Yoga vs CrossFit

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Yoga vs CrossFit

CrossFit and Yoga appear to be diametrically opposed active-lifestyle pursuits today. The former is known for its brute force and aggressive moves, while the latter is known for its calm, quiet, and introspective practice.

But do the two share more than meets the eye? What happens when you compare CrossFit to Yoga? Could lifters suddenly abandon kettlebells in favor of Kombucha, or meditators develop a taste for slamming weights on the floor?

We were inspired by the idea to conduct a small experiment. We asked a local CrossFit expert, Ryan Anderson, and a long-time Yoga disciple and teacher, Sara Cook, to swap mats for the day. Throughout the process, we discovered the ill-fitting stereotypes that cause many consumers to avoid one or the other training modality, which brands are most prevalent in the studio and gym, and how the two seemingly polar workouts aren't so dissimilar at their core.

When we asked Ryan to be our CrossFit guinea pig, he said, "I'm game." Anderson, a former professional golfer, began CrossFit nine years ago after suffering from hip and knee pain. CrossFit, which is commonly perceived as an injury-causing workout, would not seem to be the cure. The CrossFit organization recently filed a lawsuit against certain false claims that portrayed the workout as dangerous.

Anderson added, "My injury difficulties led me down the path of better understanding movement, which is at the foundation of CrossFit." From his perspective, this is one of the most common misconceptions about the sport, along with the stereotype of a CrossFitter who can't stop talking about being a CrossFitter. "It's designed to focus on function movements and functional fitness." Someone outside the industry who doesn't understand or see the movement patterns could easily perceive the workout's intensity as unsafe."

Anderson pointed out that the Reebok CrossFit Games, the de facto Olympics of CrossFit, are all about form. "It's not an art for viewers who don't understand how difficult it is to lift a certain weight while maintaining perfect form, but that's what the athletes are judged on."

Other stereotypes prevalent in the workout include users who are "cult-like," grungy, loud, hardcore, and bulky tire-flippers. Anderson gives some credence to the cliché demographic of young millennials. At his gym, he's considered a "old man" at 33, but clients in their 50s and 60s regularly attend WOD (workout of the day).

As for which brand rules the roost, we've already mentioned the big dog: Reebok. Reebok secured a 10-year partnership with its parent company, Adidas Group Brand, in 2010, giving it a stranglehold on the CrossFit name.

This was massive. Because CrossFit is a trademark, unlike yoga or running, which can be used by any brand, only Reebok is permitted to use the qualifier on its products. Most other brands in the space, such as Nike and Under Armour, use the term "cross-training" to describe their use for CrossFit-like exercise. Reebok dropped its NFL contract later that year and became the title sponsor and official outfitter of the Spartan Race series a year later. In 2014, Reebok agreed to a six-year contract with the UFC.

When you sum it all up, Reebok's modern-day identity is shaped by its ties to CrossFit, which has leveraged that "hardcore" association to gain additional "hardcore" sports sponsorships. For a 2015 line, the company even collaborated with DuPont Kevlar.

Anderson sees a lot of Lululemon apparel in the CrossFit gym, particularly shorts and tees, which is ironic for our purposes.

Cook, like the majority of yoga professionals we've spoken with, was gracious and composed in the face of an offer to throw her into the eye of a CrossFit workout. Cook's ability to understand her body was crucial to her saying yes. Cook managed Powder Tools, a snowboard shop in Littleton, CO, before discovering yoga almost 15 years ago. Her manager's friend introduced her to yoga. Cook was naturally adaptable, and it was this trait that drew her back... at first. "The answer is simple: I liked it because I was good at it." "That's a natural reaction for anyone finding their fitness niche," Cook explained. "However, it was the opportunity to learn more about myself via practice that kept me going back."

Cook described yoga as "filling gaps in my relationship with myself." She identified this as one of the most significant advantages of the practice that newcomers do not anticipate. "Someone who comes to yoga is looking for the physical element: flexibility, strength, and balance," she explains. "However, this develops into a mind-body connection that emerges as movement, intuition, knowledge, and self-acceptance."

The physical aspects that attract so many people to the practice are also the primary source of deterrence. Every other newbie, according to Cook, begins with the fear, "I'm not flexible enough." This is because many social media platforms appear to have distorted the appearance of yoga, in which perfectly toned young people bend their spines in Scorpion pose.

Despite the glossy coverage, yoga has matured and evolved into a wellness-based modality. "Of course, the more advanced your practice becomes, the more strength it requires, but you're working on that while also improving your reflective power."

Consumers who were previously opposed to yoga are now warming up to it as its health benefits become more widely known. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga was the most popular mind-body practice in 2015 (9.5 percent of U.S. adults participated), followed by chiropractic manipulation, meditation, and massage therapy. Aside from looking to yoga for a mind-body solution, The Yoga Alliance reports that 36.7 million Americans practice yoga in the United States, a 16.7 million increase from four years ago.

Popular festivals like the Wanderlust series, as well as thriving studios like CorePower Yoga, are most likely contributing to this growth. Pairing yoga with another activity is a trend that is pushing yoga deeper into the entertainment and lifestyle arena. Cook refers to it as the "Yoga plus something" trend, and we're seeing it in a variety of sub-interest categories (i.e. Poses and Pints offers yoga with beer, yoga with dogs, yoga with vehicles, and glow-in-the-dark specialities such as YogaGlo and Broga for males).

A prevalent and not entirely false stereotype of the practice is that it is primarily a female activity. From 2012 to 2016, American male participation increased from 4 million to 10 million, but the feminine stigma makes men less likely to try it. As wellness becomes a national priority for all genders, intense exercise loses some of its allure. Mind-body health is becoming more accepted, whereas previously this exploration was considered soft. We're also discovering how sweaty and intense certain yoga styles can be.

Outliers from apparel and mats are beginning to appear among the brands most commonly associated with the practice. Suja juice and GT's Kombucha are two big names in the studio, according to Cook.

And then there's Lululemon. "Lululemon is well-known in yoga and beyond," Cook said, "but the second tier of brands that span a broader spectrum of health and wellness products are more worth watching." Manduka and Gaia (Gaiam's former consumer-product segment, which was recently sold to Sequential Brands) are two other household names.


CrossFit turns a dolphin into a chaturanga.

Anderson was the only male in a room of practicing females ranging in age from early twenties to late sixties in early October. He took a mat in the center of the room and remained silent, almost solemn, throughout the 60-minute class at Denver's The Freyja Project.

Despite his obvious strength, Anderson's muscles shook as he attempted to balance in yoga poses. This seemed to catch him off guard and heighten his internal focus on the moves. He was focused on stabilizing and had some difficulty incorporating Vinyasa's unique breath flow (one breath to each movement). The rest of the class froze during a particularly difficult transition from Dolphin Pose to Chaturanga. Anderson was the only one who chose the difficult transition (which he nailed).


Yoga Performs AMRAP Push and Hold

On a bright October morning, Cook dragged a rower to the center of the CrossFit Lodo gym. The attendance was small (three women and two men) at 8:00 a.m., but the personalities of the proud few brightened the space and brought humor to the class. Furthermore, the gym had been open since 5 a.m. "I've got butterflies," Cook said, anticipating running laps around the property and lifting heavy, hard, and quickly. "I'm worried that I'll be forced to choose between honoring my body and alignment and doing what they want."

Following rowing, the class learned the Push Press technique. While other CrossFitters rushed the rehearse, Cook fixed her gaze on the instructor and slowly mimicked the motions. Then there was the weight. Cook added more than 30 pounds to a 15-pound bar. Everyone lifted at their own pace, taking breaks to walk around the gym and recover before attempting another set. Cook kept going, with some hesitation but also success, into squats and SplitmJerks. She appeared surprised by her own strength and moved with the class without appearing inexperienced.

Toward the end of the hour, another woman approached, introduced herself, and quickly admitted that she, too, had only been practicing for a few months. Cook was never excluded or pushed into a dangerous situation.

"It's more rushed and more broken up than yoga," Cook said after class. I was encouraged to calibrate and test what I can handle for myself. It's all about getting to know yourself." Cook posed for a "after" shot and lifted her arms in a strong display of her biceps without prompting.

Yoga vs CrossFit


The Benefits of Implementing Yoga into Your CrossFit Training

Yoga has been described as the ideal "Ying" to complement CrossFit training's high-intensity "Yang." Yoga's emotional and psychological benefits are an excellent complement to CrossFit's physical intensity.

Yoga practice promotes endurance and flexibility, which are ideal complements to the strength and power that CrossFit entails. Practitioners of each discipline are discovering that by combining them, they can achieve better results in both. So, without further ado, here are the main advantages of combining these two types of exercises 


Enhanced mobility and adaptability

CrossFit athletes require a high level of flexibility in their joints and muscles. Yoga can help you gradually increase your range of motion in a gentle, controlled manner. A daily yoga routine stretches ligaments and lubricates joints to increase flexibility, and a full yoga session moves all of your joints through their full range of motion, squeezing and soaking cartilage with blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Better flexibility and mobility can reduce your risk of injury and improve your CrossFit performance, so when you ask your body to do something extreme in your CrossFit training, you reduce your risk of injuring yourself.

Improving your flexibility and mobility can also help you avoid conditions like arthritis and chronic pain. Yoga's increased flexibility will assist you in taking your back squats, overhead squats, squat clean, deep ring dips, and other movements to the next level. Certain yoga poses are especially beneficial for increasing ankle mobility, which is required for many CrossFit movements.


Strength and endurance have improved.

CrossFit and yoga can both improve your endurance and strength. However, they accomplish this in different ways, which is why practicing both CrossFit and yoga can improve your performance in both. Yoga uses bodyweight to increase strength, whereas CrossFit uses equipment. CrossFit training incorporates a wide range of muscles and movements.

Stretching exercises before a workout can get your muscles and joints ready and prepared for the hard work ahead. CrossFit allows you to track your improved strength and endurance by the amount of weight you can lift. Your increased capabilities in yoga will be measured by the difficulty of the asana you can achieve and the length of time you can hold the posture. This can be difficult to grasp for people who are used to displaying their strength through movement. However, as you practice more yoga, you will discover that incredible strength is required at times to remain still.


Boosted Motivation and Energy

Coordination, strength, stretching, calming, and core engagement are all required for many yoga balance postures. All of these characteristics can be advantageous to a CrossFitter. Every heavy lift requires core engagement, and good balance is required for overhead lifting.

Yoga incorporates pranayama, or breathing techniques. All yoga routines focus on proper breathing, and by incorporating yoga into your exercise routine, you can apply this knowledge and capacity to your CrossFit training. Balanced breathing can help you perform better in many aspects of CrossFit, from conditioning to Olympic lifting.


Relaxation has increased.

Yoga can also assist you in relaxing more. It can be difficult to slow things down after an intense CrossFit workout because your adrenaline is pumping and your energy is flowing to such an extent. After a workout, a relaxing yoga routine can help you unwind.

A yoga routine can also help with the soreness and muscle tightness that can occur after a CrossFit workout, allowing you to loosen up and recover faster. A short yoga routine before going to bed can help you get a good night's sleep, which is essential for body repair and waking up with enough energy the next day.


Increased Metabolic Rate

Many twists, bridges, and other asanas used in yoga, particularly those used in Vinyasa yoga, can boost your metabolism. This can boost your energy, help you burn calories faster, and improve your body's absorption of minerals and vitamins. All of these things ensure that your body is functioning optimally, which improves your performance in everything you do, including CrossFit training.

Yoga vs CrossFit


Concentration Increase

Yoga practice can improve your concentration. You will discover that you can ignore other distracting influences and focus solely on what you are doing. This can be extremely beneficial during CrossFit training, particularly in weightlifting, where increased concentration can significantly improve performance.

Sometimes you lose focus in the middle of a workout, but yoga can help you channel your energy and focus entirely on the exercise you're doing. Yoga also increases your awareness of your entire body and the specifics of each movement.


Posture Improvement

Yoga can help you improve your posture, which leads to a healthier body that can handle all of the demanding CrossFit training elements, such as high-intensity interval training, powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting, strongman, plyometrics, calisthenics, gymnastics, and the girevoy sport (also known as kettlebell lifting).


Is yoga appropriate for CrossFit?

Muscle healing is accelerated: Yoga can help relieve muscle tension and discomfort that can occur after a CrossFit workout. Yoga can help you loosen up after a workout, speed up recuperation, and lessen pain.


Is yoga more beneficial than exercise?

Yoga gives the majority of the advantages of exercise while also improving subjective qualities such as serenity, contentment, and happiness.


Which is better: CrossFit or fitness?

CrossFit allows you to lose weight more quickly than a typical gym routine over a set period of time. This is due to the fact that a CrossFit session burns more calories than a typical workout.


Is yoga better for you than weightlifting?

Yoga is a more comprehensive method.

Yoga is a more balanced technique to undertake strength training for various reasons: A daily yoga practice can help you avoid injury and condition your body to function better at everyday tasks like walking, sitting, twisting, bending, and lifting items.


Can you do CrossFit on a daily basis?

It is feasible, although not encouraged, to do Crossfit every day. A well-designed program that includes training, practice, mobility work, and other beneficial activities will help you increase the volume of your workout without adding too much stress.


Is CrossFit useful for weight loss?

Crossfit is an amazing approach to lose weight in principle. It meets all the criteria because it combines aerobic, high intensity, and strength training. Cardio and high-intensity activities will change your caloric balance immediately because they burn a lot of calories.


Is yoga superior to HIIT?

Yoga and HIIT are two ways to lose weight. Although high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a fun and effective approach to lose weight, it is not for everyone. After a Yoga session, your body will feel energized, loose, and flexible. Yoga not only keeps you fit, but it also helps you lose weight.


Is CrossFit too demanding?

CrossFit workouts are high-intensity and quick to complete. In a short amount of time, you can get a tremendous exercise. The rigors of each WOD will appeal to athletes and ex-athletes alike, as they are akin to sports conditioning. There are numerous WOD routines, and they are constantly evolving.


Do you get ripped from CrossFit?

CrossFit can undoubtedly help you get in shape, and depending on the coach you work with, it isn't quite as harmful as some would have you believe. CrossFit isn't the best approach to increase muscle and strength while also losing fat, which is why so many people start doing it.


Is it possible to get healthy merely by performing yoga?

"Yoga has the ability to promote fat loss, muscle tone, and flexibility, all of which contribute to a more lean-looking body," he says. If you want to improve your flexibility and balance, even the most gentle kinds of yoga will help. Many varieties also aid in the development of muscle strength and endurance.


Who shouldn't practice yoga?

Yoga should not be done in a state of weariness, illness, haste, or acute stress. During menstruation, women should avoid frequent yoga practice, particularly asanas. Pranayama and relaxation techniques can be used instead.


Is yoga as beneficial as cardio?

Although yoga isn't classified as an aerobic activity, the more athletic variants, such as power yoga, will make you sweat. Even though yoga is not an aerobic workout, some evidence suggests that it can be just as effective at promoting health as aerobic exercise.


Can yoga help me lose weight?

Yoga, particularly more physical types of yoga, may be a helpful technique for weight loss. You might also find that the awareness obtained by a calm, relaxing yoga practice aids weight loss. Many experts agree that yoga can help you lose weight in a variety of ways.

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