For those of us who eternally seek out challenges, day-to-day fitness often is in service of the goal. Maintaining strength and endurance is essential. But there can be mobility and body-control deficits. To address those, lose the shoes and unfurl a mat.
“Yoga is an amazing way to support performance in extreme pursuits,” says Baron Baptiste, of Baptiste Power Yoga and a Lululemon ambassador. “It’s an invaluable recovery and training tool for the modern athlete.”
Baptiste put together a series of sport-specific moves that will help prepare your body for the demands of outdoor pursuits—such as shoulder mobility for rock climbing. Use them to increase mobility pre-adventure and to give yourself some TLC afterward. Yoga is more than fancy stretching. It is an opportunity to practice as you move through poses. Taking time to stabilize the body, finding more depth in a stretch—these things can help prepare the mind for, say, finding balance as you boulder.
Climbers spend an inordinate amount of time pulling on the upper body, so this yoga-for-climbers flow is intended to relieve tight and stiff shoulders, chest, and forearms. And since flexibility in the pelvis and hip flexors is crucial for finding awkward footholds, they need release, too. Some poses test your balance and weight transfer, which will help your control on the wall.
If you’re new to yoga, set a goal to do it for 20 minutes, three times a week. Hold a pose until the tension releases, or do it for a set time, like 30 seconds. Cycle through moves pre- or post-workout, or as an active recovery-day activity. Some discomfort is OK, but if a pose is painful, back off slightly. As with any sport, getting better takes practice.