I’m not a man, nor do I play one on TV. However, the more men I see doing CrossFit©, the more I feel these XYers could do with a little more OM in their lives. Yoga may seem like the complete antithesis of functional fitness, but the two forms of fitness can actually work quite well with one another, while lending a big helping hand in the WOD department.
If you’re a guy and reading this… one, thank you. And two, I’m serious. You may think it’s all hippy dippy new age nonsense, but if you want to lift heavier, jump higher, and run faster, you must get in your mat time, my friend!
Here’s why men should try yoga and consider joining a class:
Tight Muscles: Squatting below parallel isn’t easy with inflexible hips. Heck, your power for jumping and lifting pretty much comes from your hips, so if they’re tight, you’re not get the explosive range that you need. Part of a yoga practice is not only strengthening the body and mind, but also releasing tension. The tension can be stress-related, or caused by sitting at desk working for the man all day. Either way, dedicating time each week-or better yet, each day-can only help to enhance what you do at your CrossFit affiliate.
Injury Prone: Many yoga poses involve some form of balance. For example, tree pose is done standing on one foot, while the inside of the raised foot is set against the inside of the opposite inner calf or thigh. In doing so, supporting muscles and connective tissues are being strengthened in new ways, providing protection against potential injuries.
Core Work: Your midsection, front, back, and sides, might be the most important group of muscles to help you reach new PRs. While these muscles are getting worked in WODs, the twists and poses of yoga can help to strengthen your core in different ways and aid in muscle recovery.
Feeling Stuck: Can’t shave any time off your Fran? Not able to get that muscle up despite all the trying you do? It might be time to switch your focus. Yoga can help you to approach bodywork in a new way, while also helping to clear your head from the frustration that comes with a fitness plateau.
Lack of Time: Mobility and stretching is something that requires dedication. If you’re just doing a quick foam roll before or after your WOD, you’re likely not getting the stretch needed for peak performance. Taking a yoga class means devoting an hour or so to releasing muscles, stress, and tension that would otherwise impede your progress.
Breathing Issues: News flash–your body needs oxygen. Still, when exercising, it’s easy to hold your breath or breathe irregularly, which actually holds you back. Yoga is all about becoming one with the breath. Breathing exercises are practiced on their own and with poses and stretches to build a connection. When you’re counting off reps and rounds, or working out to exhaustion, it’s easy to lose that connection. But if you practice it routinely in yoga, eventually it will be come second nature in all that you do.
Chill Out, Dude: You know how pumped you get after hitting a max PR? It’s pretty awesome. However, if you walk around that amped all day long, it would be exhausting–for everyone, really. It’s great to hit those highs, but finding a sense of calm has it’s benefits, too. Yoga incorporates meditation and mindfulness, which sound like you’re just sitting around doing nothing. Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes it causes you to be uber-focused and able to pay more attention to every little move you make. That can certainly come in handy with your next snatch, which requires you to keep a lot of cues in mind.
If you’re still not convinced, why not give it a try and see how it feels? There are definite benefits for both your health and your WODs. If you’re worried about being the only guy in class, don’t be. Even if you are–the ladies aren’t wearing much, so chalk that up as a point for yoga!