In the last article I discussed how dynamic the combination of martial arts and yoga can be. Now I will familiarise you with techniques of a few exercises.
Whenever you do Martial Arts-Yoga exercises, start with your feet together. Then breathe slowly and deeply, with a heightened sense of awareness of your surroundings. At the same time remain centred and calm. Also, maintain an aligned posture throughout. Check yourself or have a friend tell you if you are titling to one side or another. Your head should be straight and directly over your shoulders. Your shoulders should be relaxed and not curled inward in a defensive posture. Your back should be erect and not hunched over. Bend your knees slightly.
To do the Spear Hand technique, stand firmly with your feet apart at shoulder width. Pause for a second to feel the connection. Then, bring your hands to your heart with your fingers pointing upward. Your fingers should be straight, pointing directly overhead. There is enough tension in the hands so you can use them to defend yourself, but not so tense that they become rigid.
Now, with intention, inhale and rotate your palms so you are pointing your hands forward. Move your hands to the full extent of your reach. Watch to see if your elbows remain slightly bent when you are fully extended. Also, check if you are stretched so far forward that it is hard to maintain your balance. You must try to maintain your balance throughout, while extending the full length of your resources. Return your hands to your heart.
You can use Spear Hand technique as a block as well. From the heart, move your hands to the left, as if your arm were an arrow moving directly to a target to the left of your body. Now, return your hands to your heart. Move your hands to the right, as if you were blocking something coming from the right side.
You can practice moving straight ahead from the heart 10 times. Practice the Spear Hand block 10 times to the left and 10 times to the right.
You must maintain your balance through your kicks, and this means maintaining your composure and alignment throughout the movement. Start with your feet together, and move them with intention so they are shoulder width apart. Inhale, pause and focus on your imaginary target for a few seconds. Shift your weight to your right leg. Lift your left leg, bending at the knee. Now thrust your leg forward from the knee hitting your target. Then, clip your extended leg back quickly. If you are in an actual fight and leave your leg dangling, your opponent can grab it so you have to train to clip your leg back quickly.
Repeat the process by putting your weight on the left leg and kicking with your right leg.
Kick 10 times with each leg.
A variation of this kick is the Side Kick. Bring your knee up and thrust your leg out to the side to hit the imaginary target. Switch legs. You can do the same thing by kicking to the back. You bend your knee and thrust your leg to the back.
With all the kicking exercises, you need to train yourself to look at the target – even when it is at the back.
Begin by standing in front of each other, arms length apart. Bow slightly. This is not a deep devotion bow with your eyes closed. Instead, bow your head slightly in a show of respect and keep your eyes open, looking at your opponent/partner.
Now the person who will move first puts their clenched fists on top of either hip, ready to move. Again, breathe and bring awareness to your movements. Extend your left arm, moving it from your left hip over your head as if you were defending yourself from the left side. Bring your arm back and return your clenched fist to your left hip. Now, repeat the process bringing the right arm up to defend the right side of your head.
You can also bring your arm down to the left and down to the right as if defending from below. Do this 10 times for the left and 10 times for the right.
When side one finishes, their partner can repeat the process.
As partners become more advanced practicing these techniques, they can mirror each other’s movements. So, when side one strikes, side two defends. The strikes are gentle and the force is calibrated so it is comfortable for the person who is side two. This is not about hurting each other.
At every level, partners bow to each before switching sides and at the end of the exercise.
Finish All Sequences with Elegance
All of these moves are practiced with the intention to develop elegance and awareness of what is going on around you, and inside as well. Even if you are tired, maintain your physical alignment, emotional centeredness and mental composure. Finish all of these exercises by breathing on the navel for a few minutes to store the energy.
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