Yoga & CrossFit – the new buzz word

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Photographer: Sweat RX
yoga & crossfit

 CrossFitters always ask why they should take a yoga class. They feel the extent of their flexibility work should be a few key stretches before and after a workout. The truth is that yoga complements CrossFit for lots of other reasons, too.

 

Yoga provides athletes with flexibility, strength, faster recovery, improved mental strength, and an overall better performance. More and more CrossFit boxes are providing free yoga classes for members. By pairing CrossFit and yoga, athletes can improve their:

    • Flexibility
    • Breathing
    • Balance

Body awareness

  • Agility
  • Alignment
  • Injury prevention

Yoga and CrossFit have different mental requirements. Possibly due to their varying demands, this coupling creates a more balanced athlete. CrossFitting yogis are able to be competitive yet peaceful, aggressive yet calm, and mindful not only of the strength of their technique, but also the balance and movements of their body.

 

Variety

Part of the CrossFit philosophy is the variety of challenging movements. While yoga usually doesn’t incorporate the high-intensity element of the CrossFit workouts, it does employ our bodies in different ways. Today you may be working on the quick movement in the snatch. Tomorrow in yoga, you’ve got a shoulder workout using the side plank for stability followed by some intense postures to improve flexibility. These will allow you to properly perform the snatch without injury.

Yoga will complement your CrossFit workouts and help you to execute all phases of a lift or movement with greater ease and mobility.

 

Balance

Balancing poses in yoga apply to more than just the physical aspects of coordination and dexterity. Although those aspects of balance are essential for our health and they allow us to do functional training both in and out of the gym, equally important is our ability to balance workout days with active rest. Balance is finding a meeting point between stretching and strengthening our muscles. It is the ability to calm our mind.

 

Awareness

In CrossFit workouts, we pay close attention to our form, but because of the quickness motions and pace of the workout, we may not be aware of how our body feels during the movement. In CrossFit Yoga you focus not only on how the body moves, but how it feels as it moves. For example, if you feel a little ache in your right shoulder during a push press, the yoga could focus on the same movement, done more slowly and with awareness. You may notice exactly when your shoulder tweaks, which would allow you to adjust so that you could perform the movement without the aches and pains. Or maybe it’s due to a lack of flexibility. As you become more aware of your body, it will be easier to find ways to help your body function better at all times.

Yoga is a great complement to your CrossFit workout. It can bring your workouts to the next level, while at the same time reducing stress and calming your mind.

Just because you’ve started CrossFit doesn’t mean you should stop everything else. Yoga is a great pairing with CrossFit! While one is very quiet, peaceful, and reflective, the other is loud, aggressive, and competitive: these opposites may be just what you need to keep your mind and body in balance.

When to do yoga:

It is best to do yoga workouts either after a workout or on rest days. A popular schedule for CrossFitters is three days on, one day off. You can use that day of “rest” for yoga. Your muscles can become extremely tight doing CrossFit, and yoga will help counter that. Not only will you loosen you up after a workout, you’ll quicken your recovery and reduce soreness the next day. However, a yoga workout before CrossFit is not advised. Muscles are more relaxed from the intense stretching, so you won’t be able to lift as much or maximize your performance for about an hour or so following a yoga session.

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