A Yogi Does Crossfit. ~ Katrina Kopeck

Via Katrina Kopeck
on Oct 6, 2013
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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.


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Assistant Ed: Jamie Khoo/Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo via Greg Westfall on Wikimedia Commons}


About Katrina Kopeck

Katrina Kopeck is a yoga teacher and writer from Chicago who recently moved to Boulder, Colorado, to learn more about yoga, mountains, granola and dreads. She loves all puppies, most books and a good deal of music. She likes to try things that scare her. The worst thing that can happen is a great story, right? You can find Katrina on Facebook or by following Twitter.


8 Responses to “A Yogi Does Crossfit. ~ Katrina Kopeck”

  1. Rogelio Nunez says:

    Hmm if it works for u go for it. I know the few times I tried wt resistance training it really impacted my yoga practice n not in a good way. I’m older so that’s one factor but the way u describe crossfit is opposite of classical yoga. It may fit better into the western mindset of yoga where it is kept on a very physical level.

  2. amphibi1yogini says:

    I don't know how much of preaching to the choir you're doing here posting this article. Suffice to say that even Exhale Core Fusion cross-impacts my yoga asana practice in a bad way … and my Pilates Master Teacher says that Uncle Rhabdo is a character ya don't wanna meet.

    Most of us are not put together properly to benefit from Cross-Fit, anyhow … See http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/30/elite-ath

    Wherein is stated, "elite ‘power’ athletes — defined as power-lifters, short-distance runners, and jumpers — were more likely to carry a specific genotype compared to elite endurance athletes (long-distance runners, swimmers and rowers) and non-athletes."

    Back in my day, we called it; most people have slow twitch muscles … that is why CrossFit has THIS amount of cachet … it is for the rare …

  3. Shannon says:

    I love that you posted this!
    As someone who has been practicing yoga over half of my young life, I felt the same benefits from my yoga practice, strength, self awareness and ofcourse, the yoga high. Then I plateaued, like so many people do with their yoga practice. I was not getting stronger and I was no longer finding the same sense of peace or meditation. I tried crossfit and found the same yoga high and quickly started feeling stronger. This translated well into my yoga practice as well. These two worlds actually compliment each other quite well. I am also a vegan and have yet to find a crossfit gym that does not respect and admire my life choices.

  4. Robyn says:

    "Do not casually mention you are vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian/non-carnivore unless you’re really ready to back up your reasoning."

    Ha! Tell me about it. I don't do Crossfit, but I'm currently doing the Whole Life Challenge with a group of Crossfit paleo enthusiasts. I was fooling around with vegetarianism when I signed up for the challenge. I wasn't established and have turned to meat a few times a week, but, boy, them Crossfitters get offended and kinda mean about vegetarianism.

  5. Laura says:

    This totally made me smile. I love the approach to this article. I've tried CrossFit a handful of times, but it feels so chaotic and I just can't commit. Not to mention, the price tag on CrossFit combines with the price tag on yoga is a retirement fund.

  6. Tera says:

    This is hilarious! I get everything you said. I'm a dedicated yogi and just recently went thru the YTT. But I absolutely love crossfit! I love my crossfit family! And yes I am the only vegetarian in the group. I feel yoga compliments crossfit and vice versa. It's my yang to my yin! I have helped many crossfitters with posture and warm ups to get ready for handstand push ups and so on. But yes, keep the Sanskrit out ;-). I definitely have to honor my body and how much I can do before it's too much. It's easy to get carried away. But I think because yogis are more aware of their bodies, we can prevent injury and depletion. Love this article! Thanks for posting! Namaste, boom 🙂

  7. micktravis says:

    If you move to Mozambique will you halve your daily calorie intake and die when you are 55 to fit in better with the locals?

  8. ecaysis says:

    Amen! I love Crossfit and yoga, because they are totally complimentary.

    To me, Crossfit is about pushing yourself past what you think your limits are, feeling that high energy group mentality, and feeling like a badass goddess. Yoga, on the other hand, is about connecting with my breath, providing comfort for my body and spirit, and feeling like an enlightened goddess.