Is yoga ideal for climbers?
Yoga and climbing are inherently complementary. While looking at the basic biomechanics that is required to climb, yoga provides a variety of dynamic movements that translate perfectly to the climbing wall. One of the most effective ways that one can improve their overall health and range of motion is to move dynamically as a whole, along with directly isolating and working with specific joint and muscular complexes.
Since neither yoga or climbing work exclusively with only one soft tissue chain, the overall styles of movement not only complement one another but help work toward correcting muscular imbalances that may occur from repetitive overuse in one area.
Reasons To Include Yoga In Your Climbing Regimen:
1. Mental Resilience & Focus
Mental acuity while climbing can be just as important as physical strength. One of the cornerstones of yoga is the practice of cultivating a sturdy ability to remain focused within all contexts that one may encounter. When finding ourselves within psychologically challenging scenarios, like on the crag, maintaining a calm and focused demeanor is essential. Utilizing elements of intentional breath practices is one of the skill sets that yoga offers, helping practitioners to stay calm and clear regardless of the challenges ahead.
2. Foot Health
Since most who climb do so in incredibly tight fitting climbing shoes, it can be very harsh on the feet. While said footwear works well to support functional climbing techniques, it doesn’t work well in supporting overall functional foot health. Yoga emphasizes natural barefoot movement, using both seated and standing balancing postures to help build resilience and strength in your feet while helping to restore a more natural and functional toe splay pattern.
3. Strength, Endurance, and Confidence
While there are some situations where yoga utilizes sustained passive loading (aka stretching), it’s only one very small piece of the practice. Embracing a more modern style of yoga that’s rooted in current exercise science and biomechanics, we’ve found that this practice does wonders for building functional strength and endurance. As you become stronger in your practice, you can expect to increase your overall confidence both on your yoga mat, while you’re climbing, and in all other aspects of your daily life.
4. Body Awareness/Increased Proprioception
Proprioception refers to one’s ability to sense and use their body with awareness within space. While generally heightening body awareness and proprioception are beneficial for most all things, it’s especially useful and even essential while climbing. Being acutely aware of your body in space and in relation to its own moving parts and surrounding environment gives you a definite one-up in terms of moving with intelligence and intuition.
5. Active Warm-up/Recovery
Yoga is the perfect regimen to add to your pre and post climbing routines to help prevent injuries. Prioritizing warming up your muscles, joints, and tendons, along with giving them time to recover are important steps in supplementing your passion for climbing and keeping your body moving. Yoga emphasizes the movement of fluids that aid in better overall circulation and joint lubrication, therein being an excellent complement for either before or after you climb.
Dynamic Movement Begins Here at VE
Yoga offers the opportunity to actively increase your joint and muscular health to keep your body happy and strong while you climb. Since every yoga session is a sequence of moves, being able to see each part within its context of the greater whole is what cultivates a climbing style that’s smooth and well supported. In our yoga practice, you have the opportunity to become more attuned to the way in which your body functions and supports itself as a whole.
Moral of the story? Get strong everywhere! Check out some of our yoga classes offered exclusively at our Twin-Cities Bouldering facility!