Thinking Outside the Box

By Mike Warkentin

In Sports Applications

November 24, 2010

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Does a sun salutation have anything to do with Cindy? Mike Warkentin talks to a few CrossFitters who see a link between asanas and Angie.

One smells of patchouli and incense, the other of sweat and vomit.

The delicate flutterings of a bamboo flute usually drift through a yoga studio, while most CrossFit boxes throb with punishing rhythms cranked out by tattooed satanists from Southern California. Yoga is about peace and serenity. CrossFit is not. If you can find deep relaxation 15 minutes into Filthy 50, a small wooden seat atop a very tall mountain is probably a good place for you.

If yoga is yin, CrossFit is most certainly yang. They’re opposites, to be sure, but are they separate? Some CrossFitters don’t think so.

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16 Comments on “Thinking Outside the Box”

1

wrote …

Nice job, Mike.

2

wrote …

Excellent article. Flexibility/mobility is an easy thing for the average CF'er to overlook. Mainsite WOD's don't explicitly prescribe "work on your hip flexors," so it's easy to just go about your daily routine without focussing on flexibility in the same way you would work on your squat or deadlift setup.

3

Keith Wittenstein wrote …

Thanks for the write-up, Mike!

4

Bart Pair wrote …

I got into CF about a year ago and my impressions were that CrossFitters looked down on yoga.Having gotten stronger and more flexible with yoga I always found myself wondering, "What type of yoga are they thinking of?"


Then I definitely had a chuckle when the Homlberg Yoga video came out. And the attitude definitely seems different around here since.


Now would I do just yoga? Most definitely not. But I do think it has value (and there is scientific data to back that up.) And when you have problem areas - hips, shoulders, neck, back - yoga can be the difference.


But I got to admit, I disagree a little bit with the article. Its the poses that look the most different from CrossFit movements that I get the biggest benefit from. Just my opinion.

5

wrote …

The box that I go to (CrossFit West Sac) has a mandatory cooldown progression that has lots of yoga poses in it. My number one limiting factor when I started CrossFit was hip and hamstring flexibility. Yoga style poses and stretching seem like an incredibly obvious solution for any athlete looking to increase ROM.

There are certainly athletes that have great flexibility from other physical training (i.e. martial artists, gymnasts, etc)...but Yoga and CrossFit seem like a great fit to me...

6

wrote …

Yoga is a great active rest day- I recommend it to many of my clients.

It's great for flexibility, joint mobility, etc. And it's (mostly) low impact.

And it's not like it's going to hurt your performance.

Really, why wouldn't you do it? Ego? If you're worried about ego or only want Crossfit to be a path towards narcissistic goals..... well, perhaps this whole thing isn't your bag- I do believe we're still talking about GPP fitness here, after all, and the stuff Yoga teaches is a part of that.

Besides, doing high-intensity everyday is a wonderful way to get yourself nice and injured real quick- sometimes you just need to switch things up.

7

wrote …

Yogo definitely helps with movements seen in CF. My wife has hopped on the yoga bandwagon about a year ago. She goes to basic group classes 1-2x per week and now practices at home another 1-2x. She is definitely more limber: can touch her toes when seated and now can easily get below parallel with squats, weighted and airsquats. She also enjoys the quiet, calming influence of yoga.

Time is an issue for many of us....it's difficult to run a family, work life, CF workouts & maybe have time for a yoga class/practice. I've gone to yoga classes myself, felt I did see some benefit in the course of an hour class. I also feel that if you know your areas to address, hitting them with KStar mobility WOD in 10-15 minutes is a potentially more efficient way to targeting the need.

Time an issue for you? KStar site or another mobility exercise (DeFranco Agile 8, for example). You can get a lot accomplished in literally

If you have the time, why not yoga? Yes, you're likely to see a majority of the people in a group yoga class that can't DL their bw, may not be able to do 1 pullup, etc (at least my experience) but who cares.

I know 1 person, my wife, who's used yoga to help her overall fitness level.

And can you really argue with a guy (Keith) that's a yoga instructor AND has atlas stones around his gym? Talk about a wide range....

8

wrote …

Great article. As someone whose done Yoga on occasion, it is hard in a different way. The flexibilty, the holding poses and moving through them - these things will help other aspects of your movement. If you look on the Sealfit site, they are including Yoga and meditation into many of their WODS. I think if you have the time (especially on a rest day), its a good thing to look into.

9

wrote …

Mike, Great read...

We have a lot of Yoga people (via Lululemon!) at our box, and they're always trying to get me to do it. Unfortunately it doesn't work out schedule wise for me. However, after reading this I think I may have to find a way to get some in!

Daigle

10

wrote …

Thanks for preaching the gospel, Mike and Keith!

11

Kathleen Kiamos wrote …

I recently got addicted to yoga (astanga/vinyasa/power) The heated room and the way the body responds is amazing. The strecthing/opening of the hips, shoulders, etc can be humbling. You immediately become aware of your weaknesses. Plus, gaining core strength and spinal alignment. Have had definite benefits. Was happy to krank out ring push-ups the other day. And I truly believe yoga gave me the strength to perform better than I ever had. Plus, I amuse the yogis as I try and muscle every pose; which is a no-no.

12

wrote …

What do people think about Bikram?

13

wrote …

The article seems to come at yoga with a preconception that it is about relaxing, and therefore not strenuous. This is so not true. Many practices are demanding two hour ordeals, constantly finding the edge and holding it, going deeply into discomfort to release tension and correct misalignment, being always mindful of breath and posture. Yoga, at it's heart, is the same as CrossFit. It is being elegant through difficulty. It is amazing how deep one can go, in any practice.

14

wrote …

The article seems to come at yoga with a preconception that it is about relaxing, and therefore not strenuous. This is so not true. Many practices are demanding two hour ordeals, constantly finding the edge and holding it, going deeply into discomfort to release tension and correct misalignment, being always mindful of breath and posture. Yoga, at it's heart, is the same as CrossFit. It is being elegant through difficulty. It is amazing how deep one can go, in any practice.

15

wrote …

Bikram yoga is, in my opinion, a time efficient way to increase flexibility. 90 minutes of intense stretching in a heated room, definetly works well. Although I consider it to be almost like a long met-con, it doesn´t make you more explosiv...
So once a week, at the age of 38 years (male), has delivered good results. Since I started Bikram yoga 2 months ago all of my numbers has gone up, and my knees are getting better. And maybe as I´m getting older, spending more time on yoga might be more efficient. For sure Crossfit and Yoga will always be a part of my life.

16

John Weiss wrote …

Lisa was able to convince me two years ago the value of adding yoga into my daily practice/workouts. I am very excited to see that CF is recognizing this as well. I cannot speak for all, but I can say that it has definitely made me a better CFer and continues to do so, my lifts are up, times are down, and injuries seemingly non-existent. What more can one ask for?

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