Find your core. Trust yourself. Focus. Reach for it!
You are equally likely to hear these words of encouragement in the yoga class I teach at MetalMark Climbing & Fitness – or you could hear them in the bouldering area of the climbing gym.
That’s because – at least in my experience – yoga and rock climbing have so much in common.
I was a devoted yogi for almost a decade before I started climbing. When I began climbing at a gym in Fresno, many movements and techniques came naturally to me – thanks to yoga.
But as my love for climbing has developed, I haven’t stopped practicing yoga. In fact, I find that the yoga is more important than ever – to keep my muscles loose and relaxed, and to keep me mentally and emotionally cool.
Below are five poses that will make climbers love yoga
1. Lengthen your right arm away from your body, and turn your hand so your palm is facing the ceiling. Now use your left hand to bend your fingers back, as if your finger nails were moving toward your wrist. Do you feel pain? Yoga poses can loosen that tightness in your forearm
2. Clasp your hands behind your back. Lift up your heart and chest, and then try to reach the clasped hands toward the sky. Do you feel tightness across your shoulders? As you’re building muscle in your arms and shoulders, it feels great to loosen up those areas, too
3. Lie on your back, and extend both legs. Then pull the right knee in toward your chest, and clasp your hands around the shin. Relax your shoulders! Then use the left hand to guide the right knee toward the left side, into a gentle twist. Extend the right arm out to the side. Bonus points if your spine goes crack-crack-crack. This feels good to just about anybody
4. You’ve spent all evening climbing up walls. Now, try legs-up-the-wall pose: Scoot your bum to a wall, extend your legs up the wall, and relax your back onto the ground. Your body should be in the shape of an “L.” Breathe, and possibly fall asleep. This pose also feels great after a long car ride
5. Take a comfortable seated position – maybe on a block or blanket, and maybe with your back against a wall. Close your eyes, and begin to breathe. Try counting your` breath, to prevent your mind from straying too far from the moment. Know that blissful sensation when you’re climbing, and every ounce of your energy is focused on your hands, your feet, and where you’re moving to next? You can achieve that same sensation, just by sitting quietly.
Want to learn more? If you live in Fresno, stop by MetalMark at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday mornings for my Vinyasa-style yoga class, tailored toward the needs of rock climbers!