Meet Ann Seibert the Rock Climbing Yogi
Why am I so passionate about yoga for climbers?
For those of you who don't "believe" in yoga or feel it isn't "necessary", I can't stress enough how horribly mistaken that perspective is. To obtain peak performance and to avoid injury, a proper yoga routine helps. Yoga helps unstick strong climbing muscles by increasing flexibility. Wouldn't it be nice to avoid a muscle crap in an awkward stemming move? Yoga hits the opposing muscle groups often overlooked in our climbing workouts. Did you know muscle imbalances can impair climbing performance and lead to injury? Plus, yoga teaches you how to stay calm and breathe in tough poses. That training helps when making heady moves high up on a wall. I'm so excited to share yoga with my fellow climbers because it's helped my climbing in so many ways!
How I discovered Rock Climbing
In 2007, by chance (maybe it was destiny) a very dear friend, Michael, took me rock climbing. It was something I'd always wanted to try but never had a chance. So he offered to teach me. We hiked to a sport climbing area in Central Arizona called the "Mine". I had a small pack with water and a little food (**sigh** oh those days of light packs are so far away...). Michael led the routes. I top roped. I felt fear and joy. I fell in love with the blue sky, the feel of rock under my hands and the joy of admiring long beautiful vistas from high places. I was hooked!
I went out and bought a harness and shoes the very next day. Then I began to pester Michael. "Let's go climbing again!" I couldn't wait to get back outside. He introduced me to Phoenix Rock Gym. We made Wednesdays our regularly scheduled rock gym and Four Peaks night. There I met other climbers and my circle of climbing friends grew. I learned how to boulder. I grew braver and more sure in my capabilities and started to learn how to lead sport. I fell... many times. I endured tweaky fingers, shoulders, elbows, but couldn't stop. I was in love.
Yoga's Impact On My Life
However, constant training and climbing took its toll. There were a growing number of days of aches and pains. My shoulders seemed to be perpetually hunched and would hurt when pulling hard on a climb. I also had trouble with my neck, lower back, and fingers. Then, on a rest day (and honestly on a bit on a whim), I decided to go to a yoga class at Arizona on the Rocks. What a wake up call!
Every muscle group was tight. I could barely touch my toes or lift my arms straight above my head. How the heck did that happen?! I stretch before I climb...or so I thought. So in that moment I vowed to practice yoga regularly. My yoga practice started out as three times per week and then grew to four times and now to almost daily. My muscles grew more pliable...and shocker they also grew STRONGER! Suddenly those reachy, awkward climbs were more available. I broke into 5.12 something I'd been battling to do for years. I stopped enduring painful lock-ups in my hips and hamstrings. Most gloriously, my shoulders stopped HURTING. Yoga is now a regular part of my training program. It has changed my life, my body, my fitness and my climbing. I can't wait to share it with others!