It’s well known that any intense workout requires proper stretching at the end (this is why yoga for Muay Thai can be of significant benefit). Despite that, many people skip it, exposing themselves to higher risks of injury and fatigue. Muay Thai is no exception. In fact, if you don’t properly stretch after a Muay Thai training, you don’t compromise only your health but also your performance in the next session.
Stretching is crucial for avoiding injuries. That’s why stretching shouldn’t be considered a separate part of training but an extension of it. In addition, stretching helps you recover faster, which means you’ll feel stronger during your next session.
And did you know that the right stretching exercises, like yoga for Muay Thai, will help you kick higher? Everyone loves high kicks, so keep reading to find out the best stretches in yoga for Muay Thai that will have you achieving some killer high kicks.
Benefits of yoga for Muay Thai
Before sharing some of the best stretches in yoga for Muay Thai, let’s discuss why it’s is the best complimentary activity and why you should consider a yoga for Muay Thai retreat.
1. Yoga will increase your flexibility
Muay Thai is a very demanding discipline. In order to execute a technique correctly, especially at the beginning, you will need to think about multiple factors.
“Where do I keep my hands?”, “Was my foot supposed to be flat or on my toes?” “Is my chin down enough?”… These are only some of the thoughts that will bombard your mind while trying to kick or punch.
This is already stressful enough, right? So if we add the burden of a body that can’t perform certain movements due to a lack of flexibility, we could easily decide to give up and try something else.
That’s where yoga for Muay Thai comes into play. Yoga allows your body to gradually increase flexibility and mobility. As a result, you’ll have more range of motion, especially in those areas where we usually have lots of tension, such as the hips, lower back, and shoulders. If these vital body parts stay stiff and tense, it becomes an obstacle to our Muay Thai performance.
By practicing yoga for Muay Thai, your body will become more flexible, your movements will feel more fluid, and you will become a better Muay Thai athlete!
2. Yoga will improve your cardio
This one sounds a bit weird, I know. If you already do Muay Thai, you will likely think, “how can yoga increase my cardio?”. This was also my first reaction, but soon I changed my perspective. Here’s why.
It’s not so much about the intensity of the yoga workout (although some styles of yoga can be as challenging as Muay Thai!) It is more about the connection to your breath that you build through practicing yoga.
In yoga, we connect each movement with each breath, inhaling and exhaling. This allows you to stay present and in the body rather than the mind. Linking movements with the breath also stops you from getting fatigued.
This simple yet effective technique, continuously repeated, will help you connect each Muay Thai movement with a breath, resulting in more endurance and less fatigue. In addition, by taking control over your breath, you’ll increase your lung capacity, which is essential to performing at your best while training Muay Thai.
3. Yoga for Muay Thai will help you master your balance and develop laser focus
If you’ve ever trained Muay Thai, you’ll know that the sport requires extreme balancing skills. Not just for spinning kicks, jumping knees, and spectacular elbows. But even a simple front kick requires proper balance to be strong and effective.
Yoga contains many balancing poses, both for the lower and upper body. Performing these postures is not easy and requires plenty of focus.
Repetition is the mother of all skills. With time, while performing these poses, you may feel like a Shaolin monk. And once you return to the gym, your balance will be way better than anyone who hasn’t been on a yoga Muay Thai retreat.
Top 3 yoga for Muay Thai poses
As someone who practices both yoga and Muay Thai, here are the 3 most beneficial yoga postures for up-levelling your Muay Thai game.
2. Pigeon pose
The pigeon pose is one of the best yoga for Muay Thai poses. This hip opener will help you release all the tension that builds up in the outer hips due to repetitive kicking. Plus, by opening up your hips, you can kick faster, higher and stronger!
To practice pigeon pose:
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Bring your right knee towards your right wrist.
- Slide your left leg back, relaxing the toes
- Turn your right toes towards your left hip as much as feels comfortable.
- Shift your hips to sink lower and find stability.
- Stay upright or lower your upper body, resting your forearms on the floor.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
2. Reclined hamstring stretch
To perform killer high kicks, you need open and flexible hips and hamstrings. The reclined hamstring stretch is fundamental for this.
- Lay on your back.
- Hug your right knee to your chest
- Place your yoga strap (or your Muay Thai wraps) around the sole of your foot and extend the leg to the sky.
- Straighten the leg as much as possible as you gently pull the leg closer to you using the strap.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
3. Tree Pose
This balance pose and its variations will help you develop better stability and balance in your Muay Thai training. When performing the Tree pose, focus on a stable point in front of you (in yoga, we call this Drishti). This will help you find more balance and develop monk-like discipline.
To do Tree pose:
- From standing, shift your weight into your left foot.
- Lift your right heel and turn the knee to the side, opening the hip.
- Place the heel against the left ankle or slide the foot up to the calf.
- Place your hands in a prayer position at the heart center, or for an extra challenge, reach them overhead.
Those are only 3 of the many yoga poses for Muay Thai; there are many more that can help you become a better Muay Thai athlete. So, if you want to bring your Muay Thai skills to the next level, why not add yoga to your training routine?
Here at Sumalee Phuket, we offer daily yoga classes designed to improve your Muay Thai performance. In addition, we include yoga classes in our Phuket yoga Muay Thai retreat packages as we strongly believe in the benefits that combining these two arts brings.
If you have any questions about Thailand or if you need more information please contact us on email@example.com. For updates on and information from Sumalee Boxing Gym please either subscribe to our mailing list via the home page of the website.