Yoga Classes for Agility Providence RI
East Providence, RI
Hatha & Gentle Vinyasa
Warm, transcendent vinyasa
Integrative Yoga Therapy and Vinyasa
Garden City, RI
33 years teaching experience, eclectic all levels
Yoga for Agility
By Lizzy Scully
The beauty of a consistent yoga practice rests in the sense of “aliveness” it creates in your body—tingling with energy from the crown of your head to balls of your feet, you feel, quite literally, ready for anything. Yoga lets you transcend what you think your body can do and lets you move from a deeper source, one beyond thought and even judgment. Once you feel that kind of trust in your body, even a sport as intimidating as climbing becomes within reach.
Despite climbing’s reputation as an extreme, reckless sport, where ripped athletes cavalierly risk their lives and ruin their fingernails, the movements that climbing entails are surprisingly graceful. Best described as a form of vertical yoga, climbing moves combine elements of the playground, mountaineering, and Twister.
Just like in yoga, rock climbers regularly try to find their balance while contorting their bodies into unfamiliar configurations. “There’s a direct correlation between the postures of yoga and the movements of climbing,” says yoga instructor and Rock & Ice editor, Jeff Jackson. Both, he says, require the ability to hold still while stretching the full length of one’s body. “When you’re deciding how to move on a route, that pause requires you to be static, and that’s when the benefits of yoga are really paramount.” Jackson’s yoga practice improved his climbing “tenfold” because of the strength and flexibility he gained, but also, he adds, because the yoga breathing techniques he learned gave him the mental fortitude to deal with stress.
Most climbers, especially beginners, muscle their way up rock and plastic walls (currently there are more than 650 indoor climbing gyms in the US). But a better strategy involves breathing your way up a wall, which can help you get through the mental and physical impasses all too common on a route. Again yogis have the advantage of not only knowing how to breathe, but also how to use the breath to move from fear to relaxation, from stiffness to ease of movement. “When that ‘stalling on the rock’ thing happens, and [climbers] are anxious, their breathing patterns change,” says California-based yoga teacher, Shiva Rea. “Breathing can bring them back to a relaxed state of mind.”
If fear still lurks in your heart, says Rea, consider the fact that climbing at a gym or with a professional guide outside can be safer than driving a car. “What you actually experience [on the rock] is often quite different from what you thought,” she says. Plus, she adds, with climbing you have the chance to “really open yourself to new embodied experiences.” Don’t think climbing is just for kids—out of the nine million climbers who tried indoor and outdoor climbing in 2005, more than a third were 25 or older. And you don’t have to be an instant expert. “It’s a progression,” Rea says. “Start with something easy and get the feel of it, then progress to more difficult climbs. There’s no pressure. It’s just your own journey, your own empowerment...
Author: Lizzy Scully
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