Hey, If you do CrossFit I am sure you were just like me and completely intrigued by the adrenaline rush, the people, the strength, determination and the fast results of a rock hard, good lookin body! CrossFit is fun. It pushes you to the max, mind over matter to physically carry the weights on you and you’re doing intense things you only dreamt of doing!
CrossFit has become such a “culture.” People are there because they feel welcome into community, they are stretched to reach their goals, they are encouraged through the times they can’t make it through a full round, each class is an opportunity for growth from the previous one!
Along with my own intense nature of pushing myself to the limit through my own experiences and speaking with other CrossFitters and adrenaline junkies around me there are some things that naturally go hand in hand in which it is imperative to focus on which will in turn improve your peak performance!
Drum roll please…….YOGA! Yes, these are reasons why I believe Yoga will help to improve your strength, mobility, reach your goals and get there without injury.
Flexibility, Mobility, Strength
According to Talayna Fortunato, a physical therapist with a CrossFit habit – finishing 5th and 3rd at the last two CrossFit Games says, “it’s imperative to put in the time for an adequate warm-up and mobility work. If you don’t put in the time now you’ll put it in later when you have an injury.”
It is very common now that we are seeing more and more injuries within the CrossFit world. Because CrossFit is so intense we focus on the activity and building strength rather than the other parts of our body that enhance getting there.
In Yoga we make sure to begin our practice with waking up and warming our body before jumping to peak performance. With each position in yoga it’s important to focus on the range of motion and fluidity that the body should naturally have. Do you ever feel like your shoulders are so tight? You can’t touch your toes? How are your squats? Our hips are one of the tightest muscles in our body, when they are really tight it adds stress in numerous areas which result in poor function. Adding in basic yoga poses like downward facing dog, pigeon, extended side angle pose, just to name a few, will aid in stretching, massaging, increasing strength, endurance and mobility.
Balance & coordination
Part of the 10 general physical skills of CrossFit is focusing on balance. Why do you think incorporating Yoga would help you get your pistols on point? According to Martial Arts practices, pistol poses are referred to as being “rooted” like a tree. Well what do you know, in yoga we have a pose called “tree” in which we focus on being rooted using your strength, mind and body to full expression of this pose. Other poses such as dancer and warrior 3 will help you with complete balance and coordination to get your pistols and other challenges meeting peak performance!
Hey you may also learn the power on balancing your health, family, work, and doing things you love to enjoy life fully!
Alignment, alignment, alignment…I can’t say it enough. Most important in the yoga asanas (poses) is focusing on the alignment of the spine and making sure that each move you make does not set you up for injury. While doing a heavy squat or shoulder press and if your entire body, including your neck, is not in line with your spine then you will see some major problems.
If you’re compromising range of motion and form to get max reps then take a quick rest before you go again. If your back begins to round while pulling from the ground, it’s time to put the bar down until you can do it with proper form and alignment. It’s ok if you are pushing your body hard to the point of discomfort but once there is pain that is when you STOP. As Talayna Fortunato says, “more is not better, better is better.” Believe me, your body will thank you later!
During CrossFit and other intense workouts it is so easy to hold in your breath. Even on an average day humans tend to hold their breath or take shallow breaths leaving sense of fatigue, headaches and more. When you learn to inhale in through your nose using your diaphramic breath you not only enlarge your lung capacity but you are getting oxygen to your brain, blood flow and muscles that is so important during explosive workouts.
You will not only receive physical benefits from breathing during your workouts but mental and emotional clarity in our stressful world in and outside of the gym. Plus there are so many more benefits to breathing that aid in digestion, stress relief, headache relief and more!
I think most of us know that rest is important but how often do we have adequate rest? Rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleep. Resting days from explosive exercise is so important to replenish the cells that keep breaking down through vigorous sessions, otherwise if we don’t have new regained cells then how can we function on broken down ones? Sorry, you will feel it later.
In Yoga, it is so important that we relax and rest all that we put our body through on a daily basis. Through our physical body regaining the strength to go again, our mental and emotional self to let go of the weights we have been carrying.
In the place of rest you will understand that it’s ok “to be” where you are today. You can only do so much physically at the gym without injury and tomorrow you will reach for a bit more. You can “let go” of pushing yourself to someone elses’ limit for you because we are ALL in a different physical, mental and emotional states in life. Listen to your body!
Yoga is not boring!
I can say this because I used to hate yoga. I thought it was boring, not intense enough, I thought everyone was worshiping trees and the moon but this is not the case! There are so many different kinds of yoga classes; upbeat, vinyasa flow, power, sculpt with weights, restorative. Have fun with it and don’t limit yourself! Get some fun music, laugh a little (or a lot), it’s OK to be clumsy, do it outside in the sun or rain, before you go to bed. Whatever works for you. But I encourage all of you to start practicing!
Are you ready to feel how your workouts will be more efficient and keep you safe from future injury? Hey, you might also find yourself in a happier place and balance in your life!