Bringing Yoga into CrossFit

Yoga

Twenty minutes. After the 8:15 a.m. class at CrossFit AllStar, that’s the amount of time allotted for yoga on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday.

KC Stallsmith, the owner and lead Coach at the Box in Waimea, Hawaii, brought yoga into her CrossFit training five years ago. “I started incorporating yoga into the finishing portion and the warm-up portions of the CrossFit classes because I was teaching CrossFit at the time and I noticed there was a real lack of recovery process after class,” she said.

Receiving her 200-hour yoga-teaching certificate, Stallsmith realized that although CrossFit and yoga can be opposite, they can also compliment each other. When she first brought it to her Box, she taught a 90-minute yoga class as a recovery session three days a week, but it wasn’t popular. So, she started a 20 to 30 minute voluntary yoga session after three classes a week.

“It seals the deal on your training and gives you an edge against your competitors, but [it also gives] a more full recovery process in your own body,” said Stallsmith. “Even if you’re not a competitor, I feel it’ll give you more longevity if you’re CrossFit training and you incorporate some kind of yoga after the workout.”

Athletes 40 and over have been most interested in the session, according to Stallsmith. But, she is keeping her members aware of yoga. “I’m constantly reminding them that if they do stay for that yoga portion, it’s going to help them calm their central nervous system and make them more prepared and stronger for their next workout,” she said.

Before bringing yoga to a gym, Stallsmith said it’s important the owner educates him or herself on the benefits. Plus, they should only add it if they believe in it and its value to their members. While there’s no current yoga portion that is specifically ingrained in the CrossFit methodology of training, so Stallsmith said to do the “due diligence” and get the training in that area, even if it means reaching outside of CrossFit world and into the yoga community.

In terms of teaching the classes, Stallsmith suggested looking for a yoga teacher that understands how to instruct a CrossFit athlete. She said look around the community in your Box first for a client who can teach yoga or knows someone who would be a good fit. While the owner or gym manager needs to stand behind the message of yoga in CrossFit, the instructor needs to do the same for CrossFit. “You also have to have the yoga teacher believing in the CrossFit athlete and what they’re going to teach is going to help provide support for your CrossFit training,” said Stallsmith.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.