What’s yoga got to do with climbing?

Next time you are with your parents, whom I guess are probably 20 years older than you, just sit and watch them and see how they do things. Do they struggle with the simple tasks in life? Do they complain about slight aches and pains, little niggles? Do they get out of breath doing the simplest tasks?

At the age of 41 I noticed all the little things catching up with me. I had tried to break my body over my life and failed but now, along with my climbing partners, I was getting niggles, things that didn’t quite do what they should.

I watched my parents and thought at their age I want to still be able to do all the things I do now. Look at the old in our society, that’s all of our futures. It will happen, you will get old, but do you want to be like the majority? If not act now like I did, the younger the better.

I decided to start practicing Yoga. My thoughts when I was younger were; its hairy fairy – for girls – not my thing. Well a lot, if not all, top sports people are studying Yoga. Yoga is simply stretching and it opposes the action of the muscles we use for playing sport.

I started doing a hourly session once a week. I was by no means flexible and never have been. Doing a session once a week may hold back the tide but won’t really improve things. After about a year I asked my teacher about a daily routine. Now I stretch every morning (if time allows) and every evening whilst watching TV. 3 years later my flexibility is great, but above all I have no niggles and feel alive after every stretch. With this added flexibility my climbing and other sports have improved.

Don’t be misled, yoga and stretching seems quite sedate but the more you put into it the more you get out and you will feel tired, it takes muscles to stretch so they get a good work out.

If you ever see a women the age of 85 who is looking spritely and fit for her age it would probably be a safe bet they she is a yoga teacher. Put it another way, you never see an unfit yoga teacher.

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