Ever feel like you need a break from the regular routine and just need to decompress? Yoga is perfect for not only relaxation but also for helping you exponentially in your CrossFit workouts. Why? There are many reasons.

To begin, yoga can improve your range of motion and your general mobility. If you are struggling with your handstand or your even your squats, yoga positions such as downward facing dog and pigeon, can help reinforce external rotation of the hip and shoulders, necessary for many of the basic movements performed in CrossFit. If you perform these movements in yoga, your general mobility will see some improvements.

Next reason; it teaches you how to breathe efficiently. This helps with improving your focus. Yoga is good for teaching you how to breathe deeply into your diaphragm. This translates into your ability to produce more power and sustain movements for a longer duration. Breathing efficiently is key in movements such as burpees, seen frequently in CrossFit workouts. Another good outcome from yoga is the ability to focus. Focus translates to an important aspect of a CrossFit athlete especially when considering double unders, toes to bar, Olympic lifting, and more. If you are able to focus, then your technique and performance can go a long way.

Balance is one of the ten general skills that founder, Greg Glassman highlights in the definition of CrossFit. Yoga is one of the best workouts an individual can perform in order to increase and improve their balance. Without balance, it would be very difficult to perform many of the basic movements seen in CrossFit. Who knows you may even be lucky and find balance in other things outside of just your yoga and CrossFit workouts!

Some other valid reasons to get you into yoga is that it gives you time to relax. They offer classes at University of Maryland, and I felt like a new person after completing a yoga strength class. It can be very challenging and hard, especially if you are not used to it, however, unlike many workouts at CrossFit, there is a slim chance you would ever walk out feeling like you may throw up. Being able to relax deeply helps you to come back with more power, strength, focus, and determination. In addition to good relaxation, yoga emphasizes good positioning. Most of the classical poses in yoga focus on creating torque, finding a neutral spinal position, and working from core to extremity. Keeping your spine in neutral is the same type of spinal position one will see when you’re running, doing a pull-up, or performing a heavy deadlift.

Let’s not forget about the fact that yoga is also fun to do! It is something different, very outside of the fast-paced, intense workouts seen in CrossFit. So, spice up your routine and aim to do some yoga at least once a week. You will not only see a change in your own flexibility and general range of motion, but you will also see an improvement in your performance in the WOD. Not to mention, yoga is good for your soul.

-Hannah C.