Just a massive hype or truth hidden underneath?
„Yoga for climbers“, „Yoga for better Sex“ and even „Yoga for business“. These days it seems like there litterally is Yoga for everything. Is it just a massive hype or might there be a little bit of truth hidden underneath?Com’on sunshine, get curious to dig a little deeper with me and find out what makes Yoga so special.
See for yourself · why from now on no climber should undererstimate the power of developing a personal, regular Yoga routine for a more joyful life – on and off the wall · and after all, as soon as you’re convinced, how we’ll get you started. Yoga and climbing are the perfect match; like in any good relationship both have quite a lot in common and yet they complement each other extremely well. When yoga meets climbing both intertwine on such a deep level that it enables its practicioners to grow far beyond their limits.
What makes Yoga so special?
Yoga, translated from the Sanskrit, means nothing less than „to unite“. So Yoga literally connects us not only to the core of our beings, but also to the entire environment. There are many different styles of Yoga, yet the main principle all styles have in common is to link the movement with the breath. You guessed right: This is where the magic happens. When we link movement with breath, we get to regulate body and mind functions to which we otherwise don’t have conscious access to. When your breath flow is deep and steady you’re actually telling your body: “everything’s fine. No need to worry. Time to relax”. This stimulates the parasympathic nervous system (vagus nerve). The parasympathic nervous system causes f.e. a decreasing of the heart rate and improves digestion (with which so many of us are struggling). So let’s conclude: The breath is the bridge between the body and the mind.
Hard Facts: Benefits of Yoga for climbers
Let’s take a closer look on the specific benefits on how a regular Yoga practice improves climbing.
· Feel more in tune with body and mind through moving meditation
Yoga naturally comes with the benefit of being deeply relaxing (due to the stimulation of the parasympathic nervous system, see above). Therefore, practicing Yoga will certainly lead you to feeling more in tune with your body and mind. By listening to the own rhythmic breathing, Yoga becomes a moving meditation which calms distracting patterns of the mind. So for all of you monkeys who are having a hard time sitting down to meditate, the perfect compromise to still make use of the neverending benefits of meditation.
· Increased intuition
We’re so used to train and stretch our muscles. Though, sometimes what we really need to learn is to train and stretch the mind; enabling our intuition to guide the way.Each of us was born with a miracolous gift called intuition. By learning to listen to this tender voice within your heart; trusting your intuition, you enable your soul to guide you (the intuition is the way of how your soul speaks to you). So usually, your heart knows the way much better than the mind does. When practicing Yoga, we actually practice learning to listen and faithfully follow the given direction. Often times while climbing we simply don’t have the time to think about specific moves, we just have to go for it, based on intuition. So when we’ve got a strong intuition, it’s more likely that we make the right choices.You will certainly climb more relaxed (which itself already will safe you some much needed power in your forarms) because you’re not afraid anymore. You develop this sense of trust into life, having the faith that you’ll be guided and guarded.
· Level up your energy
Even though Yoga brings along so many benefits for body and mind, Yoga still remains a deeply spiritual practice, after all. Believe it or not, but by practicing Yoga you’ll raise the life energy flowing within to so far unexpected heighs.
· Dealing with success and failure
Yoga will make you feel home within. You will no longer need external approval. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have goals anymore or that you don’t care about tributes for all the great things you’re doing. It just means that your way of dealing with either of it – success or failure – will change in a healthy way. You will start to love yourself, no matter what.
Practice for self-acceptance :
- Lay on your back. Pull the heels towards the glutes. Connect the soul of your feet. Drop the knees outwards in the direction of the floor. (For a more gentle variation feel free to put something supporting underneath your knees.)
- Put one hand onto your heart, the other one onto your stomach.
- Inhalation: Breathe in love, trust, contentment, joy and happiness.
- Exhalation: Breathe out gratitude and doubt.
· Consciousness changes everything
Consciousness works as an illuminating light to the shadows within. By bringing our shadows onto the surface and into our awareness, we get the chance to actually work on them.No matter how well we might think we hide, our shadows will keep chasing us until we are willing to do the work that must be done. You’re scared of falling? Why? Could it be that underneath lays the fear of handing over control? The fear of letting go and trust something or someone else than yourself?Don’t be surprised, if you find out that Yoga shines its light on stuff that’s going on in your subconscious mind you’ve had no idea you were dealing with.
- Sit in an upright position. Bend your knees and connect the soul of your feet.
- Bend your torso forward, in the direction of your feet. (For a more gentle version use a bolster or pillow underneath your torso)
- Place your hands onto the flor, palms facing upwards. You’re emphasizing that you’re ready to learn and receive.
Tension is created when we refuse to accept things for how they are;we deny to go with the flow;we live in the false belief that the Universe works against, rather than for us.Choose to walk through life with the flexible mind of a Yogi and it’ll magically ripple its effects on your body, too.
– Franziska Lenz
· Improve flexibility & range of motion
Yoga will make you feel lighter & less tensed. Due to an improvement in flexibility and therefore being able to open your hips wider, you’ll be able to keep your hips closer to the wall or place your foot a little higher, a little further away than usually. This will, after all, save your precious strength since you’ll be able to shift your center of gravity exactly where it’s supposed to be. Additionally, heel hooks above your head or any sort of super intense drop knees will be limiting you no more.
Practice the “lizard”:
- Come into a high lunge. The front leg is bend (90° angle), the leg in the back stays straight.
- Place the palms onto the ground, supporting the torso. Stay on your palms or come down onto your forearms.
- Shift your hips towards the front to intensify the stretch.
- Optional: Come onto the outer edge of the front foot. Gently drop your knee outwards to simultaneously open up the hip as well.
· Feel better, move better: Proprioception (body awareness)
Most likely you will also develop a better feeling in general (f.e. if the foothold is trustworthy or if you’re about to slip) due a better proprioception. The improvement in body awareness, will make you feel more secure and increase your selfconfidence. To conclude: the better the climber knows the own body, the better he or she climbs.
· Use your fuel & feel lighter
We literally eat to fuel our bodies. But what if we can’t make use of it due to indigestion?! If the digestive functions are distracted it has trimendous side effects not only on our climbing performance, but on our everyday lives as well. When practicing Yoga we twist and bend our bodies in uncommen ways, which will improve the peristaltik (movement of your entestine) and therefore improve digestion.
· Prepare to get strong, I mean: really strong.
It’s bullet proof. Your body will change. Read that again. Not only do you gain mental strength & willpower by practicing Yoga, but also physically you will feel massive improvements in body tension & core strength. Yoga will make you discover muscles you never knew you had before.
· The breath is what keeps us alive
Personally, I considermaking use of the Yogic breathing techniques as the most beneficial aspect to improve ones climbing performance. Imagine yourself being shocked, or fighting through a hardcore crux. Do you care about your breath at all or are you overwhelmed by everything else? Could it be that you even hold your breath because you’re so focused on everything else? The breath is what keeps us alive. It contains Prana, our life force. When we’re holding our breath in those intense moments of our lives, these moments when we actually would need it more than ever, we’re actually restricing new life force to enter and support our bodies and muscles. When practicing Yoga, the major focus lay on the keeping the breath flow steady. Inhale and exhale. No matter how hard the Asana (posture) might be like. When this steady flow of breath becomes a habit, we’re unstopable.
About Prana: Just because we can’t perceive something in the common way our senses are used to, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. By practicing deep awareness we train ourselves to experience this which usually cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, felt or heard. Ok yes, I got you. You may not believe in the existance of life force (yet) and that’s totally fine. Just imagine the same thing with air. Your body needs air. Take it away and you die. Your muscles and, after all, your most important muscle – the brain – need oxygen in order to work properly.
· Injury prevention & muscular imbalances
Yoga isn’t only crucial for improvement of the climbers performance. Moreover, it also plays an important role when it comes to injury prevention. Climbing is pretty much a full body workout. Yet there are some muscles that are neglected and in order to maintain healthy and well balanced it is just as important to tain these muscles as well. The repetitive ‘pulling’ motion in climbing is the complementary movement to the repetitive ‘pushing’ motion in yoga. Therefore, yoga helps to open up the typically often closed down (shoulders pulled forward) chest of a climber. Which, by the way, affects the way we breathing again. We can’t breathe as fully as we could otherwise. Again, this means less oxygen for the muscle which then leads to a decrease in our climbing performance.After all, Yoga increases the level of joint stability which often causes injuries in climbing.
Practice “Melting heart”:
- Come into table top position.
- Walk your hands forward to the top of your mat while sinking your chest towards the floor.
- Keep the hips high, facing the sky.
In general, let’s say: you’ll climb much more efficient when spicing your regular climbing routine with a little extra of Yoga. Instead of fighting with, you’ll find the rhythm of the route, and smoothly, joyfully vertical dance your way upwards with effortless ease.
Convinced? Great! Let’s get you started.
Come and join me on the mat. I’m so excited for your journey to start!
Thanks for reading!
Shine on, Franzi xX