Yoga for Recovery – and 6S!

I get it. You work out 5 times a week and you don’t have time in your schedule for yoga. You take the early CrossFit class and then you have to shower, eat, and book it to work. You went to hot yoga one time, stood in a pool of your own sweat, hated it, and never went back. Your hips are so tight that you think you can’t match up to the skinny girl in stretchy pants who inevitably sets up her mat beside yours. You went to a class that forced you to meditate and you got frustrated within the first 30 seconds because your mind was racing. Maybe one of these sounds like you, maybe all of the above resonates with you. These are all a variation of the same thing: you feel like yoga is not for you, and that’s your excuse not to do it.

​The funny thing is, the more you think that yoga is not for you, the more likely it is that your body needs it.

I’ve spent enough time around the gym now to know that y’all work hard. CrossFit is designed to challenge every major muscle group, push you to your limits, and leave you breathless – all in 60 minutes. While that’s definitely helping you reach your fitness goals, the recipe for success is incomplete without at least some time dedicated to stretching.
CrossFit stresses the importance of mobility. Many of you probably have RomWOD subscriptions or have at least done a few sessions. Now, maybe I am just old-fashioned, but there is nothing new about the benefits of static stretching for performance enhancement after an intense workout. We’ve known about the benefits of stretching for many decades and mobility is just the new-fangled way of saying the same thing. After all, at least a third of Kelly Starrett’s Becoming a Supple Leopard (that big book sitting in our lounge) is just that, yoga and stretching. As a yoga teacher, I am not here to sell you a revolutionary new system that’s going to shake up your fitness world. Why fix what isn’t broken? On the other hand, I am here to help prevent your body from being broken, so you can move faster, harder, and longer.  
Here are the top benefits to stretching – whether it’s in my yoga class, for a few minutes after your CrossFit workout, or on your living room floor before bed:

1. Stretching increases your flexibility and your range of motion

  • Incorporating hip flexor stretches may enable you to squat deeper, and improving the range of motion in your shoulders may mean you can execute a more dynamic push-up/burpee, and/or feel more comfortable in an overhead squat or snatch position.

2. Not only does stretching help you move better, conversely, it also improves stability in the major girdles like the hips and shoulders

  • Flowing through a downward-dog to a plank while keeping breadth through your collarbones and a light squeeze between your shoulder blades may help your stability so you can execute handstand push-ups more safely.
  • More stability also leads to more balance, which comes in handy in our daily lives but also when doing movements like pistol squats (or other unilateral movements).

3. Stretching improves circulation, which can shorten recovery time after injuries.

  • By stimulating blood flow to the muscles, stretching nourishes muscle tissue and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Now that’s a detox I can get behind!

4. Yoga in particular improves your posture and helps counteract all of the bad habits that we pick up by driving, hunching over our laptops, and slouching on the couch.

  • Finding your ideal alignment can then work wonders in your workouts, because you have a stronger starting point.

5. Stretching, but especially yoga, is a great opportunity to learn about how your body works.

  • I’ve been so impressed with the number of questions that come up in yoga at CrossFit 6S. Witnessing the lightbulb moments that students have is the best part of my job!

6. Stretching before and after a tough workout is crucial to preventing injury.

  • Again, I know you can’t always stay late after class to stretch, so at least try to avoid a hard stop
  • Keep walking to slow your heart rate and your breathing before diving back into the rest of your life.
  • And then come to my class on Sundays to meet your stretch quota for the week!
So what does all of that mean? Why should you sacrifice an hour out of your week to sit on a mat with some blocks and a strap? Ultimately, stretching will improve your performance. You’re putting in all of this work to build muscle and endurance, you may as well reap the full benefits!

I know you might still be hesitant, so here’s the best part. Yoga for Recovery at CrossFit 6S is designed just for you. It is not your average yoga class. I focus on creating space within the parts of the body that lifters work most: the neck/shoulders/chest, the lower back, the hip flexors, the glutes, and the hamstrings. I teach in an accessible and interactive way, and I create an environment where you can ask questions and make sure you get a variation of each pose that works for your body. I go very light on the meditation, and heavy on finding a way to make each student laugh out loud.

Still not convinced? Well then I’m pleased to invite you to come see – and feel – for yourself. CrossFit 6S is offering free yoga sessions for the month of September – every Sunday from 1-2pm, including Labour Day weekend.

Get back to school or work, and back to your body this September.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about stretches you should be doing after class, please ask me or one of your coaches!

Hope to see you on the mat soon!

​Who knows..Hank might even join you!

– Coach Lindsay
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