*We are hosting a Level 1 CrossFit certification this weekend so there will not be any classes at the gym. We will be running outdoor workouts on Saturday at 9am,10am and 11am and Sunday morning at 10am and 11am. Meet at Moakley park on and bring a friend. *
Everyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with crossfit. But after 4 or 5 crossfit WODs a week my body starts craving a good ole’ yoga class for some stretching and breathing exercises. I feel this craving goes way beyond simply stretching out tight muscles from lifting and burpees, inspiring me to write this post detailing the benefits or yoga for all us crazy crossfitters.
We all know yoga will improve our mobility. Having issues with your overhead squat due to tight shoulders? How about some cat/cows and thread-the-needles to fix it right up? Even some static pectoral stretches will help draw your shoulders back, allowing you to get into that good OHS position to begin with. If you want to work on your pistols, you’ll have to first work on your calves – downward-facing dog and the warrior series are great for this. If you want to get down into your squat, you can start by opening up your hips. I teach entire classes devoted to hip-opening! Want to get into a handstand gracefully so you can bang out those handstand pushups? Stretch out those hamstrings with a half split, triangle pose, or pyramid pose. If your backbody is feeling too tight to clean up heavy weight, my yoga class incorporates lots of twists and ball rolling to help even everything out. Bottom line: better mobility will lead to more efficient crossfit movements.
Another great benefit of yoga is stress relief. While I love crossfit to boost my metabolism and get me ready for my day (yeah 6am workouts!), I use yoga as my predominant stress reliever. One of the key yogic techniques used to counter stress is to focus on the breath. In my class, I put a ton of focus on different breathing techniques and coordinating breath with movement. Even if you don’t quite grasp all the inhales and exhales, a little bit of conscious breath goes a long way. And practice makes perfect. Deep breathing into the diaphragm lowers cortisol levels, slows down our respiratory rate, and calms the mind – nicely balancing us out after a rough metabolism-boosting crossfit WOD.
Last but not least (for this blog post… I could go on and on about the benefits of yoga), yoga can be used as a rehabilitation tool after injury. Ever have a jerk or deadlift gone wrong? I have had a few people come to yoga with low back pain, and some gentle yoga activity could be just what the doctor ordered. Staying completely inactive due to back pain may cause you to lose muscle mass over time, and the resulting loss of strength can interfere with recuperation. You could potentially overwork other muscles to compensate. Since low back pain can result from a number of different factors, it is difficult to prescribe specific poses that would provide universal relief. Maybe you need to work on stretching your hamstrings, tipping your pelvis forward, and releasing the roundness of your lower back – it’s all about posture here. Perhaps you need to loosen up your hip rotators to provide some relief, or strengthen your abdominal muscles with some plank holds and yoga crunches (my fav!). You’ll never know if you don’t try. The yogic approach is to determine which specific muscles need strengthening and which need stretching, and sometimes that requires a bit of trial and error.
Skin the cat
In two minutes complete
Then max effort Double Unders
Rest 1 minute
7 complete rounds
Score= total # of double unders
Level 1- Singles
10 singles=1 point