Yoga is considered to be a philosophy, a science and an art it has been long used as an aid to other disciplines.
This article is written by Lau Gar Guardian Morag Quirk. Morag Incorporates Yoga into her daily martial training and has found it to very beneficial. Those whom have had the opportunity to train with Morag may not realise that some of the exercises she teaches are actually core yoga exercises, all of which are not easy but possible for most to do.
Yoga offers a practical philosophy for uniting body, mind and spirit to promote health and well-being. It has been practised in India for over two millennia.
Although yoga is considered to be a philosophy, a science and an art it has been long used as an aid to other disciplines. As such, it is a valuable supplementary training method for Martial Artists. A fit and supple body can be maintained through the practice of yoga postures (asanas). In addition, yoga, if practised under the guidance of a properly qualified instructor, has the power to calm the mind, increase concentration and facilitate relaxation in times of stress.
For people who practise the Martial Arts the body can become specialised over time and develop particular postural habits, which can adversely effect the development of power and speed. This becomes more evident as we get older. Yoga can help to undo unhelpful habits so that we can focus on developing and refining our martial skills.
My own interest in yoga goes back 30 years. In those days I practised Hatha yoga with direct students of BKS Iyenga who is considered to be the modern champion of yoga.
More recently I have become interested in Ashtanga yoga because I believe that its’ unique dynamic movement/breathing system (vinyasa) compliments and supports kung fu training.
We have used the sun salute for many years as a way of preparing the body for Kung Fu training sessions, inspired by Ashtanga yoga we have begun to look for ways to link traditional preparatory exercises in a more dynamic way. It is apparent that because we practice chi gung less in the West the body may not be ready to adopt the correct posture, yoga can help to develop the necessary flexibility to complete some elements of exercises such as Shanghai Bac durn Gung correctly. If you talk to people you will find that many of our members supplement their kung fu training with yoga some are even qualified yoga instructors themselves (Pete Hornby).
Most areas of the country offer a range of yoga classes theses days and there are lots of books and websites for you to look at. As with Kung Fu, the style is only as good as the teacher and it is a good idea to look around for the class that is right for you. Why not give it a try?
Morag Quirk - Lau Gar Guardian