Hey there, CrossFit athletes! My name is Trish Reiter, and you may have seen me around LPF. I am a 200-hour certified yoga teacher. I was passionate about merging my two favorite disciplines, yoga and CrossFit, so I started BroYoga. A play on the “Bro” culture that is associated with CrossFit, BroYoga is a yoga practice catered to CrossFit athletes. It is built to combine our love of being challenged with the stretching our bodies need. In this blog, we’ll discuss the numerous physical and mental benefits of participating in yoga.
Benefits of Yoga for CrossFitters
With all the weightlifting and high intensity training we do, our muscles can get pretty stiff. This can lead to many types of injuries, both acute (such as a sprain) or resulting from overuse (like tendinitis). By lengthening our muscles through yoga, we increase their longevity. We avoid getting hurt, allowing for more time in the box and less time on the sidelines.
Improve Your Flexibility
Yoga will have you bending like a pretzel in no time. You can focus specifically on stretching parts of your body that are vital for success in CrossFit, such as the shoulders, hamstrings, and hips. Mat Fraser, a 5-time winner of the CrossFit Games, recently said that one of the three keys to becoming a CrossFit champion is having strong hips. Therefore, we want to increase the elasticity of our muscles to unlock this strength and sustain high levels of athleticism. Plus, you’ll finally be able to touch your toes!
Say Goodbye to Wobbling
Having good balance and coordination is crucial when performing many of the gymnastic components of CrossFit. You might find that movements like handstand pushups become easier with a little bit of yoga! It is the perfect opportunity to build a solid, stable foundation, which will directly improve your overall performance.
Core Strengthening and Spinal Stability
You may have killer abs already, but yoga can give you the ultimate six-pack. Don’t believe me? Try holding a plank for five minutes!
Beyond just getting abs for days, there are countless reasons to strengthen what yogis refer to as “the core.” This is the entire trunk of the body, from the abs to the posterior muscles. The core plays a vital role in supporting not only the weight of our bodies but also the weight we lift. In CrossFit, we often focus on exercising the larger muscles of the core, referred to as “global muscles.” Yoga addresses the core’s “stabilizer muscles,” too, which must also be trained to properly stabilize the spine. The need for this becomes pretty obvious during any workout, as EVERY movement, from toes to bar to snatches to squats, requires a strong core.
Find Mental Clarity Through Meditation
Meditate, man! Life can be stressful, and yoga and meditation can help you find your inner Zen to deal with those stressors. It can be difficult to find opportunities in your day to take some quiet, introspective time, but exploring the limits of your mind and learning to slow down is valuable in so many ways. I truly cannot stress the advantages that having mental clarity has brought me during even the most intense WODs. When the music is bumping, the plates are hitting the ground, and we’re counting reps in our heads, it can start to feel overwhelming. While a crazy workout is not the time to stop and meditate, yoga can precisely train your mind so that your focus stays razor sharp not matter what situation you are in. It’s common to dismiss meditation because it can seem complex. However, like any of the skills we work on in CrossFit, it just takes practice. Yoga provides the time to do this important mental work that will make us not just better athletes, but also better versions of ourselves.
Bring it to the Next Level
There is an overall theme to my message. Yoga is stretching, but it is much more complex than that. It holds the keys to elevating your athleticism. Yoga is beneficial in as small a dose as 10 minutes, but a 1-hour yoga class provides even more opportunities to grow. Learn about proper stretching and meditation in addition to other new skills. Yoga will bring all aspects of your life to the next level.
Incorporate Yoga into Your Fitness Routine
In CrossFit, we do a lot of things that would scare the average person outside the gym. Therefore, there is no need to fear a practice like yoga, which can help EVERY athlete’s mobility and ability. We are a group of people that are always trying to progress, so allow yoga to help! Think outside the box so you bend and don’t break inside the box.