Yoga and Climbing

Physical Similarities between Yoga and Climbing

These two disciplines can be seemingly very different but based on years of personal practices, I realised that not only there are many similarities, they actually complement each other as well.
 
  • Strength and Endurance 
Vinyasa and Ashtanga classes with sun salutations and multiple jumps back and through are particularly effective in building arms and legs strength, necessary for climbing.
Done at a slightly faster pace than usual, this set of poses will get the sweats flowing in no time akin to HIIT, improving the overall cardiorespiratory endurance.
For climbing, we always need to keep our hips close to the wall in order to shift the body weight to the core instead of arms. This principle sounds familiar because it is applicable to many yoga poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Crow and Crane.
Up on the wall, we also need to support our own weight via strange movements and numerous muscle contractions, which inadvertently help increase the blood flow to areas we may not use often in our daily life.
This means local endurance surrounding those areas will improve and in yoga, this translates to ability to hold longer in certain poses.
  • Flexibility
This may sound obvious but yoga practice does improve flexibility over time. Consistent practice will enable climbers to move the feet higher, wider and farther easily with less risk of injuries.
  • Body Intelligence and Awareness
Both yoga and climbing are exercises that only make use of our own body weight. As a result, through the practice, we have the opportunity to gain a deeper better understanding and awareness of our body, from how to shift the body weight, engage and isolate muscles as well as how to balance and recognise sensations including pain.
With this heightened awareness, practitioners could then start breaking bad postural habits and being more mindful of alignment when standing, sitting and even lying down.