I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
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Monday 22 April 2013

Why Yoga works for climbing, by Stevie Haston

Yoga works for me but it won't necessarily work for you. Why is this? Because you won't let it!
Yoga isn't competitive streching, neither is it just wearing a turban, likewise it isn't showing an over stretched bit of earth colored organic cotton across your Mulbandha!
Yoga can be a very integrated part of a hugely complex life, if all you want are a few stretches that might help your climbing, well take them out of yoga and use them, yoga wont mind! If what you want is something to help control your stress levels and regulate your breathing and your being, you wont find it so easy to dip into yoga and pick what you want. This is generally what people want nowadays, they want to "pick and mix", but it's more than tricky, and that's why yoga doesn't necessarily work. For the same reason that just climbing, won't help your climbing, yoga won't 'cure' your climbing. For the same reason training on a fingerboard won't cure your climbing, yoga won't cure your climbing. Are you starting to get it? Climbing is very holistic, much more so than we ever thought.

Earlier today I watched a video of possibly the most famous rock climber trying to enter into some yoga stretching and flexibility and coordination, it was yoga, and basically he wasn't very good. Some peoples reaction to this is that he doesn't need it, well my reaction is that he does, but it's also clear that his climbing skills must be very great. On another occasion I suggested to the other greatest climber in the world that perhaps yoga might be helpful to him he demurrred, quite rightly pointing out how flexible and successful he was at climbing, I demurred back, perhaps 'he could get better', and especially at the mind control aspects and stress related parts.
Anyway I found all this very interesting this morning talking about yoga with some one who understands yoga more than I, or my wife. My journey in yoga is just starting, hopefully this journey will be long enough to make it all worth while. Flexible I may be, but my mind can lock up tighter than a brake pad. My lungs are strong but who is it that controls them. Failure in climbing can be brought about by a million things, not just flexibility, yoga isn't just about flexibility.

Anyway if you want to try some and you are in Ariege for the Ax les Thermes Explos Film Festival you could try Laurence's class for climbers. If you aren't as close, you can try something else, but try and remember yoga is a bit like yogurt, there's raspberry with additives  yogurt, and 'organic', and everything in between. Good luck with finding a yoga that fits what you want out of it.