“Don’t be alarmed if a little bit of discomfort creeps in,” CrossFit trainer Hayley Parlen says. “That’s where the breath comes in to help calm the mind when you do feel some discomfort.”
In addition to being a CrossFit trainer, Parlen is a yoga corp coordinator for the Niroga Institute in Berkeley, Calif. In this video, she leads the athletes assembled at the Rogue Vs. Again Faster Throwdown in breathing exercises designed to calm and focus them.
Parlen starts the athletes out with belly-breathing technique, then transitions to timed breathing practice, creating a breathing pattern that “mimics our most relaxed state in sleep.” The next step is “conscious breathing” to focus on the exhaled breath.
“This emphasizes a sense of letting go,” Parlen says.
Among the athletes is 2010 CrossFit Games champion, Graham Holmberg, who is no stranger to yoga. He extolled the benefits of yoga on his flexibility, concentration and intensity in the CrossFit Journal video Om and Holmberg. The champ says that after a workout, all you hear is your own breathing.
“Obviously if you’re not breathing, you’re not going to be able to do any work,” he says.
Parlen emphasizes the usefulness of the breathing techniques she teaches during workouts and whenever you might need them. The point of learning these breathing techniques is to add “another tool for your toolbox,” she explains.
Parlen will offer a more in-depth look at breathing techniques and CrossFit in an upcoming Journal article.
Additional reading: Inside-Out Breathing by Terry Laughlin, published Dec. 1, 2005.