Is anybody here a regular mediator? Have you noticed it having an effect on your climbing?
Personally I find there is a threshold in that if I am consistently meditating for 20 minutes or more per day (usually in the morning), there are some profound benefits. I feel much calmer on the wall, especially under duress. Crux sections of climbs feel slower in that I can move through them with awareness instead of tension. I find it much easier to find my breath when climbing and hold the rhythm vs. my old habits of locking up during harder sections.
Also, is there anybody else out there that is a freediver and climber? I have noticed that after increasing dive session frequency has led to an overall better lead head, same benefits as mentioned above. The most important aspect in freediving is the ability to relax and calm the mind before, during and after a dive. During the dive there is an almost forced awareness of what is happening around and within your body. A 2-3 hour water session with 30 dives of about 1 minute each is both physically and mentally exhaustive. I find that my diving buddies have the behaviors of regular mediators, even though they may not be intentionally meditating.
Both of these activities have helped me tremendously in climbing, and more importantly elsewhere in life, curious to see if there are others who are exploring these areas.
Post by MarkAnderson on Dec 23, 2014 10:51:38 GMT -7
I don't do any literal meditation, but I try to go for a walk every day, and I spent that time thinking about stuff. I think it qualifies as some sort of active meditation and it definitely helps clear my head and reduce stress.
When I have a project I am constantly visualizing the sequence, sometimes while multitasking, but always at least a few times a day completely focused on the visualization.
I tend to take the mental stuff for granted, but an outside observer would probably say that I'm doing a lot of things subconsciously (or perhaps consciously but enough in the background that I don't realize I'm doing them), that are helping my mental state during climbing. Writing the book was an interesting exercise in that sense, because I had to really think about what I was doing to mentally prepare for performances. Apparently I'm doing something right, but its not always easy to put a finger on what that is.
I'm a regular meditator and a surfer so I did some freediving and breath holding as well as climbing. The changes are amazing as far as the fear management and staying calm under pressure goes.
It also helped me really well with my social anxieties..like being positive and not caring what people think. There was an article, I can't remember where I've read it but it had explained really well how meditation helps to achieve optimum performance..Well anyway, I can definitely recommend it.
So, I don't practice meditation, but I've heard it said that meditation is just mindfulness, trying to be aware of your own thoughts which usually slip by, giving you ideas, and leave without you ever noticing them. I've been practicing mindfulness since I started climbing. I've found that with enough practice I've gotten to the point where I can pinpoint those fleeting little thoughts which trigger fear when I'm run out and have to do a hard move, and by pinpointing them and acknowledging them I can actively force them out of my head. If found that this helps immensely with managing fear.
Additionally when I'm too focused on a project and I need to sort of let go of the expectations and desire for success being mindful helps me push these "don't blow it", "I hope I send right now", thoughts out of my head and lets me just focus on climbing and enjoying the movement. It also makes it easy to switch gears from "just climb, enjoy, relax" to "okay, you're through the crux, you know what you need to do here, you've got this, look at your feet, focus". If find that sometimes when doing hard redpoints you need to climb on instinct and just let your body execute, and other times you really need to focus and direct your body like a super task master. Practicing mindfulness makes me feel like I'm more in control of my thoughts and makes me feel much better at switching gears like this.
In fact I was telling a friend the other day, that when I work boulder problems or sport routes, there gets to be a point where I know I can do it and that the send is just a matter of time. When I reach that point I like to call a last burn by saying "okay, I'm going to do this right now". Then when I climb I try to be totally aware of how my mind ultimately is what is controlling my body and that I control my mind. I try to focus on whatever I need to send whether it's "relax through these moves", or "breathe heavy here", or "bear down, squeeze with all your might and yell on this next move" or whatever. I've found that when I announce out loud "I'm going to do it this go" I'm much more likely to send than if I were to just "give it another shot". I've had trouble articulating this experience and I don't think I did it justice here. I wonder if anyone else does anything similar?
I am a big fan of meditation. It is beneficial for every part of your brain and can be super beneficial for climbing/work/anything else you need motivation for. I don't generally meditate on climbing, but when I feel lacking in meditation I will spend time thinking about being super successful on a big reach project. I imagine friends cheering me on, crushing moves, and climbing super smooth. This type of meditation is really useful for training the brain to be motivated for training and working hard. I also have meditated on myself being very calm and in control while really runout above sketchy gear. Don McGrath talks about this a lot in vertical mind. He says something along the lines of your brain not really being able to tell the difference between something that actually happens, and something you imagine. According to him, meditating on successful climbing habits trains your brain almost as well as climbing can.