As you can tell from my previous blogs I cannot speak enough about the beneficial role yoga can play in CrossFit WODs. To that end I thought is might be helpful to my fellow CrossFitters to introduce a new yoga pose every couple of weeks that is fairly easy to do on one’s own and has dramatic benefits. To kick off this series I have decided to cover two poses that go hand and hand and that we utilize at CrossFit Scottsdale. That being Upward Facing and Downward Facing Dog.
Upward Facing Dog or Urdhva (upward) Mukha (face) Svanasana (dog pose) in Sanskrit is designed to stretch the chest shoulders and abdomen while strengthening the spine, arms and wrists. CrossFitters with back injuries or who are currently pregnant should use caution with this pose. There are other poses and modifications that can be used instead….just ask.
To perform upward facing dog lay on your stomach and place palms firmly on the ground just above your hip bones. Legs should be extended directly behind you with your knees and toes on the floor. On an inhale gently straighten your arms lifting your chest off the ground. Your pelvis and legs may come off the ground slightly as elbows fully lock out. Palms should be spread wide and the inner part of your elbows should be rotating forwards. Shoulders should be pressing down away from the ears. Buttocks should be firm but not flexed.
Downward Facing Dog or Adho (downward) Mukha (face) Svanasana (dog pose) in Sanskrit stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands while strengthening the arms and legs. To move into this pose start on your hands and knees with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and knees under your hips. Tuck your toes under and begin to straighten your arms and legs on an exhale. Your heels should press towards the floor while your hips and tailbone press up towards the ceiling. Fingers should be spread wide on the floor with the pressure mainly in the knuckle of each your forefinger. Inner arms should be lifting from the wrists towards the shoulders and your shoulder blades should be firm and drawn towards your tailbone.
Both of these poses are great to utilize before or after any CrossFit WOD and they are fairly simple to perform. Please don’t ever hesitate to ask me in any class if you need help with these poses or if you would just like me to check or adjust your form. More poses will be coming in future blogs but nothing is as good a just jumping into your first CrossFit Scottsdale yoga class. I hope to see you soon!