Yoga and Cross Fit are seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum when we tend to think of physical or spiritual activities... But are they really?
They are more deeply alike than might appear at first glance and each discipline holds great opportunity for deeper success in the other. I would like to use an analogy of a hand to illustrate an idea. What makes the hand of use is its ability contract/close and in contrast, its ability to open/expand. The whole of the human body works much the same way. If we are deeply contracted (Cross Fitter) without the ability to deeply expand (Yogi) or vice versa we are not in balance. To be able to pull and not push or expand but not contract would lead to a great deal of problems in the body...and does.
From a completely physical point of view, will Yoga help Cross Fitters? The answer is yes and here's why:
Other than sudden trauma most body injuries are a result of poor musculoskeletal patterning leading to strains into particular muscle groupings or joints; This over time leading to myriad of disfunction in the body. The practice of Asana, as we begin to take the body through larger ranges of motion with specific holds and alignment, gives our neuro-muscular system a chance to re-balance its self on a fundamental level. With focus on good alignment we are forced to hold tone in underdeveloped muscles to balance over tight areas, as well as, allow the time to unwind deep connective tissue holding patterns that result from muscular patterning. As the body moves more efficiently through its ranges of motions, less energy is lost, injury chances decrease and all the strength gains are now done in away that is supporting better biomechanics.
I tend not to see two disciplines, simply movement.
A hamstring is going to create flexion at the knee and extension at the hip whether your dead lifting or in revolved triangle. I say don't choose between strength and flexibility, create both. The increased strength of Cross Fit lends well to the Yoga practice as well. I'm not just talking physical, which seems obvious how it would help with arm balancing, inversions and overall endurance, but to the mental as well. Yoga is also a discipline that requires deep engagement of the breath, mind and senses. What better way to test that than with some heart pounding physical exercise that will make you wanna quit at every turn. I personally have experienced some of my deepest moment of presence and honesty while in the midst of an overhead squat or burpee's.
Don't take my word for it though, get out, move and experience it for yourself.
- Written by Noah Krol.
Noah is the owner of Peg City Yoga in Winnipeg, Canada. Noah is also a 2200 hour graduate of Foothills College of Massage Therapy. He holds a dilploma in Fitness and Nutrition as well as a Personal Training Specialist certificate through Can Fit Pro. Noah is accredited with a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and Personal Development program and working towards apprenticing with the Canadian Wing Chun Association.