I just got back from a climbing taster session at White Spider Climbing – a little treat I gave myself in honour of my 42nd birthday tomorrow – and I’ve been wracking my brain as to how to incorporate yoga into the climbing experience.
I mean you could talk about breathing. About how proper breathing keeps you calm and helps you climb better.
Or you could talk about relaxation. How keeping calm and relaxed helps you not get too tired too quickly (because you’re all tense and burning up energy) which in turn enhances your ability to climb.
Or you could talk about mindfulness. How keeping your mind on where you are and what you are doing allows you to find a good route, while at the same time stopping you from panicking as you go higher and higher.
But all of that applies to pretty much anything you do. It’s not unique to climbing. So how specifically does yoga help you with something like climbing and bouldering? Well, I’ll tell you: It’s upper body strength.
That’s the thing people in our group (all beginners) commented on the most; how much effort it was in your arms, shoulders, and upper back.
Now I’m not going to tell you I found it easy peasy. I still had to put a lot of effort in. But I have no doubt that if I didn’t do yoga on a regular basis, exercising my upper body and building up its strength and flexibility, I’d have had a much harder time of it than I did.
All told it was great fun, but in the end it was over far too soon for me. I wanted more! In fact I’m already looking forward to going back to have another go. And if yoga helps me up that wall then its just one more reason for me to keep up with my sadhana (as if I needed any more, lol).