Yoga as an Effective Cross Training Tool by Meagan Santa

I’m not the only one who has been spending more time outside than on my mat. Summer always encourages me to go on more hikes and walks on the beach. Many of my yoga friends and students have been sharing how sore they are from cycling or running the stairs. It’s great that we are physically active outside but it also means our bodies are using muscles that may not be put to work this hard year round. The solution: yoga.


My fitness routine includes primarily yoga and home workouts that range from strength training to cardio. I use yoga as a means to recover my body and keep me feeling grounded. Even athletes like Lebron James have shared how including yoga into their training regimen has enhanced their performance - physically and mentally. So let’s consider how cross-training with yoga 1-2x a week minimum will benefit you!

Mental Focus

Breath is a huge focus in vinyasa yoga where we move the body with the breath. This type of concentration keeps us present in the moment which allows us to practice mindfulness and increase our mental focus. If you’ve ever gone on a run or cycled a long distance, you know how it feels when the negative thoughts begin to flood in. Practicing yoga can help you overcome negative thoughts which is a huge benefit at the end of a marathon or half way through your sprint up the stairs!



Muscle fatigue is not uncommon when you are more physically active or using muscles you wouldn’t normally. Yoga is an incredibly healthy avenue for recovering the body. In higher impact forms of exercise, your body absorbs shock and repeatedly contracts muscles in use which causes a shortening in the muscle group. If not recovered properly, this can lead to injury. When following a well-rounded yoga class, the muscles will have been lengthened out and lactic acid removed. Many students leave class feeling like they have more space in their body because the shock wave absorbed has been able to dissipate.

If you include any inverted poses in your practice like legs up the wall or supported bridge, you are allowing the body to rest the valves within the circulatory system and encourage a fresh return of blood to the heart.

It’s important to keep in mind that yoga is about tuning into your self to find out what your own body needs on that specific day. There will be times where you can push yourself and other times where gentle movement would be more beneficial. This distinction is vital to know on a recovery day!

Additional Benefits

Pairing any other type of movement with yoga allows you to improve your strength, endurance and flexibility in both. Flowing from pose to pose with your breath as a guide trains your cardiovascular system for endurance and teaches you how to best communicate with your body. Yoga is also known to reduce inflammation at the joints and muscles, increase heart health, strengthen the nervous system, increase muscular strength, fight memory degeneration and oxygenate the blood.

I hope this information will encourage you to roll out your mat at least 1-2 times a week for all the health benefits above and to increase your performance in other sports and activities. If you can’t make it in studio as often as you’d like, check out In Fine Feather’s online classes to do from home HERE.


Fit Flow Class

Additionally if you aren’t someone who is regularly active off your mat or you just need a good sweat, fit flow is a great class to add to your schedule. IFF offers it twice a week - Tuesday evenings at 7:00-8:00pm with Andrea King (community class) and Saturday mornings at 8:30-9:30am with me.  Save your spot online HERE or arrive to class 10-15 minutes to get comfortable.

Fit flow will make you sweat and challenge the way you look at modern vinyasa yoga. This class will move through vinyasa flows with focus on the muscle groups that help strengthen your practice in a more obvious way. Feel the entire core engage, pulse through squats and lunges, and elevate the heart rate through higher intensity sequences. Don’t let the word FIT scare you, trust that your Fit flow is here to help strengthen your body and your mind and their connection in an unconventional way. Flow and sweat to fun playlists and leave feeling like you’ve left everything on the mat.

More About Meagan

Meagan is a graduate of the In Fine Feather Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training Program, the assistant manager at the studio, a lifestyle coach and yoga instructor. Learn more about Meagan HERE. Come meet Meagan on the mat at In Fine Feather Yoga by checking the class schedule HERE and find her bio HERE.