CrossFit And Yoga: A Match Made In Workout Heaven
All across the country, CrossFit boxes are adding yoga classes to their repertoires, and for good reason. Yoga and CrossFit may be very different on the surface, but the benefits of the workouts when placed side-by-side are exponential.
Think of yin and yang. All life yearns for a perfect balance, equality and stability in action and purpose. Yoga is the yin to CrossFit’s yang. Against the strong, repetitive movements of a WOD come yoga’s lean, extended poses. Your breathing and heart rate, both elevated during a CrossFit workout, will become controlled and meditative in a yoga recovery session.
Yoga shouldn’t be thought of only in terms of recovery from the “real” workout. While yoga does supply effective stretching and increased flexibility, there is an extreme strength and concentration required that, for those not used to the practice, becomes a sweat session itself.
Yoga takes your joints through their full range of motion, promoting the variety of movements that CrossFit thrives on. It counters the intensity of CrossFit with a slow, steady movement that relies as much on your mind as it does on your body. At the same time, the precision of form stressed in CrossFit is stressed just as much during a yoga session. Yoga will help you find a focus and deliberation of form that you can carry into your WODs.
Recovery through yoga lets the strength training extend beyond the WOD and flow into your recovery session. Yoga activates your core and other muscles for extended periods of stillness and becomes just as much a strength exercise as a nice, controlled pull-up. There are no weights in yoga, just the weight of your body, so you build awareness of your own center and balance. This knowledge will prove important during deadlifts and box jumps, alike.
Yoga instructors have found, after working alongside CrossFit athletes, that the athletes’ breathing practices need much improvement. While slow, lingering breaths are important to grasp during yoga, breathing patterns could assist a WOD greatly. Consider burpees, for example. For the repetitive up and down movement, it’s important to control when you’re exhaling and inhaling. Proper breathing practices can support more efficient workouts, and yoga is the perfect way to practice.
The benefits are endless. Yoga can ease your sore muscles, better your metabolism for increased calorie burn, help you sleep better by improving your nervous system, and supply increased energy for the day and week ahead. It improves flexibility, strength, and endurance while teaching a sense of self-awareness and reflection. It also furthers aspects of community and connection within your CrossFit box. At CF286, we want to make sure our community athletes get the most out of every visit to the box. That’s why Hatha yoga is becoming a crucial part of our program here.
When placed beside a CrossFit workout, a good session of yoga reinforces strength movements and balance, but does so in a grounded, relaxed way. In this sense, you don’t leave the box sore and feeling as though a car hit you. With yoga on the tail end of your WOD, you’ll walk out of the box stretched like never before, energized for the day, and completely at peace with your mind and body.
So move aside PB&J, there’s a new perfect pair on the market. CrossFit and yoga, like yin and yang, give balance to each other, to your workout, and if sustained, for the rest of your life! Namaste.