Today we’re examining some BJJ yoga stretches to cool down and relax after training. This series will target our hips and legs to help open these areas from being tight. It will also use the art of stretching and breath to induce a relaxation response in the body.
I love plugging these in after training for the downregulation benefits as I tend to run “hot” — very Type-A and anxious by nature. Most people are plugging their BJJ training into a hectic workday, so this will help bridge the gap to keeping a calm demeanor.
This is essential after BJJ training because, for most people, it kicks the body into a sympathetic or stressed state. This yoga series will allow you to practice breathing and bringing awareness to these areas of your body so you can relax.
BJJ Yoga Focus
To deepen the stretch we must have a more relaxed long breath. By cueing this, we are relaxing our nervous system and body so it can recover at a quicker rate. You can then carry this state of consciousness from BJJ hip stretches into your rolling and life so you can stay relaxed and present in the moment.
I too often see my training partners get done training and immediately go to the dressing room, leaving the gym for their car within five to ten minutes. They are missing a great window to do some positive work on their body after the heavy training. Even just five minutes of this type of work will go a long way! These five minutes will allow the release of the breath, and along with that, relaxation of the nervous system and ultimately the body and mind.
- Long, slow breaths like I mentioned before
- Aim to have a 5-second exhale with slight pause at the bottom
- Lower belly breathing
- Aim for at least 6 breaths at this cadence for each stretch
Straight leg hamstring
- Sitting upright
- Clasp hands together
- Really engage hands and grip around foot
- Straighten leg by engaging quadriceps and engaging shin muscles to bring toes closer to shin
- Lift chest and chin
Straight leg hamstring pinky toe side twist
- Move hand closest to big toe
- Reach across to pinky toe side
- Bring other hand behind
- Twist and move ankle back and forth
Rock the baby
- Hug leg in as if you’re rocking a baby
- Should feel this in hip and glute
- Fall forward in a hinging motion turning off all musculature
- Keep leg collapsed in front and straighten other leg behind
- Let your torso hinge forward toward your foot to create space in your hip
- This continues cueing our body to keep the neural programming to have active glutes and extended body position. This is an instrumental position and engagement pattern for general vitality and especially for BJJ performance.
- Spread legs in a V
- Stay lifted from the waist
- Hinge forward at the hips
- Squeezing quadriceps and glutes to straighten legs
- Bringing toes towards shin w/ strong active grip
- Breathe in and extend up
- On your exhale, hinge forward again and use hands to push legs apart
Lat Stretch Straddle
- Reach opposite arm to opposite leg to stretch lat
- Be sure to reach up and then out to foot while staying lifted out of waist
- Keeping straddle position twist and attempt to bring opposite forearm outside the opposing leg
- Grip feet sitting tall out of waist
- Bounce knees up and down
- Hinge forward at hips and bring head towards feet
Final BJJ Yoga Advice
Take the time to care for yourself after you train. You will rest better afterward by turning your nervous system down, and you will feel better physically for your next day of training. Sleep will be enhanced, and you will feel calmer. What more can you ask from a downregulation practice?