Mindful Breathing

Breathing Mindfully Can Change Your Life

We all do it, every moment of every day. Inhaling and exhaling, we are all pros right? You may not be as good a breather as you think you are. A relatively healthy person at maximum exercise intensity only uses 70 percent of their possible lung capacity. What about the other 30%? The good news is that with a few simple breathing exercises you can increase your maximum lung capacity as well as calm your nervous system and even increase focus.

It has been long believed in Eastern traditions that breathing is crucial for balancing the body-mind connection and promoting overall well being. The control of the breath has been shown to increase the ability to focus, calm the nervous system and bring about an attitude of mindfulness. Western studies on breathing techniques were developed independently from any religious or spiritual belief or purpose, and are mainly used for therapeutic purposes such as biofeedback and progressive relaxation. These breathing techniques are based on slowing down your breath frequency. This style of ‘Paced” breathing has been associated with relaxation and well-being while fast breathing has been often mutually linked to anxiety and stress (Homma and Masaoka, 2008).

So everyone agrees, mindful breathing increases relaxation, health and wellbeing; so now what. Well, it’s time to designate some time and space for mindful breathing practices. One place where you can experience your breath fully is in a yoga practice. Yoga skillfully integrates your breath with your movement. This practice gives us a sense of what mindful breathing in our day to day life might be like. Our bodies are moving, we are paying attention to our teacher who is guiding us all the while our breath keeps a slow and guiding rhythm. If that all feels like a tap your head, pat your belly situation; try just focusing on your breathing first to lay a foundation of understanding and awareness. Try these two mindful breathing practices accompanied by video guides to begin your journey towards discovering the calming, centering and healing effects of your breath.

Belly Breathing or Diaphragmatic Breathing

Of the muscles used for normal breathing, the diaphragm is one of the most important. Often, people use accessory muscles in their neck, shoulders and back to breathe more than they use their diaphragm. Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing helps you to retrain the diaphragm to work better, so you can breathe more efficiently. Here’s how to perform belly breathing:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent or resting on a pillow.
  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose.
  • As you inhale, focus on feeling the hand on your belly rise and the hand on your chest remaining as still as possible.
  • Exhale slowly through your nose. As you exhale, focus on feeling the hand on your belly go down first. If you are unable to exhale through your nose, purse your lips and exhale through your mouth slowly.
  • Repeat this same sequence sitting and incorporate the awareness of this breath multiple times throughout the day.
  • Watch this video tutorial of Diaphragmatic Breath.

Balanced Breath (Equal inhale and Exhale)

Once you have begun the retraining of your diaphragm with belly breathing, you can add the exercise of balancing your breath. The process of increasing your breath capacity can be challenging at first, so begin slowly and only increase the count of your breath as you feel comfortable.

  • Comfortable seated or standing position. Ensure that your spine is extended to support the fullness of your breath.
  • Repeat the process of the belly breath
  • Begin counting the duration of your inhales and exhales, noting the difference
  • Next, bring a balance to the duration of your inhales and exhales starting with a comfortable count for each.
  • Gradually and with practice you can begin to expand the length of your breaths while keeping them in balance and staying relaxed and comfortable.
  • Log into our Yoga Video Library to watch breath practice videos.

Now is the time to begin a mindful breathing practice. There is no better time to give your immune and respiratory system the most resiliency possible. Join us for one of our weekly classes or tune into the yoga video library for breathing tutorials.

Indoor to Outdoor Climbing

By: Mack Maier

Climbing gyms are tough to beat: the camaraderie, the fun way to get your fitness goals, and the never-ending challenge that no doubt makes you a better person. But what if you feel like you are ready to take all your knowledge from the gym and take it outside to the boulder field?

Sending that red V8 in the gym feels great… but will it feel that good outside, in the sun with the wind blowing at your back; especially when the holds do not conveniently resemble the colors of the rainbow? I think so. I love climbing at the gym, it allows you to climb in all weather conditions, stay super fit, have fun with friends (and meet new ones) and best of all, get in a bunch of climbing in a short time, but sometimes you just gotta get outside, ya know?!

Alright, so you are ready to go, you’ve got your climbing shoes, chalk, and maybe if you are super hardcore, some finger tape. So, what next? Bouldering differs from rope climbing in that it’s already a very ‘minimalist’ style of climbing. One that requires little more than climbing shoes and some gumption. There are however a few things to consider if you want to stay safe and make the most of your time outside:

For starters, you are going to need a crash pad. In the climbing gym, the floors are the pads, but outside you’ve got rocks and dirt and they don’t feel that nice when you land on them from nine feet off the deck. So yes, you’re definitely going to need a crash pad. These can be pricey, so it might be best to meet up with some friends that are going bouldering or try to rent a pad from your local climbing gym, which is a great way to test out the waters and make sure you like climbing outside before you lay down your hard earned cash for a pad.

After you obtain your crash pad (the more the merrier), you are going to need a guidebook. Many gyms carry guidebooks, but you can also find them online. A great free alternative, is www.mountainproject.com, you can download all the routes for a given area or even for a given state, straight to your phone to be used offline, if you are way back in the woods. Make sure to pay special attention to what climbing areas are open and to always ensure that if climbing is on private property, that you are welcome.

Once you’ve found the perfect cleaning location; you have your pad and your guidebook and now you are ready to get after it. There are a couple things to keep in mind on your first outdoor climbing day that will ensure you have a safe, fun, outing:

  • Remember, in most cases, grades in climbing gyms are slightly, to significantly easier than outdoor grades. If you feel comfortable on that V4 at the gym, it would be best to start with a V0 or V1 and work your way up. Getting yourself up high on a boulder right off the bat can really put a hamper on the day.
    • Warming up is harder outside! In a gym setting, it’s very easy to get in a significant amount of movement in a very short time. But outside this is tough to do, boulders are often spread far apart and you simply can’t get as much movement in. To avoid getting hurt either bring a training board solution or get created by hanging from a tree climbing around on any easy boulders you can find or even doing jumping jacks and push-ups as an alternative.
  • Climbing gyms are very controlled environments. For the most part when you fall you can rest assured that the only danger is falling on another person. Outside however the landing zones can often be compromised, or even downright scary. Make sure that you’re landing zone is free of branches and rocks or other dangerous items (even a friends pair of shoes or a chalkbag can lead to a nasty sprained ankle). It’s also imperative to use pads correctly. Try not to overlap pads, this can cause instability and lead to injuries.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and in particular where you are. It’s also a good idea if you were going somewhere remote to tell someone else about your intentions. In the climbing gym if you get hurt an ambulance is a simple phone call away. However, outside you could be miles from the nearest road up a steep trail, and walking out on a broken ankle is not the way you want to spend your afternoon.
  • Have good ethics. Bouldering is an ever increasing sport, and the chances of running into other climbers outside is very good. It is common courtesy to ask other climbers outdoors if you can use their pads rather than just assuming that you can. Climbers are some of the nicest, most generous people in all of sport, but it’s still good practice to be friendly and not assume you can use other’s equipment.
  • If you tick marks with chalk, erase them. Your goal should be to leave the climbing area just like you found it, or better. No one likes coming to a boulder only to find that it already has chalk marks all over it. Chalk marks are great and can be helpful, just rub them off when you are done.

Near Longmont, some great beginner level boulders can be found at Flagstaff in Boulder, at Carter Lake near Berthoud, and in Rocky Mountain National Park at both Emerald Lake and in Lower Chaos Canyon. These last two options require more of a hike, but still offer great quality stone at lower grades.

If you’ve done all of the above, you are ready for a great time. Just remember, climbing is about the experience and the personal challenge, just as in the gym, climbing outside is not about achieving the highest grade or beating your friends. It’s a pursuit of movement in its purest form, and outside it’s a connection with nature. As the old saying goes, the best climber is the one having the most fun! So get out there, be respectful and experience all that climbing has to offer… and when you get tired of the sunburn and mosquitos, come back to the air conditioned, perfectly padded gym 🙂

Birthday Party Ideas During COVID

How to Celebrate your Child’s Birthday in the time of COVID-19

by: Shauna Hylenski

These last few months it feels as if all of our favorite things have been cancelled.  Graduations, Proms—heck, even 4th of July was cancelled.  Birthdays continue on whether the world is in chaos or not.  For our kids, this tradition is one that we should not put off until we get a vaccine.

So, how do we celebrate?  How do we mark this important milestone in a way that is relatively safe, yet fun and carefree?  Here are a few ideas of how to make your child’s birthday memorable, in a good way.

We have ranked the birthday themes below from 1-3 in the COVID friendly scale.

♦= If you haven’t left your house in 6 months this one isn’t for you

♦♦= Middle of the road

♦♦♦= Best choice for those who need to be cautious

Outdoor Enthusiast

Party in the Park: ♦♦ Open air and lots of space for social distancing.  City parks have always been a great option for birthday parties and now more than ever.  You can use the city parks without a reservation, but it would be advised to reserve the shelter just in case.  Some of our favorite parks in Longmont: Thompson Park, Roosevelt Park and Roger’s Grove.

Backyard camping: ♦♦♦ Pitch a tent in the living room or in the backyard. If you’re indoors, light a few candles and tell stories with flashlights while eating microwaved s’more’s. If the weather is nice and you are outside, build a fire and roast marshmallows. Reminisce about favorite birthday memories and talk about future memories you want to make together as a family.

Budding Artists

Painting Pottery: ♦♦ This can be a wonderful way for a small group of friends to let their creativity flow.  Our favorite place in Longmont is Crackpots.  You can rent one of their party rooms for a larger group or walk-ins are welcome too.  Each person can paint something for the birthday girl or boy as well as something for themselves.

Chalk the Driveway: ♦♦♦ This is a super easy way for neighborhood friends to write birthday wishes and messages all over your driveway and sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. This is a great way for friends and family to share their messages and express their creativity .

Athlete Super Star

Climbing and Ninja Warrior: ♦♦ This is the perfect birthday party for your “little monkey” who can’t get enough climbing and ninja.  Small groups of friends and family can climb and traverse the obstacles together all while wearing masks and taking precautions.  Longmont Climbing Collective and Warrior Playground offer parties where your kids can live out their climbing ninja dreams and rent one of their private party rooms for your group.

Trampoline Park: ♦ Let’s get this party Jumpin' Jumpin'.  A great spot to burn some serious energy and have a ton of fun on the obstacle courses, dodge ball room and basketball hoops.  Keep in mind that masks are not required in all facilities while jumping.

Home Body

Host a Laser Tag Party at Home: ♦♦♦ That’s right: you can rent your own laser tag gear and turn your home into an adventure laser tag course.  Our favorite is the Commando Laser Tag.  This awesome company not only delivers the gear but also helps you set up the course.  Perfect for a birthday party where a little more yard space is available.

Host a Birthday Drive By Parade: ♦♦♦ Ask friends and family to drive by your home waving, honking, blowing bubbles. They can even toss birthday gifts onto the lawn. Coordinate a time with friends and family locally to parade by and celebrate from a safe distance.

Decorations All Over the House: ♦♦♦ Make huge poster board signs (or use cardboard boxes), banners, streamers, balloons, whatever you have on hand that’s festive. Leave everything up for a couple of days to keep the party going.

No matter which birthday theme you choose or whether you are at a climbing gym or a tent in your living room; what is most important is the time.  Spending time with those you love and ensuring they feel special and celebrated.









Rent part of LCC for your “COVID bubble”

We want our facility to be a resource for groups and families in Longmont. The facility is normally available for events, but during COVID we’re not able to host large groups for obvious reasons. But we can help family and friends climb together in a space all their own. So we’re offering two hour sessions where you can climb, unwind and have fun within your COVID-bubble.

Access to our auto-belay climbing area for a family or group (up to 4 people)
Climbing shoes for everyone
Climbing harness for auto-belays
Use of one of our private party rooms
Access to the ninja course (weekends only)

Climbing (weekdays and weekends) – $65.  Plus $10 per person up to a maximum of 8.
Climbing + Ninja (weekends only) – $85.  Plus $12 per person up to a maximum of 8.

Optional add-ons:
$50 for 2 hours of climbing coaching coaching / $65 for climbing and ninja coaching (weekends only)
Access to our full facility for climbing, training and fitness $25 for a group of 4

Call 720-340-3640 or email [email protected] to schedule your private climbing session.

Welcome Erin Doyle – LCC’s newest bouldering coach

After moving to Colorado Springs from Northern New Mexico in his early teens, Erin began his life-changing ascent through the adventures of climbing on the famous, albeit somewhat chossy, red sandstone pinnacles in the Garden of the Gods. When climbing gyms were not a thing, Erin found creative ways to climb every day by setting up a less than sophisticated way of top roping the stone chimney of the family house or bolting rocks and poorly molded Bondo “climbing holds” to the side of the tree house. After discovering a primitive climbing gym in The Springs in the early 90’s, and enjoying a short career in the competitive circuit, Erin took part in coaching the youth team, teaching individuals the nuances of vertical movement, as well as some outdoor guiding. When it came time to “get a real job,” Erin started a career as a wildland firefighter in 2002 after being evacuated from the Hayman Fire that devastated Colorado and has been fighting fires around the country ever since. Erin has spent much time on the granite big walls of Yosemite, the overhanging limestone caves of Greece, and everywhere in between. Erin’s passion is watching the flame grow in peoples’ spirits as they begin their journey in climbing and bouldering. His mantra for people just starting out in the sport, as they nurse forearms so fatigued that gripping the steering wheel to drive home becomes potentially problematic, is “Welcome to your new addiction!”

He’s currently teaching the Intro to Bouldering Class.  It starts Monday, March 4th at 6:30 PM and runs on Monday’s for 4 weeks.  You can sign up here – http://bit.ly/2Th7anm-LCC