This past October, I decided to go through a yoga teacher training course to deepen my practice. It was intense-- almost like having a second job-- and it took up a lot of my "adventure time" in the outdoors. At times, I felt like I was losing my "outdoorist" ways, but I kept telling myself that it was temporary. I never thought it was going to make me better at the things I was temporarily sacrificing.In addition to making me a stronger, more peaceful version of myself, deepening my yoga practice has made me a better climber.
1| Tadasana. If every movement is rooted in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), where the body is one constant conscious connection, then there is never room for weakness. This idea changed my yoga practice, but it also changed my climbing technique into a graceful dance. By consciously engaging every part of my body in every single move, I've been able to become a stronger climber. I'm not throwing for big reaches or taking big dynamic risks. Sure, I've become more flexible, but that's not the main takeaway. I'm intentionally strategizing with my legs and my core long before I ever even think about my hands or my arms.
2| Breathing. There is something empowering about taking a deep breath, isn't there? I've always relied on breathing to center myself as a climber, but yoga took that awareness one step further, by introducing me to Ujjayi breath. It literally translates to "victorious"! The next time you're stuck on a climb, take a deep breath in through your nose and release it through your nose-- all while narrowing your throat passage-- like the sound of waves crashing. You may just come up with some "victorious" beta!
3| The Niyamas. Out of everything I learned during my yoga teacher training, the niyamas had the deepest impact.
Saucha: Purity. Santosha: Contentment. Tapas: Self-discipline. Svadhyaya: Self-study. Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrender/Devotion to God.
Ultimately, these 5 practices tell us that we are enough, but also that we are capable of so much more. They teach us to forgive ourselves and to hold ourselves accountable all at the same time. This translates to everything, but directly to the idea of being a work-in-progress. What a relief it is to know that it's okay to not be the best climber right now, but that you're perfectly capable of becoming the best climber with the right mindset and commitment level.
How has your yoga practice changed your outdoorism?