Yoga for CrossFit Athletes: Speed Up Recovery and Gain Strength Faster
In CrossFit we train for strength and endurance, but our increase in muscle mass can also leave us with less mobility and tight areas in our body. We know that stretching and mobility work can help with this, but when you add in the incredible benefits of breath-work plus mindfulness as it relates to the way you’re holding your body in yoga, you’ve now gained a very real edge.
Yoga is a crazy powerful healing practice that will dramatically increase your range of motion when practiced on a regular basis (like your rest days). In yoga for athletes, we practice movements designed to help lengthen muscle tissue and counteract tightness in areas like our shoulders, lower back, knees, hips, groin etc. by opening our bodies and releasing that tension. We focus not only the poses themselves, and executing them correctly, but also on our breath. As we hold our postures (being mindful of how we’re aligning our spine and engaging our core), we take deep, controlled breaths that work in conjunction with our circulatory system to restore and repair tissues that break down during strength training.
The breath-work, combined with holding these postures, will force you to slow down your mind, increase your focus, and raise your awareness of what’s going on with your body. As you become more aware of how you’re holding your tailbone, spine, and neck as they relate to your core, and how you’re supporting your bodyweight on your feet, and through your knees and legs in yoga, you’ll be able to apply this same awareness to your workouts and make faster, healthier, and longer lasting gains as a result--and decrease the likelihood of injury at the same time.
For those of us addicted to the fast, intense pace of the WOD, it can seem like an eternity to take a minimum of 4 slow, deep breaths while holding one pose--but I promise the breath-work in this class will help your body recover and restore more quickly than anything else. SO although the movements may seem slow-paced at first, remember you’re actually speeding up your body’s ability to recover and gain strength even faster because you took the time to practice on your rest day. Learning how to control your breath will also contribute to your stamina in WODs.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning for athletes like CrossFitters--who tend to be competitive (at the very least with themselves)--that yoga is a highly individualized practice. Being super strong, is not the same thing as being super mobile or flexible--and that distinction is critical to ensure you don’t push yourself into an injury. Where one person can easily touch their toes, another will have tight hamstrings that make this movement more challenging.
Yoga Teaches you to listen to your body and focus on your own movements, so you never allow yourself to push past resistance into pain. Resistance (feeling a deep stretch) is fine, and you can breathe into a tight area of your body and find you can sometimes press a little deeper into a pose, but know your edge. Your edge is the point at which resistance meets pain. As soon as you reach it, hold the pose there and breathe. This is where the magic happens, and soon you’ll find you can go deeper into a pose that you once found difficult. It’s your practice, and you want to make sure it works for you and with your body--wherever it happens to be on a given day.
In short, yoga reduces tension and stress, improves your balance, body awareness and mental clarity, speeds up tissue repair and muscle recovery, and increases core strength. Crazy. Powerful. Healing. On top of that, I play killer music during class and it’s FUN. See you in class!
Yoga for Athletes: Thursdays at 7:40pm
Holy Yoga: Sundays at 7:00pm