Women’s Only: Cynthia Wehr Balances Bikram Yoga & CrossFit

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Finding the Balance Within

Cynthia Wehr, 2-time World Yoga champion (2005 & 2007) and owner of Bikram Yoga Mountain View, took up CrossFit about a year ago. She shares her insights on the similarities between Bikram yoga and CrossFit… and how practicing both has given her a greater sense of balance in her own life.

I’ve been practicing yoga for sixteen years and Bikram Yoga in particular for eleven years. I opened a Bikram Yoga studio in Mountain View in July 2011, and it has been a tremendous feat physically and mentally to not only open a business, but also to stay strong in body, heart and mind.

I first heard about CrossFit from Cindy Lau (a Bikram Yogi) many years ago, and I remember thinking that it seemed like she was doing some kind of bootcamp workout. I would see her post her WOD results on Facebook, and it all looked like some bizarre mathematic coding.

It was not until my good friend and student Greg Bostrom — who is also a CrossFit Silicon Valley devotee — seriously suggested that I should try CrossFit that I reconsidered the possibility of trying it. Being heavily safe in my yoga bubble for quite some time, I took his suggestion to heart. His encouraging got me thinking it was time to get out of my world and try something new.

And new it was. At first I was intimidated by the amazingly strong athletes as well as the equipment I was not familiar with.  Seeing barbells, gymnastics rings, and weights made my yogi heart cringe with unfamiliarity. However, owning the confidence I have gained though my yoga practice and teaching, I figured the only way to give CrossFit a chance was to stop thinking and just do it. To let go of my fears because I’ve already trained myself in many ways to let go; as we say in yoga, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. My fears quickly changed into desire for deeper strength: mental and physical.

CrossFit has added tremendous meaning to words such as patience, strength, determination, willpower — words that we mention in yoga every single day.
It has now been a year since I first set foot into CFSV (with a few breaks in that year), but I am happy to say that I’m officially hooked. Every CrossFit workout is a challenge in every possible way. It has added tremendous meaning to words such as patience, strength, determination, willpower — words that we mention in yoga every single day. I love finding the intricate details of similarities that both CrossFit and yoga entail. Perhaps most importantly, the community aspect of Crossfit is very similar to that of Bikram Yoga. We all encourage, support, and look out for another. We are quick to correct and never fail to commend someone’s achievement.

CrossFit has also become a major energy and emotion lifter in my life. My father passed away recently and the emotional pain killed so much of all that I teach and preach: patience, strength, compassion, etc. CrossFit has helped me tremendously to overcome. When I am about to perform a snatch or a kettlebell swing, I can’t think of anything else – NOTHING! Even if the endorphin kick is a biochemical mood enhancer… So be it! I never fail to leave CrossFit feeling re-charged and clear-headed, and this energy feeds directly into how I take on the rest of the day.

Bikram Yoga and CrossFit may be polar opposites in the physical demands, but they are so alike in the heart of the exercise. The super powers that we yogis tap into at the moment of doing a posture is the same as the drive and commitment required of CrossFitters.
My secret power lies in knowing that greatness is limitless.
For those who have never tried it, Bikram yoga is no music-playing, chanting kind of yoga. It is stretching to the maximum, which complements the compression of joints that takes place in CrossFit. And in life we strive for balance — in body, mind and spirit.

I want to thank the coaches and the community at my box, CFSV, for making me recognize the balance within and teaching me that it is possible to be stronger and greater than I once imagined. My secret power lies in knowing that greatness is limitless.

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