Improve your climbing through working on strength and flexibility. Join the Yoga for Climbers course with Pro Climber & Yogi, Heidi Wirtz.
I'm a fair-to-middling yoga bumbler, but have been to enough classes to do a passable Downward Dog and have come to appreciate this ancient practice as a low-impact healing and wellness tool nonpareil. (As a way to move and strengthen the body, yoga almost perfectly complements the demands we exact on our bodies as climbers; it's also a great recovery tool, when bouncing back from traumatic injury.) So it was nice to see Yoga for Climbers ($22.95, yoga-ventures.com), Brushy Mountain Publishing's offering as part of their outdoor-sports yoga DVDs and books series (there are titles for hikers, cyclists and paddlers, as well). Even if you've never been to yoga class, you can jump right in: the DVD breaks down into two 28-minute sessions, the first for recovery and stretching (or warm-up) on a climbing day, the second to strengthen core and balancing muscles. And the poses in each can be practiced individually, by linking to them from the Poses menu on the main screen. Other bonuses include two shorts on pranayama and meditation, and climbing footage spliced into the asanas showing the types of moves each pose addresses. The emphasis here is on building groin, core, and hand, arm, and shoulder muscles — the groups we often recruit on the stone — as well as more subtle applications like lung power, focus, and learning to use your frame (not your muscles) to move. The asanas are accessible, but also difficult enough to have impact - this isn't just a stretching video, by any means. A lot of thought went into this DVD, and it shows. Leland Davis is a veteran climbing instructor and reformed dirtbag, and Andria Baldovin, who leads the poses on screen, is a yoga instructor and athlete herself, with 15 years climbing experience. They took the time to film on location at many of the Southeast's best crags (Rumbling Bald, Linville Gorge, Looking Glass, Summersville Lake), and researched the project before they went in. (“We worked with some of my old climbing buddies to see what parts hurt on them after climbing, says Davis, “and asked some climbers at Outdoor Retailer who don't get as much time on the rock as more avid climbers do what their thoughts were.” Baldovin, meanwhile, did deep research on anatomy and physiology before selecting the final poses.) And with a Yoga for Hikers pocket book in the works, Brushy Mountain is branching out. Soon, we hope: a good warm-up asana you can crank through on your iPod below the proj!