When time is limited, it is tempting to give the warm-up a skip to be able to fit the workout in there. However, we all know how important it is to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping a little faster before getting into any kind of strenuous exercise.
So here is a little routine from a discipline that complements martial arts training wonderfully: yoga. The Surya Namaskar (or 'Sun Salute' in English) provides a quick full body warm-up. It is a set of 12 poses that stretch the major muscles, increase heart rate, and generate heat throughout the body. Three rounds of Surya Namaskar take no longer than five minutes to complete. Each round is one set of the 12 poses done starting with the right leg, and repeated starting with the left leg.
The image below shows the entire routine, explained with the proper breathing instructions.
Details of the many health benefits of Surya Namaskar are available on www.suryanamaskar.com. As far as this article goes, the intention is to introduce the martial artist to a quick and effective warm-up before physical exercise.
A very simple - yet perhaps one of the most effective - cooldown session comprises an ancient yoga asana (posture). The shavasana, known in English as the "corpse pose", is exactly as the name suggests it to be. All it involves is literally just lying down flat on your back and breathing easy. The corpse pose brings to life the old Zen philosophy of "activity in inactivity".
This short session does wonders in regulating recovery and normalizing the system, especially after strenuous physical activity. This is also a great way to unwind after a hard day's work. Remember: important as it is to work the human body, rest and recovery is an equally important contributor towards maintaining good health and optimal fitness.