These activities complement each other beautifully. Climbing engages not just strong, flexible muscles but improves coordination, proprioception, balance & focus. If you have any stresses when you walk into a climbing centre, they won’t be there by the time you leave. Why? If you think about anything else whilst you are moving between handholds and footholds, you will fall off. One could also say that it is a form of meditation as it promotes a single focus. Pilates also focuses the mind by its precision of movement, attention to the breath, flow, stamina, centering and grounding. It is obviously less scary, not requiring the participant to climb great heights (or traverse boulders). It provides a balance to climbing when those muscles have been challenged and sometimes strained. Learning to use the muscles correctly in a Pilates studio with the aid of the apparatus helps prevent injury, facilitates functional coordinated movement and improves the ‘climbers’ hunched posture. Yoga can also benefit the climber’s flexibility and strength. The difference between Pilates and Yoga is that Pilates takes you through specific movements with or without equipment, Yoga generally requires one to stay in the asana and breath, unless of course you are doing a vinyasa style which has more flowing moves. Yoga’s greatest advantage is the work on the breath through the different breathing techniques and meditation which improves the clarity and focus of the mind.
How do I know this? I started climbing five years ago with my two sons. I have learnt that having upper body strength is not the only requirement when climbing. Good technique, timing each move, learning to transfer one’s body weight accordingly to reach that next handhold is equally important. Pilates has addressed and put right those aching muscles and Yoga has helped keep my mind more focused and calm.