I love yoga! I started Yoga at a class many years ago but then I stopped and practiced what we were taught at home. For a while I have been doing yoga at home on-and-off but only a few poses that I can remember. So recently I have been adding more and more poses and stances to my everyday Yoga session which I have learned from YouTube tutorials and online resources information. There is a great deal of Yoga tutorials on Youtube from a variety of instructors who have channels, my main instructor is Ester Ekhart at Ekhart Yoga and Yogatic who has another channel called Ekhart Yoga TV. For what each Yoga pose or stance does and its benefits I have found Yoga Journal and About Yoga the most helpful. Yoga has been an important tool for me as a climber and as someone who is trying to overcome a disability. I am using Yoga to work on some of my weaknesses in climbing like tight hips and hamstrings and to get a good balance an coordination as my disability gave me very bad balance and coordination. Yoga benefits a climber in many ways but the most interesting thing that I read recently is that some if not all poses increase the body’s production of two very powerful hormones Human Growth Hormone (HGH, GH) and Thyroxine in several ways Why are these two hormones important to climbers you may ask? I will explain how yoga increases these hormones and why an increase is important to climbers later in the post but first talk about Yoga. I wold not say Yoga is a sport or an art form but a weird mix of the two. Yoga originates from India just like Karate originates from Japan and Kung Fu from China, like the two martial arts above and others – even though not a martial arts itself Yoga has many styles and schools. I will not go into these in great detal but they include but are not limited to Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Kundalini. What I found wonderful about Yoga are the asanas – poses- and that there are variations of many of them. Each pose benefits various parts of the body including the organs and the mind. The asanas are categorized into bends (side, forward and back), hip openers, balances and inversions. It is very hard to explain about the asanas as the categories and how they are done i.e. lying on your stomach on the floor or standing upright as the categories are interlinked.
- If a climber has tight hips they are several asanas to remedy this:
- One of my favorites is the Pigeon Pose which has a few variations. In the clip Ester is demonstrating and giving the viewer instructions on how to Pigeon Pose and its variations.
- Another pose for tight hips is the Bound Angle Pose. The clip below demonstrates the reclined floor version of the pose.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vksA9pqOpVI There are many more asanas to deal with this including bit not limited to the following:
2. To improve balance and increase leg strength there are one legged balances.
- One of my top ones that also opened the shoulders and acts as back bend is the King Dancer Pose.
- But a really simple yet tricky to stay in is Tree Pose. I can not find a good video for this pose though. There are further poses to in this categorory such as Eagle Pose and Warrior III pose – both these poses are tricky to perform. Simpler poses to build to leg strength are:
- Triangle Pose
- Warrior I Pose
- Side Angle Pose – this is the extended version
- Warrior II Pose
- One great and easy pose for balance and foot/toe strength is Mountain Pose.
3. One important thing a lot of people forget about about in climbing is core strength, the core keeps us stable and hanging on on steep, overhanging and vertical ground as well as roofs.
One pose that I was recommended for training all the core is the The Yoga version of this – Lying Piriformis Stretch.
To really booster core strength it is wise to add lying upward stretches like Cobra Pose which can be followed by The Fish Pose and The Locust Pose. To counter act this poses as to avoid back problem I usually do pose like the Reverse Table Pose (No good video or how to web page foe this, sorry) or a similar pose. I also do a standing closed leg forward bend to counteract the poses in the list above and the King Dancer Pose. The shoulder stand and half shoulder stand can be used to add variety and challenge to a yoga session – both these poses need a counter pose to stop imbalances and back problems.
A less important part of climbing is arm strength which people think is the most important for steep climbing. In my opinion the two best poses for this are Reverse Table Pose, Downward Dog and Upward Dog Pose.
Coordination wise the best poses improve coordination is the The Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose. There are many other poses but I do not remember what they are called. One is like a urinating dog pose where you stick out one leg and the opposite arm e.g left arm and right leg and the other is similar but you are lying down on your belly.
Here it is where it gets interesting, the hormonal part of yoga benefits to climbers….
Yoga surprisingly helps with weight loss. I found this out during the summer when I sweated a lot while during Yoga sessions at home. I then looked it up and found out why.
Yoga increases the production of Human Growth Hormone either by stimulating the pituitary gland directly to release Human Growth Hormone or by increasing HGH stimulators like and Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA). Human Growth Hormone (HGH) also stimulates the Thyroid Gland which is responsible for metabolism. It is said that certain asanas stimulate The Thyroid Gland. This hormonal increases will help climbers keep slim or become slim, help strengthen their tendons and aide in recovery aswell as the added benefit of making them feel and look younger – it is even said that some asanas can give you an extra inch or two in height if you are young still.
I am including many links on this to give a better understanding of basic endocrinology.
I would like to say thank you to all mu sources even the ones that I hardly used.