Although yoga is a bit older than CrossFit – by about 5,000 years or so – Stephanie Shalit said they complement one another.
“It’s not just getting the stretch from yoga that complements CrossFit,” said Shalit, a co-owner of Primary CrossFit. “I feel like the stronger you are from CrossFit, the stretchier you can be in yoga. And the stronger you are in yoga, the stretchier and less injured you’ll get in CrossFit.”
Power yoga is taught in several weekly classes at the Box. Shalit said this type of yoga not only helps with mobility, but does a lot of bodyweight exercises that can strengthen an athlete in CrossFit.
When opening True Spirit CrossFit and Yoga in Bozeman, Montana, Leslie Allen also saw the benefit of having both fitness regimens under one roof and in her business’ name. “It’s hard to convince CrossFitters to do yoga,” she explained. “So much of it is mobility and movement and breathing. It’s not a lot different than having a regular mobility practice.”
Since “yoga” is in the name of her gym, she has attracted trainers who typically have a background of a personal yoga practice. And for the one Coach who doesn’t have a yoga background, that trainer dove into the CrossFit Mobility course, MobilityWOD and The Movement Fix.
The most important takeaway Allen gave was yoga classes need to be taught by a teacher who does CrossFit. “They should be in CrossFit classes, getting to know the clients and also understanding the demands that CrossFit places on the body,” she said.
Chad Spradlin, the owner of CrossFit Tundra, explained when he first tried to mesh yoga with his CrossFit demographic, he made the mistake of bringing in an outside instructor. Two months later and the yoga program was dead. Since then, he has gained a trainer in his gym who is also yoga certified. But, he has unsuccessfully tried various ways to get members to pay for yoga – from $15 a month for unlimited classes to $50 every five months for unlimited classes. So, he is now going to bite the bullet. “It doesn’t cost me much more to absorb the cost, and I believe we get more people involved in the yoga program and in turn we start seeing better results,” he said. Plus, Spradlin said he will now look in to cutting down the yoga class time to 25 or 30 minutes, versus the hour-long classes he’s been offering.
For Shalit, Sunday has been one of the best days to offer yoga. The Box has open gym that day, and offers a 6 p.m. yoga class. Another ideal time for yoga is 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., hitting the crowd of moms who just dropped off their kids at school, said Shalit.
In Allen’s opinion, CrossFitters should do yoga twice a week as it focuses on balance, flexibility and agility. That focus could truly benefit the athlete at one’s Box. “Being flexible, balanced, coordinated and agile improves your general athleticism and your durability,” she said.