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Oct 19, 2017
By Guest Blogger: Bethany Henderson
I began climbing as a cross training for my yoga practice, looking for physical training to balance my softer yoga practice. But, the first time I walked into a climbing gym I was surprised to see mindful movements all around. I was surrounded by a moving meditation. Each climber was thoughtful, inquisitive and connected as they moved up the wall. And if something went wrong it was a chance to take a moment and reflect, to discover the undiscovered. The physical movements were a delicate balance between strength, balance and agility. Let’s just say I was hooked.
Now as I teach yoga for climbers, I have a chance to dive deeper into the sport of climbing and the mindset of my students. Working with this specific group of athletes, I have seen a few of the typical injuries and limitations climbers develop in their bodies, and how yoga can help. Among other things, a climber typically feels stiffness, or muscular tension, in the shoulders, hips and hamstrings. To counter-balance these limitations, I design my yoga classes for climbers around specific yoga postures and movement sequences.
Here are 5 yoga postures designed especially for climbers, but these can apply to any other type of athlete as well! Practice these postures individually as needed, or combine as a sequence, following the order given and repeating on both sides.
Benefits: A great posture for practicing balance. This works to release tension in the upper back and shoulders, while giving a deep stretch to the hips and thighs. Also strengthening the calves and ankles while balancing on one foot.
Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the wrists, arms and shoulder muscles, while stretching the hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendon. Also, works to elongate and relieve tension in the spine. As an inversion, this posture is great for balancing the nervous system and reducing stress.
Benefits: Great to incorporate into a daily practice or flow. Works to strengthen arms, wrists, spine, and core.
Benefit: This posture works to increase the external range of motion of the femur in the front hip socket. Works to stretch the quadriceps and hip flexor of the back leg. A moderate backbend, compressing the low back.
Bethany found yoga to cross-train when she competed in professional watersports over 10 years ago. The love for the practice transitioned into teaching, as an E-RYT 200 hour certified yoga teacher and studio founder of Yoga Roots in Sweden. She is originally from the US and currently resides and teaches teaching in Malmö, Sweden. To her teachings, she brings influences from an athletic background, international environment and a pure joy for sharing yoga with others.
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