When it comes to mixed martial arts training, yoga has helped Tiffany Teo in more ways than one.
When mixed martial artists are locked in a battle of stamina and wit, mental fortitude can often be the key to victory inside the cage. That quality, in particular, resonates with One Championship strawweight contender Tiffany “No Chill” Teo.
Respected by her peers for her relentless training and intense preparation, the Singaporean’s moniker is well-earned. However, the 28-year-old is a sea of calm before she enters the cage for her bouts. Every time she prepares for an opponent, the Singaporean visualises the flow of the match and the many ways she can claim victory. “Visualisation is key,” she explains.
“I go through a series of visualisation techniques where I mentally focus on the outcomes of the fight and my game plan.”
That mental exercise has continually paid off, especially at the promotion’s most recent Singapore event, One: Heart Of The Lion, in November 2018.
Although her idols Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Miesha “Cupcake” Tate were seated cageside for her match against eight-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion Michelle Nicolini, Tiffany was unfazed. Instead, the local hero focused on the task at hand and, despite having to fend off many submission attempts, she earned a unanimous decision.
“Once I get into the cage, it is game time for me,” she explains. “I don’t really think about anything else. I focus on my game plan and what my opponent is doing.”
Tiffany’s focus has been impeccable, and that could be credited to her offseason training. Building mental fortitude when she is out of competition has become second nature for “No Chill,” who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Buffalo in New York, USA.
Tiffany, who is an avid practitioner of yoga, does this in a variety of ways, including special breathing techniques. “Ujjayi breathing is a favourite technique that I use to clear my mind and keep myself mentally sharp during the offseason,” she says. Also, teaching yoga has helped her to stay fresh.
“As a yoga instructor, it has helped me tremendously in recovery and injury prevention,” she continues. “Many people don’t stretch enough, which helps to keep your body warm and flexible for when you start heavy training.” Heavy training, of course, is an integral part of Teo’s offseason workout plans, too. Depending on her schedule, she does strength and conditioning up to three times a week.
In addition to that, “No Chill” makes the time to test out different exercises she is unfamiliar with to see how, and if, they can benefit her. “When you prepare for a contest, there is often a very specific game plan to focus on. Without that pressure, I am in a more naturally relaxed state,” she explains.
“I take this opportunity to have fun experimenting and learn new techniques before I get back into regular conditioning. Reviewing mistakes from my losses and studying opponents gives me that mental confidence to know I am the better fighter for my next match.”
With a healthy body and renewed spirit, Singaporean fans can look forward to seeing Tiffany rise up the ranks and crash the One Women’s Strawweight World Title picture this year.
A version of this article first appeared on www.tnp.sg.