keep it a sustainable length (I target twenty minutes).
- Classes, DVDs or Apps can be a good way to get started.
While the above describes my own daily practice, drawing mostly on Yoga; this will of course work with other kinds of physical activity.