A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, incorporating breath, meditation, and specific postures, Yoga is widely practised for health and relaxation.? However,? yoga is not just physical exercises and asanas where you twist, turn and stretch your muscles. Many consider yoga as a way of life, one practised by many throughout the world.
Rock climbing, an adventure sport , is exciting and challenging and creates its own adrenaline rush like no other. It is a great full body workout and also works your inner core. Hanging on steep cliffs, placing hand and foot in coordination, moving vertically, diagonally, through overhangs, requires physical strength,? balance, efficiency of motion, and mental focus.
What is interesting is that these two seemingly different sports complement each other like a hand in a glove. How so? Experienced rock climbers? know that yoga helps the climber to develop his/her flexibility, balance, endurance, breathing and focus.
Flexibility helps with motion, particularly in the high steps, the twists and even the occasional dynamic burst. Practising yoga on a daily basis will improve flexibility, lengthening the fascia and giving the muscles more room to stretch and expand.
While not immediately apparent, when practiced daily and mindfully, yoga can help in building up the core strength which is essential to climbing. Strength-based asanas like the warriors, chair pose, boat pose really fire up the quads and engages the core. Floor asanas like wheel, bow pose, cobras stretch and strengthen the abdominal muscles. The twists, the lateral bends, the side planks lengthen the obliques and build up the side muscles. All these improve the efficacy of movement and stability on the rocks.
While breathing is something that comes instinctively, conscious, mindful breathing practiced in yoga takes the practice to another level. Focussing on the breath is usually preparation to meditation and helps the mind concentrate better. The flow of breath throughout the body also regulates the flow of oxygen, keeping the blood oxygenated, staying the mind and helping the climber focus on the task at hand.
In a nutshell, yoga and rock climbing are two complementary pursuits which build on each other?s strengths. Most importantly, they are fun!