Yoga Martial Arts

(July 3, 2010)

Is yoga a martial art?


The origin of yoga can be traced back to many thousands of years ago in ancient India. Yoga has since evolved and is a completely different art than it used to be many years ago. The increased understanding of the human body coupled with the attempts by various sages to regularize the practice has led to the development of what we call yoga today. Modern yoga is a tool used for physical and mental exercise. It is designed to help the body reach its physical limits and improve the circulation and therefore overall health of the body.

Martial arts is a traditional method of combat. Martial arts were developed by the various different indigenous people of the world as methods of self defense as well as to attack and conquer new territories. Most martial art practices are based on honor, respect and solidarity with ones people and with ones tradition. Martial arts themselves are often contradictory in that they advocate self restraint and peace of mind while also being used in combat activities.

The link between yoga and martial arts is blurred. Yoga in its current practiced form cannot be termed as a martial art because it does not involve any combat. However, yoga does have a link to martial arts because it focuses on the spiritual peace of the individual and is also associated with the physical fitness of the person. This physical fitness aspect is where yoga and martial arts intersect with each other and have even been blended to create yoga martial arts. There are many martial arts practiced in Asia which have links to yoga. This is probably because of the flourishing trade relationships between India and eastern Asia for centuries. With flourishing trade, it is only natural that social and cultural exchanges take place. This is why some martial arts tend to have similar positions to yoga, especially when referring to the warm up exercises of these martial arts. This is probably because the understanding of the human body and the physical benefits of yoga was shared across borders.

Therefore it can be concluded that yoga and martial arts are intertwined with each other but that yoga is a more spiritual and mental practice than one associated with violence and warfare. However, some typical yoga poses like the hero pose can be associated with warriors and exercises performed by them prior to combat which is where the link between yoga and martial arts can be made.

Submitted by A on July 3, 2010 at 10:40

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