On the surface, yoga and wrestling may seem to be opposites. When viewed through a negative lens, wrestling seems to pit two individuals against each other to fight. However, in reality, wresting symbolizes one of the oldest forms of combat.
As early as 15,000 years ago, wrestling was drawn along the walls of caves in France. Today, athletes strive for various championship belts as well as the opportunity to compete at the Olympics.
Wrestling is a sport that involves strength, balance, flexibility, speed, positioning, footwork, mental focus and toughness, concentration, and endurance. It teaches confidence, discipline, humility, and respect. This is why wrestling is and can be a good complement to yoga.
Wrestling requires immense physical and cardiovascular strength and stamina. Yoga eases pain and reduces injury especially for wrestlers who often suffer from shoulder and knee injuries. Yoga for wrestlers builds lean muscles which helps build more strength with less weight.
Increasing shoulder flexibility as well as lower back, hamstrings, chest, and the cervical spine help reduce suffering and injury for wrestlers. Physically, yoga also improves strength, balance, and flexibility.
Wrestling is all about focusing on the moment and anticipating the next. Yoga impacts a wrestler’s ability to focus on the present moment. In addition, yoga increases the ability to focus and concentrate.
Wrestling on its own cultivates and promotes humility, holding the head high at the end of wins and losses. Yoga increases the wrestler’s ability to stay humble and encourages "work ethic" by stressing the importance of practice and progress, not perfection.
Yoga Poses for Wrestlers
Eight-Point Shoulder Opener – intense shoulders, chest, neck, arms, and back stretch
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) – stretches thighs and groin muscles
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) - strengthens the spine as well as stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) – stretches the ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, armpits, triceps, and chest
Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana) – lengthens and strengthens tight hamstrings and calves
Eagle Pose (Garudasana) – improves strength, flexibility, and endurance as well as increase concentration
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – stretches the hands, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches of the foot
Figure Four (Eka Pada Utkatasana) – stretches the muscles and joints around the hips, spine and knees
Know any other yoga tips or benefits for wrestlers, please share below!