Yoga is not only a good way to relax your mind and body but it’s also known for improving Crossfit performance. Yoga stretches out the muscles and creates more flexibility which reduces risk factors that cause injuries.
If you practice yoga, you’ll find it easier to make the transition from yoga to Crossfit. The same goes for people who are already doing Crossfit and planning to switch to yoga. When you compare the two workouts, yoga is more gentle. It helps the body slowly develop the strength it needs to endure the physical demands of Crossfit.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider using yoga as a part of your WOD (Workout Of the Day)
Benefits of Yoga for Crossfit
Yoga has many gentle poses that can develop your core. And with regular practice, those poses can help you achieve better strength, endurance, and flexibility. You’ll even find your inner strength. These are things that can greatly help you with your Crossfit:
Studies have found that yoga allows one to become more self-aware. It can improve energy levels, enabling one to fully enjoy life.
The twists and bridges in yoga can increase your metabolism. This leads to more energy. The body burns more calories and becomes better at utilizing vitamins and minerals.
More complex poses can also provide a greater range of motion in your joints. They make the back become more flexible.
Why is Flexibility and Mobility Important?
Stretching focuses on lengthening and shortening tight muscles which are really important for injury prevention. While mobilization is a full-body approach that focuses on all elements that limit movements.
If one area of your body is out of alignment, not strong or flexible enough, you can’t maximize a challenge. For example: When you lift a barbell, you can’t stack it over your spine, heels, and hips without overextending your lower lumbar. You need to use your core or midline so your shoulders won’t hurt.
What is Mobility?
Mobility is about knowing how to form your movements. Human movement is dependent on the amount of range of motion (ROM). ROM is effective for reducing muscle tightness, mitigating capsular restrictions, and preventing tendon injuries.
When you develop better mobility, you’ll become more flexible. This gives you greater muscle balance and core strength that protects your spine.
It can also reduce injury and you’ll have an easier time performing any task or routine you’re working on. You’ll have a greater power output and more productive workouts.
Incorporating yoga into your daily workout can add an extra level of protection when doing Crossfit. Injuries are most likely to happen when Crossfitters make fast movements that place the strain on the joints and connective tissue.
Yoga stretches can make your joints more efficient and helps utilize your full range of motion with ease. When you’re using the right joints and muscles, you exert less energy.
Some Yoga Poses for Crossfit
When you implement yoga into your CrossFit life, your body becomes more flexible and you’ll become a stronger CrossFitter/Yogi.
Getting your yoga poses right is as important as getting the proper form in Crossfit. With yoga, you’ll learn how to hold yourself properly. It’s a safe practice you can apply to get a better Crossfit body.
Below are some great poses you can try:
A.) Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Low lunge stretches out the hip flexors which are usually full of tension. To perform the pose, here are the steps you need to follow:
Start by standing on your mat. Bring your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees, and put your hands on the mat.
Put your left foot at the back. Make sure your right knee and ankle are in one line (to protect your knees from injury.)
Keep your knee aligned with your second toes. Press your toes against the mat and lift the arch of your foot to keep it activated.
Your left heel should be towards the earth and the back of your knee towards the sky.
Lengthen your spine and neck and just look straight ahead.
Stay in this pose and breathe deeply into the hip flexors (where the tension is).
Stay in this pose for about 15 seconds.
To switch legs, step your left foot forward and the right foot back.
B.) Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is an excellent way of stretching the core. When you open up your core, it helps you to stand up straight. It also creates more space for the abdominal organs to make them more efficient in flushing out toxins.
Start on your back with your knees bent and feet on the mat. Bring your heels towards your glutes so you can touch them with your fingertips.
Lift your hips to the sky and activate your thighs, externally rotate your shoulders, and open up your chest.
Roll your shoulder blades under your chest and interlace your fingers beneath your lower back.
Press your thighs, hips, and heart up toward the sky.
Breathe for up to 1 minute as you ease into the pose.
C.) Arm Circles with Strap
Arm Circles stretch the shoulders and create more mobility. It’s helpful for barbell workouts. There are tiny stabilizer muscles in the shoulders that can become easily injured if they’re not warmed up prior to exercise.
Begin with your shins on the mat and hips on your feet. Take a strap, belt or scarf and hold the ends in your hands.
Lift your hips so you’re standing on your knees. Hold either end of your strap in front of your chest with hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
Breathe in and lift your arms over your head and behind your back. As you breathe out, bring them back in front of your chest.
Breathe in and go back, breathe out and go forward.
To prevent injury, keep your chin parallel to the mat.
Do this 20-30 times or until you feel like you’ve really warmed up the body.
Full yoga sequences strengthen the main parts of the body can improve your overall performance in Crossfit. They can warm up the whole body, increase mobility, and improve balance. The benefits are profound and you’ll find that you’re a lot less prone to pain even when you’re training hard.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential training in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala) and in Bali, Indonesia.