I think there are many things you can pair up. Eggs and bacon, porridge and honey, socks and ...feet, strawberries and cream. But putting yoga and climbing together? This is not such an obvious choice.
I first discovered climbing really existed as a sport, when I saw my local climbing wall in Harrogate. I had heard about it. But it was a fictitious place.... I had met people who had been there but I had not seen it for myself.
The Climbing Wall is however very close to our gymnastics club and it was for this reason that I ended up finding it. Positioned next to a cafe full of mums waiting for their children, I found myself ordering a latte and watching people going in and out of the centre. They were armed with helmets, harnesses and even crash mats. It is impossible not to want to look in, there are people clambering and swinging up colourful walls with gusto. Friends, partners and real men and women holding onto ropes. I thought, ooh that looks 'different'. A bit of a change from the treadmills, weights and mirrors of the gym!
As a yoga teacher I did not see any connection with climbing at that time.
I watched the climbers and I noticed something unusual about them. They all seemed happy. They reminded me of surfers, free, passionate and really committed to climbing. Grown men and women (myself included!), turned into children when given a helmet and a harness.
Then I started meeting climbers. I suddenly realised the connection between climbers and yoga.
In yoga we learn balance, breath, strength and postural awareness: climbers require balance to get themselves round those tricky bumps and corners, they need strength, breath and they have to be aware of every mini-meter of their body.
I had something in common with climbers. Perhaps I even was one?
At Goyoga studio, we have now created a special Yoga for Climbers class, where people can work on specific climber issues, core strength, tight hamstrings and calves, toes, breath and balance. They can even go for a climb after! So far, climbers respond well to yoga prior to a climb, provided we don't send them to sleep or bliss them out too much!
Climber Coaches are asking for breath awareness. Learning to be in the moment and empty the mind, we try and help them upgrade their experience of this amazing sport!
There are so many connections. There are some amazing Yogi/Climbers out there, such as Chris Sharma (youtube him!), world-class climbers such as Mr Sharma really do exist, they do 'Crow', 'Headstand' and more in the most amazing places -places whereI would find it near impossible to even open my eyes!
Anyone who watched the youtube video of Chris Sharma doing yoga at Wanderlust many years ago, will know that he did not start out as a great yogi, but he has really become one! He now makes yoga videos and is, I believe great friends with Shiva Rea, yogi extra-ordinaire.
The Climbing Clothes label Prana is another example of this yoga and climbing marriage. Clothes made by Prana are strong enough to withstand a climb and stretchy enough to endure anyone attempting Hanumanasana, (Divine Monkey Pose), or splits! Prana across the pond, is a huge yoga label! It backs Wanderlust, Shiva Rea, everyone who has had anything to do with yoga ever! It also makes chalk bags and yoga mats...So pairing yoga and climbing may not seem such a crazy pairing after all!