When some friends took me climbing (or rather „bouldering“) for the first time, I was surprised at how easy it was for me to pull myself up on the wall. I had never tried anything in that area before, not even a „Klettersteig“, as I’m a little bit afraid of heights and never felt like challenging myself in that way.
Yet on my first bouldering session, I wasn’t even thinking about the height, just about how much fun it is to find your path up the wall. And since my yoga routine had perfectly equipped my body to do this, I didn’t have to think much about power or strength either, as apparently yoga is match made in heaven for all climbers!
And since there’s little I enjoy more than sharing my passion for yoga, I’ve written all my thoughts on this down for the German online magazine climbing.de, where you can read all about the benefits & effects of yoga and climbing in German.
Full Body Power
With all its „vinyasas“ (short but powerful little sequences of poses that link different flows or asanas together), yoga is not only a great strength builder for your whole body, but also a great cardio workout.
Standing exercises like the Warrior poses build up strength in the legs, while arm balances fire up the shoulders as well as fingers and wrists, and inversions tackle your core. (Try it out for yourself with our series of Yogarda Yoga Tutorials!)
Flexible – physically & mentally
Yet next to muscular power, yoga also increases flexibility as all poses incorporate a certain amount of stretching, as well as strengthening. This is especially beneficial for the range of motion of the hip joint, allowing you to place your foot higher and further away from you. You’ll also be able to twist more easy and smoother in your upper body and maybe even increase the reach of your arms through better mobility in the shoulders.
After a day in the rocks, holding a certain asana will stretch muscles and ligaments back out, cool your system and calm your excited mind back down to earth.
Breath & Concentration
As everything, your ability to keep this calm during your climb and throughout stressful situations on the mountain will improve with practice. And since most of us don’t have the pleasure of living with a boulder, rock or climbing wall in our backyard, practicing these skills on the yoga mat is a great alternative. In order to carry your whole weight on your hands or balance on one leg with your body twisted into a preztel, you need to be full concentrated on the Here & Now – as you do climbing up a stone wall. And the long, even breath that you cultivate with your yoga practice is an incredible tool to anchor yourself in the present, where ever you are and what ever you’re doing.
From Mat to Rocks & Back
Hence yoga is great preparation for climbing, as training over the winter as well as warm up before a session. And vice versa your experiences in the mountains can also enhance and propel your yoga practice. Witnessing your own strength in the rocks and overcoming your fears can lift your whole life up to new heights you might never have imagined before.
If you’re looking forward to some new experiences this Spring and are keen to get the most out of this match made in heaven, join me for the Yogarda Yoga & Climbing Camp Spring Edition in Arco, Italy from May 5-7 2017! Get in touch if you have any more questions and book your spot through our host Zoo Camping.