Yoga for Athletes

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Ever wondered what all those people are doing on Saturday mornings in the box between CrossFit classes, posing and stretching on mats with chilled-out music? A few months ago I decided to find out for myself and have been regularly attending Yoga For Athletes ever since.

I didn’t know much about yoga then, and I still don’t know that much, but this is precisely why the class is so accessible.

After a week of squatting, snatching, cleaning, wallballing and boxjumping in WOD after WOD, an hour’s yoga is like an antidote. It’s not all hippy mumbo jumbo, but taking some time to realign with your body is worth doing. It’s designed to complement our week’s programming.

If you’ve ever wondered what’s been going on in these sessions, this might serve as some demystification:

Is it really hard?

No. Every move is scalable, just like CrossFit. Throughout, Hannah points out ways to adjust things so they don’t get too uncomfortable, taking into account everyone’s differing physiology. You only need to do what you feel comfortable doing and nobody is going to come and shout at you if you stop. There’s a pose you can return to at any time to take stock.

Is it really easy?

No. Some sessions can feel brutal, but in a nice way. As athletes, we are used to pushing ourselves and are not afraid of hard work, so a certain element boils down to your tenacity in maintaining a pose that might stretch you in a new way. The key is to remain focused.

Will everyone laugh at me?

Everyone else is focused on what they are doing, so nobody is going to notice or mind if you are unbalanced or stumbling. As in any CrossFit class, we are here to support each other.

What’s with all this breathing?

Over time, you realise this is one of the most important parts. How often in an average week do you even think about your breathing? Taking breath in and out just seems to happen. Yoga gives you a focus on this, helping you to relax and concentrate on being in tune with your movements.

Don’t I need a mat?

You can just do it on a towel.

What are these moves?

The session is divided up into various poses that you hold for certain periods of time. We start with poses where you’re standing up, then we do seated poses and then we do poses where you are lying down. If anything, the session seems to get easier as you go along. Each pose has a name, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember their names – I never can. A lot of them you’ll recognise from stretching in class, particularly pigeon and downward dog.

What are the benefits?

These will be different for each individual, but over the course of a couple of months, I have definitely got more flexible. My balance and core strength have also improved. Most important is how good you feel afterwards – there really is a strange and calm feeling of oneness that seems to redress the balance with all the stress of a normal week.

What about lying about on the floor in the dark at the end?

I don’t know what it is about this part. I could lie on the floor at home for a few minutes listening to chilled-out music, but it wouldn’t be the same. There’s something about not moving but thinking about every part of your body that feels pretty essential.

The only way to find out more is to book in to a class and try it for yourself…

Member Rob Honeywood

Check out this link for 10 Reasons All CrossFitters Should Do Yoga.  It comes highly recommended by all of your coaches!  You can catch Hannah in Mobilise Me on Tuesdays at 6.30pm and in Yoga at 10am on Saturdays.  These classes are all included in your membership packages.

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