Think of yoga. Now think of martial arts. How different are the images in your mind? While you may at first see contrasting images - peace vs. combat - yoga and martial arts are actually deeply similar. Both yoga and martial arts are methods of self-healing by way of reducing stress, enhancing awareness, awakening energy, and learning not to think.
According to Yoga Journal, "In sixth-century China, because Zen Buddhist monks who meditated for long hours were developing spiritually but weakening physically, Prince Bodhidharma introduced monks at the Shaolin Temple to what later became known as kung fu—a martial art based on Indian yoga. The monks were not only priests but warriors too, and practiced this first martial art on a daily basis."
It's not surprising why more yoga classes are incorporating the principles and mechanics of martial arts into the vinyasa flow. Liz Arch's Primal Yoga, for example, "merges Vinyasa yoga with the artistry of Kung Fu and the grace of Tai Chi." We love how Arch creates a harmonious dance between balance and strength in our physical and emotional bodies by way of the two modalities.
Knowing the foundation of this beautiful blend of practices helps us strive to be stronger yogis and more peaceful warriors on and off the yoga mat.
Image via @lizarch
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