Why CrossFit and Yoga are co-existing species.

Posted on | January 23, 2014 | 9 Comments

I’ve always made fun of yoga. I’m sorry. I’ll go ahead and apologize upfront. All the “The full moon is pulling our energy from our chakras” and “Make this practice your own…do whatever your body tells you to do” makes me snort. I’m sorry (again). I am a very crunchy mama, but the prayers to “Shiva” and the “aligning my inner soul” shit just doesn’t go over well with me.

Y’all, I’m CATHOLIC. When you bring our your ukelele and sing a song to the goddess of your choice at the end of our practice, my nerves shoot through my ass and make me do the opposite of relaxing.

But you know what? I can still see the benefits of yoga. The stretching, the turning, the focusing inward? I GET IT. I can totally recognize leaving your mental state and focusing on different body parts combating physical discomfort. I can do 100 unbroken box jumps. I get torture.

So anyway, I went to “Hot Flow” yoga last Friday in an attempt to loosen my muscles and stretch. I thought the extra heat would help me sweat out my water retention, and I thought the humidity would free up my flexibility. What I didn’t know? The room was 115 degrees. I walked in and immediately started panting. I had convinced a friend to come along, and she looked at me like I had lost my damn mind. The entire class (which was an hour and fifteen minutes long), all I could think was “Mother fucking shit is this class over?! My sweat is blinding me! I’M BLIND! Oh shit, my heart is pounding out of my chest. I’m going to die. Right here. Life is over. This is a horrible way to go!!!”

Then I got home and thought I had the Norovirus. My stomach was, literally, trying to fall out of my ass, and it was pure torture.

So this week? I went for “Warm Flow.” I would be lying if I said I felt comfortable at my yoga studio. Don’t get me wrong…everyone was incredibly welcoming and kind. But looking around me, I felt so out of place. I couldn’t help but notice a huge difference between the other “practicers?” “yogis?” and me. They were slim. Long. Flexible-looking. I am short. Muscular. “Bulky” in the eyes of many, I would imagine. Honestly? Some women would probably see my picture and say, “I don’t want to be bulky like her.” And that, my friends, is a hard pill to swallow.

And then, when we got into class, I got my ass handed to me. It’s not so much the movements of yoga, but the idea of clearing my mind and focusing on the present. In a posture where we were supposed to be, “totally still and clear of mind” all I could think about was how my mat that I had rented smelled like Dill Weed. Clearly, I need work. I recognize that my mind moves too quickly. I have a very hard time being simply present in the moment. I think about anything and everything other than my breathing and my “mantra.” But as the teacher wandered the room during our meditation time and encouraged us to just “be”, I tried really hard to follow her instruction. And as she told us that we were all “perfect and strong” however we were, I had to try not to cry. It’s true, what they say, that yoga can make you feel all the emotions.

It was out of my comfort zone, and it wasn’t easy for me in any way, but I really did enjoy it better this second time. I play on going every week, at least once a week. I think the mobility that yoga gives way to is so incredibly important…not only in CrossFit but in life. It provides a flexibility and suppleness that is necessary for so many of the lifts I do daily. Shoulder mobility, hip flexor mobility, even wrist mobility are issues many CrossFitters battle, and yoga can help solve those issues. I also think the way that it breaks you down mentally helps to build you back up to focus inward during the hardest WODs. So, I will continue to go out of my usual zone and work towards loosing myself in yoga. But my heart will always be with CrossFit.

How was your week? What did you do to better yourself this week?


9 Responses to “Why CrossFit and Yoga are co-existing species.”

  1. Verna
    January 24th, 2014 @ 7:18 am

    Yoga is not my thing. I’ve learned a few stretches though and try to I corporate them. I love stretching and need to make more time for it.

  2. Verna
    January 24th, 2014 @ 7:32 am

    And I don’t think you are bulky! :)

  3. Katy
    January 24th, 2014 @ 11:34 am

    Mobility is so important with cf. I spend a lot of time working on mobility every single day. My box has started offering yoga on the weekends. I haven’t gone yet, but I might give it a try. One of my coaches went to hot yoga and said he was sick the rest of the day. I think I’ll pass on that 😉

  4. Jennifer Cangelosi
    January 24th, 2014 @ 11:40 am


    Just as crossfit is a personal thing and you love it, defend it, and ask people not to knock it, I have to say the same thing about yoga.

    #1 Find the right studio. Not all studios are full of people that are 95 lbs and 6 feet tall. It’s taken me a bit, but I finally found 3 different studios I am comfortable in — they have retirees, very experienced people, and brand new folks. They encourage diversity, scaling to your own pace and comfort level, etc. Hell, there are even men only classes, over 50 year classes, etc. to make people feel comfortable. The yoga world doesn’t care if you are 15 or 75 years old, flexible or inflexible, or if you are there for exercise, flexibility, or just to clear your mind.

    #2 Go in with an open mind. I’m massively type A, not religious at all, and the first time I heard chanting, I too wanted to crawl out of my skin. But I stayed, and I learned the reasoning behind it, and now that hour each day is the only hour my brain can truly be at peace. There are all different styles of yoga and many do not have any chanting, singing, etc.

    Sorry, but I had to say something… this post makes the people that have never tried yoga think twice and be nervous about their first experience!

  5. Sally
    January 25th, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

    Hey Jenn, sorry you got that impression. But I am not knocking yoga at all. I just said I had a bad first experience with hot yoga :) as I said in the post, I think yoga has a ton of wonderful benefits and will continue to do it at least once a week. Thanks for your tips. I’m sure they will be helpful to people looking into yoga!

  6. Sally
    January 25th, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    Jut looked and realized my last paragraph got jumbled prior to posting. Silly laptop! That would explain why it wasn’t clear that I really do believe in yoga. I’ll fix it as soon as I get to a computer :)

  7. Elizabeth
    January 27th, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

    I just laughed hysterically at this post. I actually really enjoy hot yoga, but i totally understand what you’re saying as well.

    Saw this GIF the other day about how another blogger feels about hot yoga…had to share!


    Sally Reply:

    HAHAHA oh my. I almost spit my coffee all over my keyboard over that! HILARIOUS. I’m giving it an extra try again this Friday, so we will see if I still look like that sloth at the end of this one.

  8. Gigi
    January 30th, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

    I’m a yogi in my head, now I just have to get to a studio and try it for real! Great post!

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