The Real Yoga Lies Off the Mat

By Nichole Crandall, SaltPump Yoga Teacher

The weather this week in Maine is a sure sign Spring is on it’s way. A time where we come out of hibernation and resume a more active and outdoor lifestyle. Consider taking a Vinyasa yoga class to help prepare your mind and body for the increased activity and challenge outdoor activities and climbing demands.

Vinyasa yoga contains an element of flow­­, moving from pose to pose, one breath one movement. By focusing on the movement of our body with our breath, we enter a state of relaxed mind with a hyper­awareness of what is going on physically with our body. We also gain more strength as strong ujjayi breath (oo­ja­ie) helps send oxygen to our muscles more efficiently. Receiving messages from your body more clearly, we let go of tension where is is not serving us and ignite strength where it is needed to propel us.

In addition to the physical benefits of vinyasa yoga, it can also help prepare your mind for challenge. The vinyasa flow helps you, when faced with challenge, practice staying with breath, keeping focus, and maintaining a calm mind. One of my yoga teachers always says “the real yoga lies off your mat”. My interpretation of this is that if we can learn to stay strong, focused, and calm on our mat, it becomes how we act when encountering challenge off out mats.

In climbing, the flow state will help you maintain a clearer picture of the your external environment. Practicing yoga will help you move forward more accurately, safely, and with more power to get you through a challenging climb.

How to practice your yoga while climbing this Spring:

  1. Stay focused on your breath.​Count your exhales if it helps your mind quiet enough so you can stay focused on your breathing. So simple, but hard. Don’t be discouraged if you become distracted. Just come back to the breath.
  2. Come up with a mantra­­​Something you can say to yourself, to help you keep in the mental state of what you intended for you climb. Some days you might want more strength and power and other days you might want more relaxation and nurturing. Maybe you want to take your climbing more seriously, or less.
  3. Listen to your body. ​Sometimes (most of the time) things don’t go as planned and initial intentions can change. Listen to your body and your environment and do what you need to do to keep safe and happy.

Vinyasa yoga is offered at Salt Pump three times per week and yin yoga twice per week. Check out the yoga classes page for more details.