Date: December 12th, 2016
About Jess Simmons
Jess Simmons is a Registered Yoga Teacher (200-RYT) and Personal Trainer (NASM CPT) on a quest to climb harder and healthier. She integrates the physical, mental, and spiritual practices of yoga with modern exercise science for a holistic approach to training for climbing.
While we think of yoga as just this tool to help us be more flexible, Jess talks about why it’s way more than that: it gives us the ability to calm ourselves down in uncomfortable situations, it gives us more strength physically, and helps us have better balance, among other things.
Jess wrote an article called “The Unsung Benefits of Yoga for Climbing” for TrainingBeta that describes some of the yoga poses she suggests in this interview. It contains helpful photos and thorough instructions for how to do the sequences.
Jess Simmons on Yoga for Climbers
In this interview, Jess talks about how yoga does all of these things, and she tells you what she thinks are the 5 most important poses for climbers.
What We Talked About
- Daily yoga for climbers
- What kinds of yoga to avoid
- How you can overtrain with yoga and climbing
- Using breath in yoga helps climbing
- Yoga for shoulders
Jess Simmons Links
- Jess’s website: www.yogaclimbfitness.wordpress.com
- Jess’s article on TrainingBeta about yoga for climbers
- Work with Jess at 3ClickFitness as your personal trainer
Training Programs for You
- Check out our Route Climbing Training Program for route climbers of all abilities.
- Our other training programs: Training Programs Page.
Please Review The Podcast on iTunes!
Please give the podcast an honest review on iTunes here to help the show reach more curious climbers around the world 😉
Neely Quinn: Welcome to the Training Beta Podcast, where I talk with climbers and trainers about how we can all get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today we are on Episode 69, where I talked with Jessica Simmons. Jessica Simmons is a yogi, and she is a yoga instructor. She is also a personal trainer and also a climber. I thought she would be a perfect person to talk to about the benefits of yoga for climbers, what kinds of yoga are good- and bad- for climbers, what kind of yoga you should be doing when you’re training really hard for climbing, and so on. I think that a lot of climbers do yoga and they do it for strength, for flexibility and for balance, and so I wanted to get her take on what are the best poses we can be doing to balance out our muscular imbalances from being a climber, and what other benefits it can have for us.
Hopefully you’ll get something out of this. I tried to make it as user friendly as possible- she probably could have talked about yoga for many, many hours, but I wanted to get something very practical out of this, so at the end of it she gives you the five most important poses she thinks you could do. And this is something that you can do every day.
Here’s Jessica Simmons, and I hope you enjoy this interview.
Thanks for being with me today Jess.
Jess Simmons: Yeah, it’s a pleasure, thanks for having me.
Neely Quinn: Tell me a little bit about yourself for anybody who doesn’t know who you are.
Jess Simmons: My name is Jess Simmons, I live in Minneapolis, MN. I’m a yoga instructor, I’ve been teaching yoga officially for four years now, but I think with most yoga teachers, I’ve been kind of teaching since I started. You know, once you learn about yoga and you decide you want to teach it, you just kind of start teaching it to everyone who wants to learn. I’m a rock climber, I’ve only been climbing for three years, but I’m one of those people where I discovered it and it just became such apart of me that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and training for it, and working to get better at it ever since I started. I’m about to graduate from college next week, and I’ve already accepted position and started working as a personal trainer. I’m a NASM certified personal trainer, and I’m going to be doing that full time after the new year starts up. That kind of sums up where I’m at right now.
Neely Quinn: Nice, you have a lot going on.
Neely Quinn: How old are you?
Jess Simmons: I’m twenty five.
Neely Quinn: Yeah- so you’ve done a lot in these twenty five years, huh?
Jess Simmons: Yeah, well I’m really lucky. I’m one of those people who found my passion when I was pretty young, and there happens to be jobs in it. I definitely don’t take that for granted.
Neely Quinn: So tell me about that- what do you mean you found your passion when you were young? How old were you and what happened?
Jess Simmons: So when I was really young, I was just one of those kids who was always felt like a misfit. I think I’m pretty much your classic climber case, where I did the organized sports, but never really felt like I fit in, you know? Was always looking for my place. Right when I turned eighteen, I found yoga, and I found fitness, and I really got into that and the community of it. That ended up growing into me becoming a yoga instructor, and then finding climbing. With all of that, I’ve kind of come into my own as realizing that being in this position of educating others on how to use health, and wellness, and fitness to not just be fit, but also to build an entire lifestyle that’s based on things that are well and holistically healthy- that’s kind of where I’m the happiest. It’s really cool, because there’s a lot of people out there who can benefit a lot from learning this stuff.
Neely Quinn: And then tell me about what you went to school for.
Jess Simmons: I went to school for entrepreneurial management and business culture. I started off doing the classic thing that everybody does when they go to college, and just was like “Oh I’m gonna take my generals and figure it out from there”. Through a lot of trial and error, I really discovered that I’m passionate about small business, and growing community and business relationships and stuff like that. I’ve been really lucky to fall into a really good group of entrepreneurial mentors, and actually the guy I’m working with now- he’s the owner of the personal training company I work for. He’s a really talented entrepreneur who’s also in his twenties, so we’re kind figuring it all out as well go. I’ve been really lucky to all along the way have had people to help guide me and show me what I do like about business, what I don’t like. I’ve been able to kind of develop my own style of going about things.
Neely Quinn: So when you went into college and you started studying that, what did you think that you would end up doing when you got out of college?
Jess Simmons: The funny thing is, I actually had no idea. I’m a very one step and a time kind of a person. I am really bad at having any time of a long term plan, but I typically will figure out a direction that I want to head, and then just continue to take steps in order to get towards that direction. I knew that eventually I wanted to be able to be really independent with my businesses, and really incorporate health and wellness and fitness. I just kept pursuing as many experiences in the fitness industry and as many certifications as I could, and as much mentorship time as possible. From there I’ve been able to figure out that this next step of moving into personal training- and I’ve been doing a lot of personal yoga instruction as well- is the right step here. What I thought that I was doing is obviously very doing than what I have ended dup doing, but I learned that that’s just kind of life for me.
Neely Quinn: Yeah- do you feel like your degree is going to help you in what you’re doing?
Jess Simmons: Yeah, I really do. I’m super fortunate- I’ve found an incredible school called Metropolitan State University, here in Minneapolis, where they really value the life experience that you have outside of the classroom. I’ve actually gotten college credit for my yoga instructing, because they’re like “Well you’ve learned just as much through that as you would through a college course”. They let you test out of different business that I knew how to do because of being in the industry. I’ve really learned a lot about how to value education in a different way than what they told me originally in high school. I’m really fortunate with that- I won’t use my degree in the sense that I need it to be in my profession, but I know that what I learned from my schooling is definitely going to benefit me for the rest of my life.
Neely Quinn: So you’re working out of- what kind of place are you working out of? What kind of facility?
Jess Simmons: Currently I’m a manager of Snap Fitness here, which is just a franchise system of 24 hour fitness. I’m transitioning out of that, and with the company that I work for now- we’re called Three Click Mobile Fitness- we work with all different types of people, we go to different individual’s homes. I’ve done a lot of in-home personal yoga sessions, and we do partnerships with physical therapy offices, because they need people design programs once they graduate from physical therapy. We’ve worked with all sorts of schools, worked with various community organizations- we’re kind of all over wherever people need us we can show up.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so you don’t really work out of a facility, you go to other places.
Jess Simmons: Mhm- yeah. Primarily we do end up working out of facilities, just because that’s where people go looking for personal training and looking for yoga instruction in the first place, but it turns out when people know that you have a skill and they’re looking for that, they have a tendency to find you. We’ve ben expanding the mobile part of our personal training and yoga instructing for the last couple of years and it’s been going really well.
Neely Quinn: How much of your job would say is yoga instruction, and how much would you say is personal training?
Jess Simmons: Oh, that is fascinating. So I’ve been a certified yoga instructor for quite some time now, and I just recently topped that off with the national certification for personal training. I thought that I was going to get a lot of people coming for personal training stuff, but it turns out that most of the clients I have- I would say well over half of the clients that I have now- are people who were seeking personal yoga training for various muscle imbalances, and finding that stability, and find that peace of mind that it brings. I would say about sixty to seventy percent of my clients right now are personal training for yoga.
Neely Quinn: Are you happy about that?
Jess Simmons: Yeah! It’s been really cool because I’m really passionate about it, and I know that it can enhance people’s lives in so many ways, so it’s cool to be able to help them do that.
Neely Quinn: Did you think that you needed to get the personal training certificate because you didn’t think you would be able to find enough clients for yoga instruction?
Jess Simmons: Yeah- it’s kind of a combination of those two things. When you’re making your way into the fitness industry as an instructor, the wider net you can cast, the better off you’re going to be. You want people to know that when they’re working with you, you’re going to be able to be really knowledgable, and really safe, and really effective at working towards their goals. I thought for sure that people were going to say “Oh well, you don’t have a personal training certificate, we don’t really trust you to put together programs”, but it turns out that might not have been the case and I might have been able to start this gig a little earlier, but that’s alright. I’m pretty psyched to be here now.
Neely Quinn: It’s cool what you’ve fallen into. So how many climbers do you work with- or have you worked with many climbers?
Jess Simmons: So the climbers that I’ve worked with up until this point have all just been through my friends, and working with helping them with their various tightnesses, and muscle distortions, and different issues that they’ve bene having with chronic, long term stuff. As far as professionally, that’s something I’m looking to get into more, but it’s not something that I’ve been doing up until this point. I’ve been talking with the local gyms here about setting up a partnership with them, because they currently don’t have anything as far as yoga or as far as personal training or anything like that goes. So that’s super preliminary, but the conversations are out there about it.
Neely Quinn: That’s interesting. There are a lot of gyms around that I’ve seen where there’s yoga, they give free yoga to their members and everything. Maybe you could nudge them in that direction.
Jess Simmons: Yeah- we only really have one really public climbing facility chain here right now, and so it just makes so much sense to incorporate yoga into it. Like I said, the conversations are started, so hopefully those will be moving along here.
Neely Quinn: Okay. So before we get into the nitty gritty about yoga and climbing, I have a feeling that a lot of people are surprised to hear that you can do personal yoga instruction. What does that look like and what does it cost? I have a feeling that some people are like “Ooh, I could use that!”.
Jess Simmons: A lot of the people, they pretty much come to personal yoga instructing for two reasons. Number one, they have super specific stuff that they want to work on. I have one client who has a joint conditions where her joints are really loose, so she wants to work on stabilizing her joints. Really specific, so that’s why one to one works better for her.
The second case, which is probably to more common case, is that people are just really intimidated by yoga. They see all of the Instagram pictures, and the yoga journal covers, and the things that people are doing look so intense, and so out of reach for most human beings period, that it makes them feel like if they walk into a yoga class they’re just going to be so overwhelmed. Having that time one on one with a yoga instructor helps them be more comfortable with the basics of yoga, of working with the breath, and having the fundamentals of the posture down before they go off into a class.
Neely Quinn: How important do you think it is to get that kind of instruction before you go into a class? Do you think that a lot of people go into classes and injure themselves?
Jess Simmons: Absolutely. I absolutely believe that. I personally, when I started yoga, I thought that it was just about getting twisty, getting bendy, and I am lucky I didn’t injure myself because I was so young when I started. I’ve definitely seen a lot of people suffer from injuries because of improper technique, or rushing into it, or overtraining with their yoga practice. I think having either that one to one time, or having some type of absolute beginner series, is really crucial to setting up your foundation for having your yoga practice be based in stuff that’s going to help you over the long term, and not leave you not able to practice because of injuries.
Neely Quinn: I want to go back- you just said that you were kind of lucky in that you started young but didn’t get injured. Do young people get injured more often in yoga?
Jess Simmons: I would say that young people typically get injured less in yoga, just because when you’re young, the elasticity of your different fibers of your muscles and of your joints and ligaments have a lot more forgiveness in them. Usually when people are young, they’re just like “Wow this is so cool! I can bend, I can twist, I can do all of these things”. When people get really focused on the form of what they’re postures look like, then eventually over the long term, that’s where as you get older and your body can’t take that sort of twisting, bending, turning. That’s when the injuries start of develop- later on in life. What I really like to focus on within yoga is finding the stability, finding the healthy ranges of motion, and finding the things that going to keep someone holistically healthy in the long term.
Neely Quinn: Alright. How has yoga affected your life, and then how has yoga effected you in your climbing?
Jess Simmons: That’s awesome- it’s such a huge response I could have for that. I would say that above all, the biggest thing that I’ve learned from yoga is just being okay with where I’m at.
First off, I just have to say that yoga is just like climbing. The community is incredible because we have people, we have doctors, personal trainers, business people, accountants, all sorts of different people from different backgrounds coming in and contributing to it. The yoga practice is thousands and thousands of years old, so there’s such an abundance of knowledge. My personal philosophies are just based on what I’ve experienced for myself. There’s going to be a lot of stuff that different yogis will hear and they’ll interpret differently or they might disagree with me, but that’s the really cool thing about yoga as well- everybody gets from it what they’re looking for, because there’s so much out there to gain from incorporating yoga into your life.
Back to your question- the acceptance of where I’m at has been the best part about yoga for me. It’s really a practice of mindfulness, and a practice of awareness. Giving yourself the permission to get out of your head and into your body, and then just be in the present moment. Within that, I have found the tools that I needed to accomplish pretty much every other achievement and fulfillment that I’ve had in my life. That’s the overall life way that yoga has impacted me the most.
Within my climbing, you know honestly the first thing that comes to mind is breathing through discomfort has been one of the biggest things that I’ve taken from yoga in order to enhance my climbing. Just like within rock climbing, yoga puts you in uncomfortable positions sometimes. Part of dealing with that discomfort is observing your physiological state, and sometimes that comes down to breathing- and on the wall that’s going to be the exact same thing. Yoga and climbing are really similar, in that what you do off of the mat, or what you do off of the climbing wall, really translates into what you do on the mat, or on the climbing wall. Developing and cultivating that awareness, that breath practice, it’s been really beneficial in day to day life and on the rock climbing wall.
Neely Quinn: So are you mostly a boulderer, or a sport climber? When I imagine being really present on the wall, I kind of think of sport climbing, because you’re up there for longer.
Jess Simmons: Mhm.
Neely Quinn: And paying attention more to those things. But what kind of climbing are you into?
Jess Simmons: So I love all climbing- sport, ice, bouldering, all of it. But I’ve actually really found my home these last couple of years in trad climbing and multi pitch trad climbing. This is I think where that mental aspect and the breathing and everything really come into play, because it’s obviously scary. There’s a lot that you really have to be calm and breathe through, and a lot of discomfort you have to accept as a part of your experience if you’re going to be a trad climber. I’ve just especially this past year gotten into it in a big way, and it’s become my biggest passion in climbing. My boyfriend and I just went out to Devil’s Tower, and I did some of the hardest onsight trad climbing that I’ve done, and I had some of those moments where I was like “Okay, I’m fifteen feet above my piece, and I’m pulling this move that feels a little shaky, but I just have to breathe through it, and I have to be okay with it”. But even though that’s my favorite style of climbing, it definitely can benefit in all different types of climbing, and I’ve definitely used these types of practices that I’m talking about in sport climbing and in bouldering too.
Neely Quinn: That’s so fitting that your favorite kind of climbing is the most mentally taxing kind of climbing [laughs]. I mean, besides freesoloing, but yeah, basically.
Jess Simmons: Yeah, absolutely. It makes a lot of sense.
Neely Quinn: I understand that you’ve done this for years, and it’s kind of an integral part of your life where you are really good- probably now- at recognizing when you’re uncomfortable and when you’re not breathing and hone you’re not present, and then getting yourself back to center. I’m wondering- how much yoga practice would it take for somebody to feel a difference in their mental state?
Jess Simmons: That’s a fantastic question, because it is just as complicated as every person who’s going to be coming to yoga, because every person will have a different answer to that question. I have a lot of students who come to yoga and it’s just a fish to water, where they’re like “Whoa, this is what I’ve been waiting for, this is what I needed”, and they just take to it immediately. And then I have some people who aI’ve been working with for years, who the processes and the practices of yoga, they’re slowly working, they’re definitely helping, but it’s at a much slower pace that they’re penetrating their day to day life. As far as how long to expect, it really depends on the person and what they’re experiences are, and what they’re looking to gain from their yoga practice as well.
Neely Quinn: So it could be years, and it could be weeks, where somebody could feel a difference?
Jess Simmons: Exactly. For some people it’ll take- I’ve heard of people who will take one yoga class and then they quit their job and then they take yoga teacher training and they’re like “This is the life for me” [laughter]. It’s such a wide and varied group of people we’ve got out there doing this stuff. So it could be any amount depending on who it is. The cool thing is though, that no matter where you’re at- even if you’re a super anxious person, and it takes a really long time for any kind of yoga practices to seep into your psyche- the benefit is still there. That’s the really cool thing about yoga, that it really celebrates that everyone is at their own space, their own journey, and it really emphasizes taking away any comparisons to other people and other people’s journeys. It really emphasizes taking away any judgements that you might have of your own and where you’re at. That goes back to what I said about how the biggest thing that I’ve taken from yoga that has helped me is just being able to be okay with where I’m at.
Neely Quinn: So you think that the biggest benefit to climbers from yoga is this mental aspect? Is that true?
Jess Simmons: Yeah, I would definitely say that.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so what about the physical aspects of it? That’s I think what most people think of when they think “Oh I should do yoga for climbing”. They think they should be more flexible. I mean, I’ve said this myself several times- “Just one more yoga class and I can do this move” [laughs].
Jess Simmons: Yup, yup, totally. And that’s such a common view on yoga, because again, it comes back to the Instagram pictures, and the yoga journal covers. That’s what people see yoga as. It’s just like climbing, it’s a very aesthetic sport- it’s beautiful. And when you see people doing gorgeous postures, it’s nice to look at. But, you know, the thing with the yoga postures is that form follows function, in every aspect of life but especially in your yoga practice. People think a lot about the flexibility aspects of yoga, and that’s true. But a lot of the different postures that we see people doing… they’re not for everyone. The big hip openers, the intense binds, the different hand arm balances, those can actually be really detrimental to people if you’re not conditioned for it, and if you’re just looking for the form, and not paying attention to the function.
When it comes to flexibility, there’s a lot of misconception about what is good flexibility. People often think of pushing their joints to the absolute range of motion that they can, or they think of going beyond what their natural body wants to do, as far as range of motion goes, and flexibility is really important, especially functional flexibility and range of motion are really important parts of being a healthy athlete. But not pushing beyond your body’s healthy state is so important, because it keeps our joints really tight. When we keep our flexibility within it’s healthy range, it allows us to perform movements and perform activities as we need to, but it doesn’t push our joints out of their healthy range.
When I look at what helps the most with yoga and building that flexibility, it really comes down to looking at what the various postural distortion patterns are that climbers have. When it comes to flexibility, we want to look at which of the muscles are going to be classically overtightened, because of the movements that we are doing. Those are the places that we really want to focus on building flexibility. Then we look at the areas where our muscles are under-active and need to be engaged in order to allow us to effectively move and prevent injury. Then we need to focus on really tightening those up.
For an example, in climbers, really often the lats are really tight. That’s why we get the slight hunch of the shoulders, the head coming forward, that classic climber’s hunch that you see. It’s because of having really tight lats, and having really loose- those muscles right in between the shoulder blades that create the stability of the upper body. So instead of just focusing on trying to stretch the body as much as possible, really focusing on needing to create safe range of motion through the lats, and then focus on tightening up those spaces between the shoulder blades that are going to keep the shoulders stable while you’re climbing. Does that all make sense?
Neely Quinn: That pretty much makes sense. So we are trying to focus on the things that are tight on climbers in general, and stabilize them. What kinds of things can people do?
Jess Simmons: That’s a great question. So, when it comes to climbers, I mean if you look t the common climbing movements, we’ve basically got pulling, we’ve got leg lifting, and we’ve got really bizarre shoulder-y stuff. One thing we really want to focus on is making sure that those shoulders are really strong and tight, because the rotator cuff is made up of just four little muscles. The reason that often times climbers are having issues in their elbows and their shoulders, is that they have really weak little tiny rotator cuff muscles, and the big muscles that are doing all of the work are in fact pulling those shoulder muscles slightly out of place. So things that we can really do to focus on that is like I said, working on stretching and working on those big muscles that get tight, but then also looking at things that we can do to build range of motion through those small muscles, and also build those muscles up. There are various yoga postures that you can do to help with that. If you think of really stabilizing yoga poses- for example, planks, and really simple Chaturanga push-ups. Little things like that can have a huge impact, and they’re not the postures that you’re gonna see in yoga journals, but they’re going to be the most beneficial to climbers in the long run.
Neely Quinn: So that’s a good point that you bring up- and I’ve talked about this in other podcasts- but I can’t do the Chaturanga push-ups anymore because my shoulder- not my surgical shoulder- hurts too much to do it because my biceps tendon is kind of inflamed. I think a lot of climbers feel that way. So what do you say about that?
Jess Simmons: I’m also a huge champion for physical therapy. I actual have been in and out of physical therapy my whole life. I heard in your interview with Beth Rodden, she has the same thing- where my joints are just hype mobile. I’ve dealt with a lot of what you’re talking about. My first reaction if someone is like “I really can’t do this”, is to go and get that treated and diagnosed by a physical therapist. And then if there’s any specific injury, or any long term chronic thing that they can deal with at a physical therapists- do that. Then after that, incorporate physical therapy type movements in your day to day exercise practices. So in my yoga practices, or in my yoga classes that I teach for example, I’m always sneaking little things that I’ve learned at physical therapy in my classes, because that’s going to help keep people healthy in the long run.
For someone like you, with your shoulders, obviously you’ve been working with medical professionals on this. I would just say find what you can do, find what works for you, and continue to adapt and evolve as your body changes. That’s going to include a lot of shoulder strengthening and a lot of shoulder stability, and building that into your day to day routine. It’s what we do over the long term that really impacts how our climbing and how our health overall goes.
Neely Quinn: Okay, cool. We can go back to other poses that are good for climbers now. I think that- I mean, maybe we can talk a little bit more about other shoulder poses and other things we can do about our scapulas.
Jess Simmons: Yeah, absolutely. So the article that you’re going to be publishing will have some good visuals for the stuff that I’m about to talk about here. But as far as what climbers really want to focus on, it’s going to be creating mobility through that back and spine, because that’s going to help keep us safe when we are doing any kind of big movements, or any kind of tweaky movements when we are on the wall. Really focusing on the basics. Doing Cat Cow as a part of your day to day routine to keep those back muscles really nice and loose. Incorporating healthy twists, so if you know what Thread the Needle is, when you are on all fours and your reach the arm up and let the chest muscles open, and then thread it down through. Bring the shoulder down, onto the mat- I hope that kind of makes sense. It stretches the back and shoulders. We can do more visuals if we need in the future.
As far as what gets really tight through the lower body, as climbers we need to focus on keeping the hip flexor complex nice and loose. If you think about that motion, we’re always grabbing on and lifting our legs. That’s engaging all those muscles in the front of the legs, and those are naturally tight because we spend most of our time in America here sitting. Climbing can really exacerbate that. We need to make sure we are doing a lot of Warrior-type poses and Crescent lunges, and things that are going to help keep that loose so that it doesn’t in turn pull our pelvis out of shape. That creates a lot of issues through the back- especially the low back and the knees.
Neely Quinn: One of my favorite hip openers is the Half Pigeon. Is that along the same lines?
Jess Simmons: Yeah that’s totally along the same lines. That is especially good for this little tiny muscle called the piriformis in the outer hip that gets really overworked. It’s a tiny muscle that does a lot of extra work if the glutes are inactive, which happens a lot because people struggle with activating the gluteus maximums and the glute med. So stretching in “Pigeon” pose is going to help open that up, and it will create a little it more space for the muscles that need to activate those glutes in order to do their thing and fire off accordingly.
Neely Quinn: Okay. Cool. What else can we do?
Jess Simmons: So, another really big thing with the postures that you’re doing, is to incorporate the breath work into the postures as you do them. For example, while you’re doing your Cat Cow, really at that moment start to think about linking your breath and your motion together. This is going to do two things. Number one, it’s going to allow for the posture that you’re doing, as your doing it, to have more benefit. When you’re breathing during your postures, you’re delivering fresh new oxygen towards those muscles that are being stretched and opened, and that’s giving them the ability to then release toxins and release the things that are building up in the muscles that are creating some of that tightness and some of that tension. It’s really beneficial during when you’re practicing yoga, but also when you’re on the wall, you’ve primed yourself to start thinking about incorporating your movement and your breath. That’s one of the most beneficial aspects of any yoga practice, is bringing that into your day to day life.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, I mean, that kind of thing- it is such a practice. It’s such a skill to remember how to breathe when you’re climbing. It seems lie practicing it off the wall would be really beneficial.
Jess Simmons: Yeah, absolutely. I really appreciated your interview with the sports psychologist, and she talked about that a lot too. And the cool thing about using any of these principles that I’m talking about- when you’re looking at physical therapy, or personal training, or yoga, there’s a lot of principles that should be consistent throughout all of them. For example, when you’re doing a muscular exercise, you want your joints to be in alignment with each other, because that’s how we are going to avoid having them go out of place or in a compromising position. That is going to be consistent if you’re working with a personal training client, or a yoga instructing client, or when you’re on the climbing wall. The more that you can keep your joints in their proper alignment, the better off everything is going to be.
Then that also goes with the breath work. People are starting to understand more and more as the research is showing, how powerful the breath is for impacting us both physiologically and psychologically, so that’s going to continue to become a more integral part of sports science as we keep moving forward.
Neely Quinn: I’m just going to pause here for a moment, and let you know a little bit more about something else that can help you guys be stronger and better climbers. At TrainingBeta, our goal is to make training as easily accessible and as easy to do as possible. We’ve created a bunch of training programs for you, so that you can just open up your phone, or your computer, or whatever device you use, and follow instructions and get stronger.
If you’re a route climber, we have a route training program that is a subscription program, and it’s monthly. It’s about fifteen dollars a month, so it’s really affordable. You get three unique workouts every week, and you go through six week cycles of power endurance, finger strength, performance phases, everything you need to be a stronger route climber. We have the same thing for boulders, it’s our bouldering training program. It’s also a subscription program, and it gives you those three unique workouts, and it’s just for boulderers. All of the drills are going to be on boulders instead of on routes, and vice versa for the route training program.
So all of those programs- those two programs and everything else that we offer can be found at trainingbeta.com, and at the top you’ll see training programs, and you can check them all out there.
Alright, back to the interview.
Neely Quinn: Is there another pose that we want to talk about right now?
Jess Simmons: Yeah, for sure. Like I said, within the yoga practice that I like to teach, I like to incorporate a lot of the physical therapy movements. We use a lot of the core foundational poses, like Chair Pose and Mountain Pose, and low lunges. As you’re doing those, really think about those muscles that we are looking to open and stretch. If we are looking at doing a Warrior One Pose, for example, that’s a pose that I think most people will know. When we are in that posture, we’re building stability through the lower body, but we are also allowing a stretch though the upper body through reaching the arms up as well. One thing that I really like to do with clients is look at using slight side bending within the lunges, so that we can start to open up those lats and open up the shoulders.
Other postures which are really beneficial are going to be the restorative postures, especially as far as post-climbing goes, to sort of bring it all back and bring it down. Child’s Pose is a really beneficial one, especially if you have some kind of a beef that you came up with with yourself when you were on the climbing wall, which we’ve all had, where you don’t feel like you’ve performed quite well enough and you’re struggling with that. Coming back to Child’s Pose really helps both psychologically and physiologically dealing with climbing performance.
Forward Folds are really beneficial because what they do is help to turn off the fight-flight response in our body that we often have tuned up when we are climbing. A lot of that stress that we get from going into that sympathetic nervous system can be turned off by just really simple Forward Folding. So whether you are standing or on the ground, incorporating that will help to bring you back to a good baseline to be clearly thinking again.
Neely Quinn: So if you come off after a route after a big fall, you just come down and bend over?
Jess Simmons: [laughs] Yeah, when you put it that way it sounds awesome, and you definitely should do that.
Neely Quinn: Okay. Any other poses that you want to mention?
Jess Simmons: Yeah- I really think there is a lot of benefit to doing chest opening and heart opening stretches for climbers. Those are going to be interlacing fingers behind the back and letting the chest open up. What happens if your chest is too tight, is a thing called “altered muscular inhibition”, where if your muscles in your chest are really tight, they’re going to inhibit your back muscles from firing. If you think about it, in order for your lat muscles to really engage and pull, your chest muscles need to be able to relax appropriately to make that happen.
I really like to incorporate chest expansions into every practice that we do, because also just in day to day life we end up with that hunch a lot. That also has an effect psychologically too- when we’re hunched forward, that puts our brain into a different state, as opposed to if we are sitting up tall and looking really proud and feeling confident through that upper body. So chest expansions, those are really good to incorporate into Forward Folds too. If you can interlace your fingers behind your back and find a Forward Fold, you can kind of kill two birds with one stone there. It’s a really good way to help relax everything that needs to be relaxed.
Neely Quinn: Okay. So I have a bunch of random questions for you.
Jess Simmons: Yeah, fire away.
Neely Quinn: I’ve heard of people going into yoga and injuring themselves. I’m wondering what kinds of things should people be avoiding in order to avoid injury, whether they’re in a class or with an instructor on their own.
Jess Simmons: That’s a great question. The biggest thing to remember in avoiding injury is that your true guide during your yoga practice is you. The instructor, even though they’re trained in this, they don’t know what it feels like to be you. There’s a huge difference between the feeling of discomfort from your muscles being tired and from your joints being pushed to an unsafe range. By having that awareness and constantly checking in, you can know if you’re staying within that safe range of motion.
As far as things that we just kind of always want to avoid, you never want to have your back arched, and Forward Fold at the same time. That’s really hard on the tendons and the ligaments that run up the spine. Then we want to avoid, as much as possible, doing two different types of spinal motions at the same time. So what I mean by that is we have six different motions that the spine has. It can twist one direction, it can twist the other direction, flex, extend, and then move laterally in either direction, so that’s six. We want to avoid things- say if we are twisting at the spine, and then we tried to also lean sideways at the same time. That’s really hard on the sane to do more than one of those motions at the same time. So if you have someone telling you to do that, respectfully decline.
There is a yoga sutra called Sthira Sukham Asanam, and it means “steadiness and comfort within what you do”. If you find yourself prating and you feel like you’re being pushed out of that state of steadiness and comfort, it’s always really important to come back and reconnect with your sense of presence and your sense of everything being okay. And from there, resume the practice. Those are the best ways- just being mindful, knowing yourself, and always checking in to avoid injury.
I think that goes for climbing, on the climbing wall as well. Often times we know when we are approaching that point of injury and we know when it’s time to back off, and it’s just giving ourselves that permission to really listen to that.
Neely Quinn: So if you’re saying that if you’re in a class, or even if you are doing yoga on your own, and you feel- I’m not really sure what you mean by not steady, or- what were the words that you used?
Jess Simmons: Steady and comfortable.
Neely Quinn: Because half the time when I’m in a yoga class, I’m not steady and I’m definitely not comfortable.
Jess Simmons: [laughs] Yup.
Neely Quinn: So should I just not the do the class [laughs]?
Jess Simmons: No you absolutely should do the class- that’s a really good question, because the distinction between intensity and steadiness and comfort- they’re actually very different things. If you put it in climbing terms, if you think about a really hard project that you’ve climbed. Something that pushed you to your limit, it was really difficult, but you were prepared for it, you trained for it, and you did it and it felt steady even though it took a lot of energy and it took a lot of exertion. That sort of puts it into climbing terms- where even though it’s difficult, you’re pushing. It’s intense, but you were still able to find that flow state and that steadiness within that intensity.
In order to be really successful at pretty much anything we do, we have to be able to find a certain level of intensity, and a certain level of pushing up to that edge of our comfort zone. Yoga is certainly the same way, so it’s really common that experience you had of being in a yoga class, of “Oh my god, this is so hard, what’s going on”. In any yoga class, the teacher should always be giving you full permission to take modifications and to back off as need be, to be constantly reconnecting and constantly finding that state of presence and that state of comfort. It’s within that state that we’re able to best observe our bodies, and best observe what’s going on as we are doing our practice, or as we’re climbing.
Again, it all ends up coming back to the breath. If you are doing a posture and you notice that your breath is really compromised, that’s a sign to you that you are not steady, and you are not comfortable. But if you’re in a posture and it’s really difficult, but your breath is moving really freely, you might still be able to find that state of steadiness and comfort- even if your muscles are working really hard and even if it’s really difficult. Did that help clarify a little bit?
Neely Quinn: Yeah it does. So a follow up question is, when people are in yoga classes, I think a lot of times they might think to themselves “This is very uncomfortable and I feel unsteady, but I’m not going to take a break and get into Child’s Pose”, because it’s embarrassing. Your ego gets involved, and you don’t want to disappoint the teacher. How should people think about that?
Jess Simmons: It really comes down to, again, what we are practicing off of our mat is what we bring onto our mat with us. Just like in climbing, what we do on the wall, comes off the wall. So entering with the intention of this being your time, about your personal growth and development, and really setting that dedication right away that the space of your yoga mat is for your growth. It’s not about the teacher, it’s not about anyone else in the classroom, it’s about you. That really starts to help to disconnect the ego from the practice. It’s always when the ego starts to come into play that we really struggle with anything in our life, because we’re worried that we are going to lose the respect, or the dignity, or whatever we are worried we are going to lose from our ego.
The reality is, the body doesn’t have a connection to that ego, the body has a connection to the mind and the breath and the stuff that is actually going to be beneficial. I would say just really observing and being aware of when that ego starts to take over, and just fake it until you make it. Practice letting yourself come out of the posture and moving into Child’s Pose, even if it feels uncomfortable, just let yourself do it. Eventually it’ll start to become more second nature, and you’ll stop worrying so much about what other people are thinking about your practice.
Neely Quinn: How would you translate that advice to climbing?
Jess Simmons: I would say for climbing that it really comes down to knowing that your process is just as important as the outcome. A lot of times, people will think that the be all end all is sending, is getting to the top of your climb, when the reality is there’s so much more to climbing than just accomplishing grades. For example, if you’re walking up to a wall and you’re like “Alright, I’m really excited to climb this, I really want to get to the top of this”, and you set that intention as “No matter what, all I’m going to do is climb this, there’s all these people around, they’re watching me, I need to perform for them”. Then you hit this tweaky shoulder move, and you can feel your shoulder starting to tweak, and you don’t back off- that’s how people often tear their rotator cuff or tear their labrum, or something like that. Whereas if you walk up to it and you set the intention of “I’m going to climb this the best that I possibly can, I’m going to stay within the healthy range of my body and just give it my absolute all”, and stay present during this whole thing, you can start to connect with those moments when something might be going wrong, and start to back off when you really need to and when your body is telling you that it’s time for that.
Especially with climbing, there isn’t that same emphasis on being in your own practice as there is with yoga. It’s a lot more important to cultivate that on your own, so that we can both find fulfillment, not just achievement, but then also stay within our healthy practice and our healthy range too.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, so just always making climbing our own practice instead of something where we are trying to impress people.
Jess Simmons: Yeah, exactly. And again, that fulfillment versus achievement is huge too. What being a good climber means to one person is going to be different than what it means to another person. Just really defining that for yourself, and just staying really strong within that, and not letting what your expectations as a climber are be dictated by other people is really huge too.
Neely Quinn: That’s great advice. Next random question- I get a lot of people as nutrition clients who are climbers. A lot of them, in my opinion, are overtraining. A lot of them have yoga in their training practice. Sometimes they will be like “Well, I’m going to climb and train four days a week, and then I’m going to, on my rest days, do yoga every day, and sometimes on my climbing days too”. In my opinion, I think that’s too much. Of course it depends on the kind of yoga, but I want to know your opinion of that. How often should people be doing yoga if they’re training for climbing?
Jess Simmons: I do yoga daily, but like you said, it is all about the type of yoga. If someone just really needs a yoga practice and they need to have it every day, I think that if you’re doing a really intense style of Vinyasa or Ashtanga, and you’re doing that a lot when you’re training for climbing, I couldn’t agree more. It’s definitely overtraining, and it’s definitely going to end in injury. If you’re saying “Okay, I need to have yoga because it helps my mind, it helps me feel good”, there’s Restorative practices, there’s Yin yoga, there’s all sorts of different types of yoga that you can substitute in, in order to still get that yoga fix, but not have to worry about all the joints getting pushed to the point where they can’t handle it.
I think often times, people think that because it’s yoga and because it’s stretching that you can’t do too much of it, but that’s definitely not the case as we’ve definitely seen people be injured from doing too much yoga. I’d say just have those people who want to incorporate more yoga to be more open to the types of yoga that they’re willing to try, and then bring in some practices that aren’t as taxing on the body.
Neely Quinn: Can you be a little bit more- you said Ashtanga and Vinyasa, but can you be more specific? There’s Bikram, there’s hot yoga, all these different yoga places have different names. What should people watch out for?
Jess Simmons: I’m actually personally not a fan of Ashtanga yoga, because it doesn’t concern itself at all with the safety and the functionality of the poses. It’s all about achieving different poses, it’s all about how much can you contort yourself. Some people can do it really safely and I really applaud them for that, and they do great with it, but that’s definitely not my style. I would say avoid that as a recovery yoga. Same with Vinyasa. Vinyasa is a very flowy type of yoga, and with it the transitions form poses is just as much part of the practice and the postures themselves. It’s going to be more intense, it’s going to be a faster moving class, so avoid that as recovery yoga as well.
Bikram and hot yoga, those are really important to be careful with, because when we are artificially encouraging our body to sweat, there’s a lot of electrolyte loss that we have. Even though you can drink a lot of water to replace the fluids that you’re losing during those classes, it’s not actually going to be putting back the electrolytes that your body needs in order to absorb the water that you’re drinking. If you’re going to do hot yoga, once or twice a week maximum in order to keep your levels right.
When we are talking about the more restorative practices, like the actual Restorative yoga, or Yin yoga, those are going to be really based on stretching and being very calm and being very mindful usually. You hold the postures for five to ten minutes, and it’s really based on that recovery mode- putting your body into that parasympathetic nervous system, turning off the fight or flight response. If you’re looking at recovery yoga, Restorative and Yin are by far going to be your best bets for that.
Neely Quinn: So if they’re training for climbing and wanting to do harder yoga, when would you suggest they do that. On rest days, on training days? And what kinds of yoga would you suggest?
Jess Simmons: I would say to view Vinyasa and Ashtanga and Bikram and hot yoga as just as intense and any strength training workout that you would do. As far as an undulating periodized training schedule that people might be using, think about incorporating those practices on days and times when you would normally incorporate strength training. Don’t incorporate them in addition to climbing and strength training. If you’re doing climbing training, and then strength training in the gym, and then an Ashtanga yoga class, number one that’s going to take you a good three or four hours, and who has that. But number two, then a lot of the stuff you’ll be doing in the strength training will be duplicated in the intense yoga class, and that will set you up for overtraining and injuries. If you’re going to incorporate those really intense, rigorous yoga classes, try and do it when you have a little bit more freshness to you, when you can really focus on keeping the form in place.
Another thing that can happen if people are overtraining and using yoga, is those postural structural muscles that we’ve been talking about get tired, and once the form starts to fall apart, that’s when e get really prone to injury. Just making sure that we are really fresh, and that we are allowing ourselves all of the rest that we need. Also, another thing about yoga that is really powerful, is incorporating rest as a huge part of your practice. I know at the end of every yoga class there’s Shavasana, which is the celebration of the end of the practice, moving into that resting state. Really allowing yourself to have that rest, having the time between to allow your body to recover is really huge too.
Neely Quinn: Okay. Well, this is a lot to take in. I want people to really get- a lot of people who are listening to this are currently training, or they’re planning to train for climbing. It seems like if they are going to take on a three or four day training plan, then maybe these really strength heavy yoga classes aren’t a good idea more than like once a week, and then recovery, restorative yoga should be done the rest of the week. Is that a good guideline?
Jess Simmons: I would say that’s a fantastic guideline. It’s also hard to, as I’m sure you know from working with all these training programs, it’s hard to be really specific when talking about the general public- everyone’s fitness level is so different and what everyone’s body can accommodate is so different. That’s why it’s nice to have those one to one yoga clients, because you can really work with where they’re at. I would say as a general rule, if you’re doing intense training three days a week, don’t do more than one, at max two, difficult yoga classes during the week. The rest of them do as restorative. So yeah, I definitely back up what you say.
Neely Quinn: Okay. I usually recommend to people that they do those hard days on climbing days. It would be awesome if they could do a yoga class in the morning, and then climb and train in the evening so they have some rest in between.
Jess Simmons: Yeah we are definitely on the same page with that.
Neely Quinn: Cool. Alright, so what else? Are there any other poses you can think of, like maybe for the neck, because of belaying and looking up all the time? Is there anything for that that we can do?
Jess Simmons: Yeah, absolutely. When it comes to the belayer’s neck, the more that we can really allow the neck to bend forward, and to draw the chin down toward the chest, the more we are going to be stretching out those muscles that are constantly being shortened from looking up. The cat portion of Cat Cow is really helpful, and then in Child’s Pose, we really let those neck muscles relax too. Really allowing for as much Forward Folding- and what else Forward Fold does too, if you think about how gravity works on the spine as we’re standing, the spine is constantly being compressed towards the earth. Whereas when we do a Forward Fold, we’re taking that compression and undoing it- we’re letting the spine begin to lengthen. Really incorporating Rag Doll Pose, Forward Fold, into your day to day life is going to help immensely and it’s going to help with the neck as well.
Other yoga postures I’ve found tremendous benefit from for my climbing are the balance poses. Creating sequences that really incorporate a lot of balancing poses, because they require so much proprioception which is just awareness of your body and space, and awareness of what’s going on in your body. Also it helps you to really get in touch with what your body’s center of gravity is, because as you start to wobble one direction or another, your body starts to get to know that feeling of engaging muscles to compensate and to keep your center of balance where you want it to be. The more that you practice that off of the climbing wall once you get into precarious high steps, or if you’re on a slab and you need to really balance on one foot, then that becomes really easily translated from yoga into climbing.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s good advice. And I’m assuming keeping your breath going while you’re doing those poses.
Jess Simmons: Mhm, absolutely.
Neely Quinn: Okay, I believe that a lot of climbers have a lot of injuries, and this is myself too, from sitting all day at an office in front of a computer. What are your thoughts on that and what can we do to counteract that?
I had mentioned earlier that we have postural distortion patterns that are really common throughout all people in America. So what you’re talking about is called Lowered Cross Syndrome, which is where our muscles and our hip flexors get really tight from sitting all the time. In turn that makes it so that the muscles in the booty can’t activate as we need them to, which makes it really hard for the knees to stay healthy and stay in place. The exercises that we can do to best counteract that are going to be to strengthen the core, to strengthen the glutes, to stretch out the hip flexors and the soaz and those muscles that wrap around the front of the hip, and then also really focus on drawing the shoulders back and together, and engaging those shoulder blade muscles- the ones right between the scapula. A lot of the Warrior Poses and the Crescent Lunges, and those postures where we have one bending leg and we can really focus on activating that glute, and we have one stretching leg that we can really focus on elongating those tightened muscles that get really tight from sitting all day- those are going to be really beneficial for that.
As far as the forward lean that we often get from sitting at a computer all day, really focusing on strengthening those little muscles between the shoulder blades, and that can be as simple as just day to day life, think about it. If you notice yourself hunching forward, just actively think about engaging those muscles between your shoulder blades, lettering your chest open, letting your shoulders come back. Just doing that really consistently is going to help a lot. Also incorporating active exercise, I’s Y’s and T’s are really helpful, I always try to incorporate stuff like that. And scaption, practicing raising the arms up and working those shoulder muscles is going to be really helpful.
As far as the sitting all day, that’s probably the most common thing that I also see from people who are having issues with their body, so just working to counteract the specific muscles that are tightened from that- Warrior’s Lunges are going to be really helpful for stuff like that.
Neely Quinn: Okay. I think that a lot of people are probably overwhelmed right now- they’re like “I need to do yoga every day, I need to go to a class every day, and I’m so messed up, and I don’t have time for all of this, yoga can be expensive, etc etc”. I want to give people a crash course really quickly in what they can do at home. How many times a week they should be doing it, how long it should take, and maybe the five most important poses for them to do.
Jess Simmons: Awesome, perfect. So this is perfect because this is how I actually do my own practice, because I’m such a busy person, but having a fundamental practice is so helpful. I would say using these postures that I’ve been talking bout that help with the issues that we have from our day to day life are the most beneficial. They’re going to be the ones you’re going to see the most benefit from.
If we were going to do just a do it in your own home yoga sequence, I would say start off in either seated or in Child’s Pose, or a pose that you find really comfortable- even laying down. Start by just connecting with the breath, and really incorporating that with your mind, notice your mind slowing down. From there, I always start with some type of spinal mobility exercise. My favorite one for that is Cat Cow. It’s really simple, super basic, super safe. So from your initial grounding and centering posture, move onto the hands and knees, and then do Cow Pose, where most people know you lower your belly, you lift your heart, you exhale, you round your spine, you lift your chin, come to Cat Pose.
From there, the posture that I would say is probably the most beneficial, is the Forward Fold. This is going to be either a standing Forward Fold- Uttanasana- or seated Forward Fold, where you just sit with your legs extended out in front of you and fold down. That’s going to really help the spine decompress, that’s going to help with turning off that fight or flight response, and help to calm the body and mind. Then if we are moving into really helping those postural distortion patterns, just incorporating Warrior Pose. So, Warrior One or Warrior Two, or even Crescent Lunge, where you just do Warrior One but you have the back heel lifted. That would be a fantastic next step to move into, because that’s going to allow that hip flexor to release, the glute to become strengthened, and the shoulder muscles to engage.
Then as far as incorporating some twisting, because that’s really helpful for loosening up those upper back muscles, those lats that get really tight. A posture I like for that is Thread the Needle, which is where you go onto your hands and knees, all fours, and then you inhale and reach one arm up as high as it will go, twisting the heart open, and then when you exhale you thread the needle through, so you thread that arm down, underneath the other shoulder, and you come down to rest on your shoulder. That gives you a chance to really breathe into your upper back and see where that tension is and let that go. And then just as how in the beginning of your little mini practice, you’re going to have a grounding and centering pose. At the end, it’s always just good to take a moment and either come to Shivasana and lay on your back, or else just come to a comfortable seat, and just really check in with how you feel different, how your mind feels different, and how your body feels different. Connect with that breathing again. It doesn’t take much at all to really build that into a part of your day to day life that’s going to be really beneficial in the long term.
Neely Quinn: So even one rotation through all of those will be beneficial?
Jess Simmons: Absolutely, yeah. It’s so grounding to take that time for yourself. And more than anything, it’s claiming this time and saying “I am this important, it’s only five, ten minutes, but I am important enough that I will take that time and dedicate it to me”. That does a lot for allowing us to really be there for other people too, when we are filling ourselves with that positive energy.
Neely Quinn: One last question. I didn’t notice any Downward Dog in there, or Chatarunga push-ups. Those seem to be really popular in all of the yoga classes. Why is that not in there?
Jess Simmons: That’s such a good question. Downward Dog, number one, the reason that I didn’t include that and I didn’t talk about it at all, is because a lot of people incorporate it as this resting pose, and as a pose to stretch out the backs of the legs. It definitely is good for both of those things, but the main thing that Downward Facing Dog is good for, is engaging the upper back muscles in the arms, and for lengthening the spine. In order to do that properly, it takes a lot of direction, and it takes a lot of very, very subtle adjustments through the core and the hands as they are connecting through the ground, through the arms and elbows and the shoulders. That’s a posture where it’s really easy to do it wrong, and have something end up hurting. That’s one that’s good to have some kind of guidance as you practice it.
Everything that I just said about Downward Facing Dog goes tenfold for Chatarunga push-ups. I can’t think of an easier way to injure yourself that doing push-ups with incorrect form. Sometimes people when they do push-ups they have a natural tendency for their elbows to rotate outward, and that shoulder external rotation puts your shoulder in a really compromised position. If you are doing your push-ups that way, eventually you are going to wear out your rotator cuff. That’s another one where I think it’s really important to make sure that you have proper guidance, and you have someone who is actually there with you- who can monitor and give you feedback on your form in order to make it safe.
Neely Quinn: So what you do think people should do when they’re in classes and constantly being asked to do that?
Jess Simmons: I don’t think they’re going to like what I have to say, but do it from the knees. I have almost all of my clients do Chatarunga from the knees, because again that ego gets in the way, and it makes you think “Oh I should be able to just do it as I have been from the toes”. But allowing yourself to focus more on the proper form will actually give you more strength than doing it from the toes with poor form, and wobbling your way through it. Lower down to the knees, and then instead of focusing moving really quickly through the posture, really focus on keeping those shoulders back and engaged, keeping the elbows tucked in tight, and especially keeping the neck really relaxed. It’s super easy to pinch a nerve in the neck by tightening it up while doing Chatarunga.
Neely Quinn: Okay. That’s awesome, because I’ve just been skipping it, and I’ve been like “Well, I guess I’m just the worst yogi ever”.
Jess Simmons: You’re totally not, you have permission to skip any Chatarunga you want Neely.
Neely Quinn: Okay, cool. Any last words for people considering yoga for climbing?
Jess Simmons: Yeah, and I think the biggest thing that I have to say about yoga is just try it. Just see what works for you, and what resonates with you, you know? There’s so many different styles and forms and practices that are out there, and the only way to really find out what works with your body and what your body needs is to just go out and do it. I really invite you to do your own research to find different types of practices that are beneficial for you, and don’t be afraid to just totally disregard something that any teacher might say that doesn’t resonate with you, or makes you feel like you’re not within your own practice. At the end of the day, this practice is all about you, and finding your own center, and finding your own space.
Neely Quinn: Awesome. I love your approach to yoga, this is very refreshing.
Jess Simmons: Well good, thank you! I’m really really into it, so I appreciate that.
Neely Quinn: Well thanks so much for your wisdom, and thanks for being on the show.
Jess Simmons: Yeah, my pleasure, any time. Keep me posted if you need any more information, or if anyone wants more info on any of the postures we talked about, because I can provide that.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, how can people get ahold of you?
Jess Simmons: Oh yeah- so you can send me an e-mail, it’s email@example.com. I have a blog that I just started, it’s yogaclimbfitness.wordpress.com, and then you can find me on Instagram too. I keep updated on stuff that’s going on in my life there, and that’s also @yogaclimbfitness. Keeping it simple.
Neely Quinn: Well hopefully people will find you there, thanks again.
Jess Simmons: Thank you Neely, have a good day!
Neely Quinn: I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jess Simmons. She did write an article for us, she mentioned it a couple of times in the interview, and it’s on TrainingBeta, on the blog. If you go over to trainingbeta.com and search Jess Simmons, or even just search yoga, it’ll come up. It’s really thorough, really well written, and she gives more descriptions of those five poses that she just laid out for you. There’s lots of pictures, and I think it will be really helpful.
Coming up on the podcast, I have Josh Dreher. He’s another one of my “normal” climbers. He’s had a lot of success using different training programs, and he’s going to talk to us about the leaps that he’s made in his climbing over the past few years doing some training.
If you need any more help with your training, like I said in the episode, if you need training programs, that’s what we have here at TrainingBeta. That was our whole point of making this site, was to make training super accessible and easy to do. Not that the training will be easy to do, but at least out training programs make it easy to follow a training program. If you go to trainingbeta.com, at the top there’s a tab that says “Training Programs”, and if you are a route climber, if you’re a v2 climber, if you’re a 5.13 climber, if you’re a boulderer, we have something for you. It’s all affordable, because we understand that not all climbers have lots of money. So if you want to support us and what I do here on the podcast, please check those programs out, and let us know what you think of them.
I think that’s it, I will talk to you guys shortly. This next podcast episode may come out in the next week. Thanks for listening all the way to the end, and I’ll talk to you guys soon.