Cello Solos and Hard Rock Bands: Yoga vs Crossfit

Last night after my third yoga class, I commented on Facebook that yoga is really the same as Crossfit but yoga is like playing a violin solo and Crossfit is like being in a hard rock band.  I was wrong.  Yoga is more like playing a cello solo.  Violin solos can get a little wild, and yoga is all about control and smooth breathing, like a cellist.

Really they are two polar opposite techniques trying to achieve the same thing: core strength.  No matter what type of yoga you enjoy, that’s what it’s all about.  For Crossfit, the end result is core strength, but layered with biceps, quads, and six packs.  Yoga revels in quiet inner peace and staying in touch with how each of your individual muscles move and feel.  Crossfit is about loud music, personal bests, and pushing yourself to the limit.  Yoga isn’t supposed to hurt; with Crossfit it’s inevitable.

Since this is all about fibromyalgia, what about that pain?  First, with Crossfit (sticking to bootcamp rather than adding weightlifting), 90% of the pain AFTER working out was muscle pain.  That oh-so-you-think-you’re-an-athlete type pain.  During the workout, the joint pain that I had was largely in the hips and knees.  If I was very careful about how I moved, I didn’t injure those joints.  When I added weightlifting, everything went downhill.  I can definitively say that weightlifting is not good for my personal brand of fibromyalgia.  However, the extreme aerobic conditioning was excellent.

Second, yoga.  I am hoping that it’s too early to make judgments, but the pain in yoga is almost entirely joint pain.  My hands are swelling with wrist flexion exercises.  My hips are literally getting stuck in one position with a tremendous amount of pain.  That pain is lingering well beyond doing the exercises.  Stairs and my knees are in a fight to the death, and even the motion of sitting down in my chair is flaring into 9 out of 10 pain scales for hips, knees, and back.  There is very little muscle pain (which was actually a satisfying pain).  I’ll be modifying some positions to take pressure off my hips.  I’ll need to figure out how to utilize my leg muscles more than my wrists and hands when balancing in some precarious position.  And when they say yoga is not supposed to hurt, it’s worthwhile to note that there are very few motions that don’t hurt, and yoga – at least at this point – is underscoring the pain regular motions create.

I’m not going to stop.  My plan is to get through this research trial and then decide.  My body is not used to slow sustained movements.  I’m hoping it settles in and appreciates all that extra oxygen.

After the yoga study, I plan to jump into a pool and try to learn to swim and see how swimming laps works out.  Going back to bootcamp is definitely an option for next year.  At this moment, while I sit here feeling like I’m sitting on legos, yoga is not on my radar for the future.  Six and a half more weeks to convince me….

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