October 7, 2013

A Yogi Does Crossfit. ~ Katrina Kopeck


Yoging from one adventure to the next

And it turns out there’s more than one way to do a push-up. Also, apparently chattarungas don’t count as pushups. Also, don’t say chattarunga in a CrossFit gym.

Here’s my new vocabulary:

WOD: Workout Of the Day

EMOM: Every Minute on the Minute

AMRAP: As Many Rounds As Makes you Puke

Hero Workout: a horrible, long, jimmy-leg-inducing workout dedicated to someone awesome

Box: (after my giggles subside) A CrossFit gym

Snatch: I don’t remember. I was giggling too much.

About five years ago, I got serious about my yoga practice and was secretly pretty impressed with my new muscle definition and strength. I was stronger than I had ever been and in better shape than many of the Midwesterners around me.

Then I moved to Boulder, where everyone is fit to start, and went through a CrossFit on-ramp at my local box (ha!). It checked that little ego right in the throat.

CrossFit is a zero-percent fat zone. This is a place for grunting and ugly, pull-up faces and blistered hands. My soft yogi tummy and delicate yogi hands are not in their natural environment. All the women here are stronger than me. Even this amazingly sweet grandmother could throw me down and break all my little pitta bones if she wanted to.

But she won’t. Because like everyone else here, she’s super excited to see a new face in her community.

So it’s kind of like yoga after all, huh?

After a good yoga class I feel grounded, centered, calm. After a good CrossFit WOD I feel shaky, vomit-y, strong. I don’t think these feelings are contradictory, but it helps to do yoga after CrossFit to balance myself out. Usually it’s 55 minutes of child’s pose until savasana. Grounded, shaky, calm and strong.

Then there’s the protein. One of the foundations of CrossFit is nutrition, which basically translates to lots of meat, veggies, nuts and seeds, little fruit and virtually no starch or sugar. This is a problem for me on a few points:

1. I’m a vegetarian.

2. I’m a very unpleasant person when sugarless.

So here lies my dilemma: if I keep my diet as it is and continue CrossFit, my bones will crumble as my muscles won’t be able to rebuild fast enough and I’ll die. If I switch to a meat-filled, sugarless diet, I’ll have constant diarrhea and anger issues and I’ll die. I’m still working on this one, but it does involve a lot of protein shakes.

While some of the CrossFit people I’ve met do yoga, most of them are pretty happy with just doing CrossFit. It’s addictive for sure. Like any belief or passion, it’s totally fine to express why we think yoga is amazing, how it’s helped our stress, how it makes us not want to strangle our kids anymore, etc., but we also shouldn’t push it with our views. Some people just aren’t there yet. And some get that same yoga high from CrossFit.

In fact, I would highly recommend that yogis try out CrossFit workouts.

You’ll get stronger and more confident, and you won’t be as likely to hurt yourself when you’re totally not showing off that handstand in class. In fact, you’ll be able to hold it and do pushups. Boom.

Yogi rules of CrossFit:

  1. Do not casually mention you are vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian/non-carnivore unless you’re really ready to back up your reasoning.
  2. Do not compare every movement to a yoga posture.
  3. Do not use the word chattarunga or any other Sanskrit vocabulary. No one cares how well you can pronounce it.
  4. Be open to high-fives. There are a lot of them to be had in CrossFit. They’re not so bad, and as a bonus, you’ll build more oxytocin from the physical contact.
  5. Be nice to people and make lots of friends. These people are awesome and incredibly supportive of you, even if—god forbid—they don’t do yoga. Yet.
  6. Try everything, push yourself and continue to listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, tell the coach. Even though you may have come to know your body better than most people do through your yoga practice, these movements are new and the coach can guide you best.


Like elephant yoga on Facebook.


Assistant Ed: Jamie Khoo/Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo via Greg Westfall on Wikimedia Commons}

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Katrina Kopeck