If you’ve spent any time around climbers, then you’ve probably heard them throw yoga into the conversation at least once or twice. Yoga promotes balance and stability, increases core strength and flexibility, calms your mind and teaches you how to be in your body. Considering all the benefits to climbers, it’s no surprise that many climbing gyms offer yoga classes to its members.
But if you’re new to yoga, how do you know that it’s really for you? In this article, we’ll try to dispel some of the common myths and misconceptions about yoga and give you a quick overview of the different styles of yoga for climbers in our studio.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Yoga is a religion or cult
FALSE! For the sceptical, yoga might conjure up a room full of chanting, singing, incense-burning, dreadlocked, un-deodorized, happy clapping, tree hugging, sun worshipping, naval gazing, pretzel posing, intergalactic explorers of alien consciousnesses tribe of humans… we get it. But this one is not true.
Yoga’s roots originated in India and certainly there is a spiritual element to yoga. But this doesn’t mean you need to convert to Hinduism or give your life over to Shiva. Heck, you don’t even chant one ‘Om’ in our classes. Yoga can be as spiritual as you make it. Our yoga classes focus on the mindful aspect of yoga – body awareness, a focused mind – and should these things illuminate things about yourself, great! If, after a few yoga classes, you start to notice physical or mental habits that aren’t serving you and you feel compelled to make some shifts in your life, even better. Yoga can certainly transform your way of being, if you want it to, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be hugging any trees or praying to a sun god any time soon.
2. Yoga is for flexible/ thin people
FALSE! You do not need to be flexible to practise yoga. In fact, one of the great (many!) benefits and reasons to start practicing yoga is to help you become more flexible. In the beginning, you may find it difficult to touch your toes, but with regular practice, your range of motion will increase and you’ll feel more agile, more mobile and maybe even reach your toes one day… if that truly is the goal!
3. Yoga is just stretching and not a real workout
SAID NO ONE WHO’S ACTUALLY TRIED YOGA, EVER. Flowing vinyasa and power styles of yoga are designed to get your heart rate up, build heat and strength in your muscles and take you through your body’s full range of motion. That said, a more static, stretch-style of practice like yin yoga can still be a challenge for both the body and mind in search of deep release. Whatever style floats your boat, yoga has numerous proven health benefits and is highly effective at reducing muscle soreness and increasing range of motion, which is required in every stage of life.
4. Yoga is only for women
Connection. Heart Space. TikTok Yoga Pants reels. Stretchy, bendy, touchy-feely, tears and transformation. YOOOOOOGA Bummms emoji.
Right? WRONG! So wrong. With a large side serving of Judgement. Yoga is for men, women, children, the elderly – everyone and anyone. Sure, some styles are going to appeal more to women than to men, but this argument swings both ways. And in the name of equality, both sexes find enormous benefit in dynamic and restorative styles of yoga. The key is to find the style that suits you – no matter who you are. So if you’re shying away from trying yoga just because you think it might challenge your manhood, man up and get on the mat!
5. Yoga means a lifestyle change
UGH! Just because you rolled out a mat and did some yoga in your bare feet doesn’t mean you need to throw away your devices, ban all meat and meat products and start building a wind turbine to toast your chickpeas inside your off-grid yurt. Maybe – just maybe – yoga will help you to develop a new awareness and understanding about yourself. Maybe it will help you to build a language around how and why you are the way you are. It’s not assuming anything is wrong with you. And it’s not asking you to change anything. But at its core, yoga carves out a deeper respect and acceptance for yourself and others. And so maybe – MAYBE – your perspective shifts on a few things. Maybe it shifts a lot. But real transformation won’t happen against your will. We can guarantee that.
6. Yoga must not be practiced when pregnant or on your period
NOPE. Some people believe that women should avoid practising yoga when they are pregnant or menstruating, as it would be harmful or against the natural laws of the world. However, there is no truth in this statement. Many women find yoga extremely beneficial in both situations.
7. Yoga online saves me time and money and gives me freedom of choice
Ok, YES. And NO. Online yoga will save you time and money. It is cheaper than going to a studio. And you won’t waste time in transit getting to class when you can just jump off your couch and onto your mat, while The Walking Dead continues playing on Netflix in the background. But there is something to be said for taking yourself out of one environment and into another as a sure-fire and natural motivator. You are much more likely to engage with your practice and to stay the course than you are at home. So you’ll work harder, focus better and reap the benefits of a full class. But perhaps most importantly, when you attend a class – particularly as a beginner – you have direct access to an experienced, knowledgeable teacher to guide and adjust you through and into each pose. You are much less likely to practice in a way that could lead you to misinterpret or misunderstand a pose or sequence, and certainly less likely therefore to cause injury.
Which style of yoga is best for climbers?
Power Yoga is a dynamic style of yoga for all levels that combines breath and movement into a sequence of poses to strengthen, squeeze and stretch your body. These classes provide a challenge for regular yogis whilst also catering for those with less experience on the mat. The result is a yoga practice that rinses and detoxifies the mind and body while building strength and flexibility on and off the mat. Expect to move, breathe, sweat, laugh, and walk out feeling energised.
Vinyasa Yoga is a practice where you flow from one pose to the next, designed to help you move and breathe in unison with focus and awareness, leaving you feeling re-energised and grounded. Our Vinyasa Yoga classes vary in style from teacher to teacher but all our classes are suitable for complete beginners.
Yin Yoga is a restorative, meditative form of yoga that involves holding stretches for a longer period of time. It’s great for flexibility of the connective tissue and mobility in and around the ligaments and joints. Best practiced pre-climb, when the muscles are not yet warmed up.
Benefits of Yoga for Climbers
Yoga is the perfect compliment for climbers looking to enhance their climbing performance and prevent climbing injuries. Yoga can help you build overall strength, stability, body awareness, balance, flexibility and mental focus – which are all great benefits for both climbers and yogis alike.
So come along and enjoy the great member benefits and discounts in our very own sanctuary, Flowstone Wellbeing Studio.