Yoga is conscious movement of breath. My personal practice is 99% vinyasa, which focuses on linking movement through breath. Many people don’t focus on the breathing aspect of their practice. Instead, more emphasis is given on holding a pose, getting deeper into a pose, or trying out a new modification. Don’t skimp when it comes to your breath. It can help slow you down, improve your concentration, and help you excel in other aspects of your life, too.
Years ago, before I regularly practiced yoga, I dabbled in amateur boxing. I didn’t get back into it until recently. Fortunately, my muscle memory foundation was still there. However, when it came to being at the speed bag for long stretches of time, working the heavy bag, mitt work and sparring, my body naturally went to my yoga breathing to help improve my performance.
No matter what other sport, exercise, or daily hurdles you deal with, your breath is at the center of it. When you’re conscious of your breath, you can further control your mind and body.
I’ve had many people tell me that being a yoga teacher and fighter is a strange combination. I don’t think that’s true. I love both equally. They’re also very complementary to each other. My yoga practice has brought a steadiness to my fighting. Or, in the words of Rocky Balboa,
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently. If you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”