the yoga of climbing 1

I reluctantly entered my first climbing competition yesterday. I dragged my heels getting there, convinced that I was too tired to climb. I moaned and dramatized my moontime apana, knowing that fear the root of my lethargy.I love climbing and I’m quite competitive. Sounds like a perfect match for a climbing competition. The only problem is that I’m not comfortable with failure.

While I do not openly compete, I do compare myself to others. When I do this I shake myself off centre. I lose touch with my intrinsic love of climbing.

And so there I was at the competition, yawning between attempts – putting around, half removed. The risk seemed to great to put in 100% effort. If I gave my all and lost, I would lose my egocentric supremacy.

To my delight and horror, I made the finals. The final route was a mystery on the outside wall. The finalists, all friends, descended down into the pit to await their turn. With time to spare, I trotted home for a hit of Floradix (liquid iron) and a bowel evacuation.

I returned to the gym, assumed savasana and visualized myself climbing strong and smooth. Clueless to what the route looked like, I figured pseudo-imagery was better than none.

After a few rounds of nadi shodhana. I felt calm and focused. My fatigue paid off – I lacked the energy to wind myself in a nervous tizzy.

After the competition Rik told me that he was nervous for me. I remember that feeling while watching loved ones perform. That’s what the finals felt like, performing in front of an audience of supportive climbers. The stage, a gently overhanging wall; the cast, a sprinkling of multi-coloured holds.

I climbed the wall with my eyes, miming with my hands and feet to mimic the moves. I did my best to decipher the route from the ground, roped up and gave it my all.

I surprised myself and stuck several lunges. I hit a tricky section and attempted to climb a corner arete with no holds. I changed my mind and lost my feet. My effort and fall were greeted with excited cheers.

Both yoga and climbing have taught me how to fall and get back up. When I teeter and totter in balancing poses I no longer fear falling over. I’ve grown to love the sense that I’m losing my balance. I know that this shaking and rocking, helps me develop grounding and poise.

Through my Trinity trainings I have learned how to let loose and dance freely. When I climb I dance between my desire to maintain control and to take risks.

Success is not necessarily about getting to the top or the end of a climb. My greatest accomplishments in climbing come when I drop my ego-striving. Sometimes falling is the most rewarding achievement of all.