just like surfing, kite-surfing, kayaking or paragliding,
is about the freedom and vitality gained from efficient, graceful
movement and the skilful harnessing of energy in a natural
environment that is potentially overpowering. Disciplined
awareness, efficiency, balance, insight and working with the
grain of nature are at the heart of adventure sports.
is a highly accessible and inclusive UK sport with a rich
history, the best amateur sporting traditions, high technical
standards, a well-organized competition circuit, and a high
international profile. According to the 2000 Government’s
Household Survey “some 5% of men and 5% of women [i.e. 1 in
20 of the UK population] had participated in climbing in 1999”
up from 4% and 2% respectively in 1996, making it the fastest
growing sport in the country at that time. Its popularity
continues to grow.
is incredibly diverse, interesting and demands creativity.
Each individual has their own reasons as to why they climb,
what they get out of climbing, and how they apply this awareness
to their lives as a whole.
and growth philosophy
is a change in the way that we think, feel or behave. We initially
become aware of change, then we action change and finally
it becomes a reality. We have to then preserve it so that
the learning becomes a way of life. As Yehudi Menhuin says
"Everything in life which is of value requires continuous
effort and renewal". Climbing helps us to form a philosophy
for learning, it helps us to work with our strengths and weaknesses.
gives a climber of any age a solid basis for many other aspects
of life if he is open and sensitive. Climbing demands sensitivity,
a creative attitude and a collection of mental, psychological
and physical powers. The athletic abilities and human qualities
of a person develop steadily out of this situation - an important
consideration in our often very superficial times". Bernd
To be holistic is to be striving towards a balanced and integrated
development as a whole individual, including cognitive, physical,
emotional, individual and social aspects. Climbing encourages
a holistic approach to life.
and the choreography of moves, if mastered, create a sense
of 'flow' and optimal efficiency as well as a feeling of great
satisfaction. Dancers and gymnasts immediately tune into this
energy when climbing.
"Movement has always
fascinated me. When I started studying physics in high school
and then university it was like a revelation. All my life
I'd been doing all these things with my body (gymnastics)
and suddenly I could see how it all worked. I find that physics
is one of the most interesting things for me in climbing as
well". Abby Watkins
brother recently said to me when I took him to Sennen for
his first climbing experience, when he came to a section where
the holds were not obvious he learned how small changes or
movements can help to overcome more difficult sections of
the route. When he actually committed to the move it was okay
and there was always a foothold or handhold. Often we live
in the future. We worry about what will happen and get caught
up in our thought and emotions, which we believe is real.
Climbing in a mindful way can help us to learn to stay in
the moment and enjoy the climbing, without being concerned
about thoughts that aren't reality. We can apply this to our
day to day living.
has become a metaphor for me in a lot of ways in how to be
a happy person because I think you need to make an effort,
you need to direct yourself and plan in your mind how to get
there. Climbing in this case is a pure means of transport.
Your achievements in climbing are a lot less relevant than
what you learn in the process - it is not what you climb that
counts, but how you climb it. For me climbing serves as a
guide to take me in a positive direction, it helps me to become
a more efficient human being and makes me more perceptive
and respectful to nature". Lynn Hill
Climbing demands complete focus. This energizes
and engages the mind, at the same time releasing it from every-day
worries. It can become a form of meditation.
"I can concentrate on precisely that which is necessary
without getting distracted by anything". Johnny Dawes
Climbing teaches you to have self confidence in your own ability,
think and act for yourself.
"These positive, intense experiences in climbing outdoors
are imprinted on my mind. They have given me self confidence
and also helped me to master other situations in life".
Climbing is about creatively solving problems when under
pressure both physically and mentally.
"The type of problems when bouldering appealed to me
instantly. There I could try out things for myself until I
succeeded. The good feeling about having solved things myself
has stayed with me to this day. It is an important driving
force behind my performance". Stefan Glowacz
Climbing does not target one particular muscle.
It challenges every muscle group. No movement is the same,
the body works creatively. Moving
from a strong core is essential to climbing fluidly and without
effort. Liz Koch tells us that, "True strength, stability
and autonomy comes when the connection between the various
parts of you work in harmony." When
learning new climbing movements internal awareness of our
core can help us to feel a movement, as opposed to just copying.
When you decide to fully commit and take a risk - only then
will you engage with action. This means that you make a conscious
decision and there is no more negative thinking, no more doubt
in your mind.
Moving, changing, evolving and being open are all about letting
go. Letting go of unconscious or conscious habits, concepts,
expectations, fears, anxiety, worry. Learning to replace fear
with trust! When disturbed by negative thoughts - opposite
(or positive) ones should be thought. You will find that you
can't think of the negative thoughts, once you're focused
on the positive. Awareness and objectivity are key to this.
Breathing is so simple and so obvious, we often take it for
granted yet it is the very essence of life. Gravity keeps
us grounded. Both yoga and climbing help us to become aware
of movement, posture and balance and how our breathing can
have physical effects.
Yoga asanas (postures) stretch and
strengthen your muscles, teach you correct alignment of posture
and build endurance and balance. Yoga postures train and discipline
the mind as well as the body. Perfect alignment of a posture
can only be achieved by mentally being focused and aware at
all times. Concentration, awareness and attention are of the
greatest importance when practising yoga. Asanas need to be
practised with ‘Tapas’ (self discipline and intensity
of feeling) and with deliberate commitment.
When climbing we are applying force onto holds
(pushing and pulling). We can work with gravity by learning
the correct alignment and force needed to make a move. Climbing
with commitment and a deliberate action, engaging our core muscles
and only the muscles required to make the move while relaxing
the muscles not needed, will help us to carry out a move with
poise and grace. If we give climbing our full attention through
a philosophy of mindful thinking and stay aware we will climb
with acceptance, commitment and an open mind.
Anderson began traditional climbing fifeteen years
ago in the UK. She enjoyed competing in UK bouldering and on-sight
leading competitions at this time. Having climbed in Spain,
France, Italy, Australia, America, Oman, UAE, Turkey and the
UK she has built up a large repertoire of climbing experience.
In 1996 she moved to Dubai. The next five years brought adventure
and travel, while running and developing the Dubai climbing
wall and guiding in the Oman/ UAE mountains. She did a lot of
on-sight traditional, multi-pitch climbing in the UAE/ Omani
borders including new routes of up to 500 metres. Her teaching
methods have evolved from her years of experience in climbing,
through teaching and research. Annie has been practicing and
studying yoga for five years. Asanas have given her insights
into the similarities of core body tension, balance and the
physics of the body in climbing and yoga as well as mindfulness,
awareness, attention and concentration. She applies this to
her own climbing and yogaclimbing and
continues to research and develop the yoga and climbing which
has become her main focus.