How Yoga Can Help with Rock Climbing

There are tremendous benefits of yoga practice. In fact, these benefits go beyond our mats. From dealing with your family to rock climbing, the practice builds mental and physical balance, coordination, and strength.  Yoga also provides a different perspective and reshapes how we undertake new endeavors.  As we focus on our breathing while in a challenging pose on the mat, we learn how to concentrate on the internal rather than being affected by our senses.

The mountains are calling, and I must go – John Muir

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Certainly, my yoga practice brought me to one of the most beautiful places on earth – the Rocky Mountains. This was my first visit to Colorado, where I fell in love with the Rockies right there and then.  Mixed with my newly found love for the outdoors and a quest to be more adventurous. This was the moment when everything clicked.

Significantly, one of my teachers, Mr. TKV Desikachar taught his last yoga therapy lecture at the Colorado Yoga Journal in the U.S.  As I was selecting my classes, I’ve noticed all-day outdoor events offering yoga and rock-climbing.  Although I was very nervous about my fear of heights, I signed up.  Can things get any better?

Adventure Day: Rock Climbing 

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After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. – Nelson Mandela

It was one of these amazing and crystal clear fall days.  The day started with partner yoga led by the Yoga Slackers team. Hike to the top of the mountains was next on the menu. Finally, the central part of the adventure has begun.

As one of my friends, Jen, noted in one of her articles what it means to be adventurous:

ADVENTUROUS – adjective
willing to take risks or to try out new methods, ideas, or experiences.

I am super brave and adventurous, sitting on my couch as I am planning my adventures. But, in reality, on my first climb, I was in the midst of the mountain, paralyzed with fear and stuck.  It wasn’t very comfortable. And had to remind me that I signed up for this voluntarily. In the end, I had no choice but to move. Yoga came to the rescue.

Yoga of Rock Climbing

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Connecting to the moment, the breath, the movement – this is what I was striving for – finding the oneness that can exist with all the things in nature and inside me.

In climbing, the goal is to move upwards, using the toes and fingers, along with the rock lines. The sport requires a significant degree of mental focus and physical strength, and agility. You have to be present in each movement. You must make decisions, balance the body, assess the situation, and take a step. Failure to maintain this balance means you can be in danger of falling off the rock. At least, I found a good way to quiet my mind’s chatter!

Even though my Yoga Slackers are amazing teachers and my safety was their top priority, my mind was flooded with fear.  As a result, I had the worst first climb and was ready to give up. However, I hate giving up!  So I gave it another try.

On my second climb, I focused on my feet as I’ve done millions of times in my warrior sequence on the mat. I take controlled breath as soon as my mind started shouting at me that the rope will break at the top of the mountain, who do you think you are, etc. Eventually, my climb became a meditative practice. I focused on the present. I kept coming back to the same climb over and over for the rest of that day. Finally, I was able to enjoy myself.

The following year I went climbing on the east coast a few times. After that, I kept coming back to Colorado over the next six years. Eventually, I took one of the biggest risks in my life and moved to Colorado.

To conclude, don’t let the fear paralyze you from living an adventurous life. Practice yoga to bring your mind in a state of attention, pack a bag and let’s go!

Thanks for stopping by!

What’s your adventure story?

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