FIND­ING YOUR FO­CUS

Gripped - - THE BASICS - Story by Ly­dia Zamorano amyg­dala, Ly­dia Zamorano teaches yoga and med­i­ta­tion in Can­more, where she lives with her hus­band Son­nie Trot­ter. Visit her web­stie

Aware­ness of the mind, its thoughts, emo­tions, de­sires, ac­tions, in­ten­tions, per­cep­tions, ex­pec­ta­tions, will ben­e­fit your climb­ing. Be­ing mind­ful im­proves the qual­ity of notic­ing, of be­ing con­scious of what’s hap­pen­ing in the mo­ment. Lim­i­ta­tions in climb­ing are fre­quently to do with the mind and not the body. Reg­u­lar prac­tice can train the mind to have pos­i­tive emo­tions and be less anx­ious. When climb­ing, it is im­por­tant to take one step at a time. “How can I climb with­out us­ing too much en­ergy?”

Med­i­ta­tion has been shown to in­crease fo­cus, help peo­ple cope with pain by calm­ing the brain cen­tre known as the strengthen the im­mune sys­tem, re­duce stress, sta­bi­lize the state of emo­tions and im­prove the qual­ity of sleep. Med­i­ta­tion also re­duces over­stim­u­la­tion of the sym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem, which makes us clammy, sweaty messes, and in­creases ac­tiv­ity in the parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem, which in­cludes deeper breath­ing, in­creased oxy­gen, nutr ients, cir­cu­la­tion and blood flow to the body. Med­i­ta­tion + Fo­cus It is Sim­ple Start with 15 min­utes. Work up to longer. Find a place to sit alone where there is lit­tle dis­trac­tion and with good pos­ture. This means pelvis in neu­tral, shoul­ders over pelvis and ears over shoul­ders. The back should be at ease. Spine is nei­ther shift­ing for­wards nor back­wards. Put a timer on. It’s pos­si­ble to down­load a free app med­i­ta­tion timer and set it to the cho­sen time. With a timer on, rest­ing into time­less­ness is a lot eas­ier. There won’t be as many thoughts about time. Pa­tiently watch the thoughts and re­lax the body. That’s it. Don’t try to con­trol any­thing. al­low the body and mind to rest. Make sure to give enough time to sink into a deeper state of re­lax­ation.

It may seem hard to sit still, es­pe­cially for climbers who like to be on the move, and there are no prom­ises that it will feel easy, but it doesn’t have to be com­pli­cated. It doesn’t have to in­volve a mantra, we don’t have to travel to In­dia, al­though we may want to boul­der in Hampi, we don’t have to con­tort our­selves into lo­tus pose and we don’t have to stop our thoughts. Med­i­ta­tion isn’t about con­trol­ling our mind or thoughts. It’s more like men­tal hy­giene. If we just sit and watch our thoughts, we can cy­cle through some of them that might be repet­i­tive or self lim­it­ing, and clear them out be­fore start­ing a day of climb­ing. If we can’t clear them out, we can at least be aware of them. This is why it’s most use­ful in the morn­ing, but re­ally any­time can work.

Med­i­ta­tion is like mus­cle mem­ory. At first when we star ted to climb, we didn’t know how to use our bod­ies in the most ef­fi­cient way. Af­ter prac­tic­ing enough, most likely we didn’t have to think about us­ing our feet as much, or about over-g r ip­ping. This is how med­i­ta­tion works. If done con­sis­tently, it al­lows ac­ces­si­bil­ity to a calmer more ef­fi­cient state of mind that isn’t as con­trolled by emo­tions. It’s a train­ing g round to en­ter a com­pletely fo­cused state of mind, known as the zone, quicker and more of­ten, and it’s a stress-mod­u­lat­ing skill. Calm­ing the body and mind could g ive us the ex­tra edge to push past self-lim­i­ta­tion. “The brain is the most im­por­tant mus­cle for climb­ing,” said Wolf­gang Gul­lich, one of the world’s most in­flu­en­tial rock climbers.

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