5 Ways Yoga and CrossFit are Basically the Same Damn Thing

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The Yogi and the CrossFitter. Two different species? Far from it. Hello. My name is Kari Levine and I am that “mixed- breed” you perceive. For me, Yoga and CrossFit have pretty much always been connected, having practiced them together for nearly three years. In 2013, I received my 200-hour yoga teaching certification and became a CrossFit L1 coach. I also teach yoga to CrossFitters on a weekly basis, bridging the gap between the two disciplines for those willing to listen and experience.
Through my own practice and study, I have learned that the two are not so very different and that lessons learned from one can be augmented by the other.

The following list explores five ways that Yoga and CrossFit can be seen as one in the same. Keep an open mind as you read:

1. Both facilitate deep internal exploration through body awareness. The physical skills learned in each may look different on the surface, but the acute focus of even the most minute physical details, and the control to tend to all of them in perfect synchronicity with their physiological requirements — is the same. The capacity for self-awareness (physical and otherwise) that this cultivates is limitless, quite literally.

CrossFit and Yoga each require a well-managed ego

2. CrossFit and Yoga each require a well-managed ego. Both disciplines are intended to be practiced with…well, with discipline. They are supposed to be learned progressively. Basic skills are mastered first. Those requiring more strength, awareness, and coordination evolve slowly, with complete competence reached at each progressive step before moving forward. Yes, we are training the body, but only by way of disciplining the ego. When CrossFit and Yoga are practiced with this discipline, the strength — both physical and mental — that is cultivated is authentic and unwavering.
3. They are both an opportunity to recognize and experience intense presence. Yoga, CrossFit, or any other activity that requires laser-like focus on the body, immediately glues our consciousness to right here, right now. While neither activity can provide us lasting presence in-and-of themselves, they both awaken us to the power that presence holds. Once the peace, quietude, and stillness of presence is known, one cannot help themselves but to seek it in other areas of life as well.

4. CrossFit and Yoga both train us to respond to stress, rather than react to it. Both introduce tremendous stress. Asking us to contort our bodies into seemingly impossible shapes, sometimes in a hot, crowded room. Requiring that we push our limits of strength, speed, and endurance while loud music bounces from wall to wall, while others scramble about in our midst. In both, great stress is endured, and in both we are asked to remain calm, to stay focused, and to complete the tasks at hand without adding our own, self-created, internal stress to the mix. They teach us that while we cannot always control our outer world, we can ensure our inner world is poised and ready to not just endure life’s stressors, but to actually grow and become stronger because of them.
5. Numbers 1-4 share the same root that makes these transformative principles possible – Breath. From accessing our body’s functional potential, to keeping the ego in check, to finding presence, to managing stress — these all share a common link that not only makes them possible, but also infuses CrossFit and Yoga with their transformative potential.

The breath. Breath, in both practices, is our anchor to our body

The breath. Breath, in both practices, is our anchor to our body, our power, our focus, and our ability to bring all of these together is a spectacular experience of egoless presence. One breath, one rep, one pose, one moment at a time.
In truth, the words “Yoga” and “CrossFit” in these five points can been replaced with “learning to play the banjo,” “waiting tables,” “playing basketball,” or “insert-any-other-activity-here.” Though the lessons may be arrived at through slightly different means, any activity performed with awareness holds within it a transformative power. And just like Yoga and CrossFit, the transformation that happens on the mat, under the barbell, or behind the banjo, ultimately matters not. But rather, it’s the transformation that unfolds in our lives as a result — that’s where the real magic happens.

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Kari-Ann is a freelance writer, yoga teacher, and fitness coach. Her approach to all three is to get down and dirty with the realness and rawness of being human. Kari-Ann believes that spirituality is experienced in all the dust and divinity that is the earth, our body, and the seen and unseen. Her passion is to be a continual student of her heart, body, soul, and mind, and to share what she learns with others.


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