Words are powerful. There is magic within the consonants and vowels and their ability to unlock emotion from the human mind. The psychology of words and their impact on our emotions is not a new science, but this readily accessible power is one we often forget to draw on in times of stress, hardship, or even athletic pursuits. Specific words or phrases, sometimes called 'power words', can be used like a mantra, reminding us to breath, reach, relax and find strength.
Tapping into the power of seemingly simple words is the idea behind the specialty designed quickdraw slips, by Catherine Pitura, founder of the Conscious Climber. Mind Tools are colorful slip-covers for quickdraws with "power words" on the front and back. They provide the climber with a positive thought to think of while they climb with the goal of creating greater relaxation within the climber and a better overall climbing performance. The Mind Tools are handmade in Squamish and come in ten different word and color combinations. Catherine explains the idea is “that you're planting seeds of positivity or things that will inspire you or empower you and support you, and then your body will feel that as well. It's going to help your physical performance because mentally and emotionally you're feeling supported and you have those direct reminders right on route.”
Catherine has expanded the concept behind the Mind Tools to a broader focus: to begin to put words to the experiences that climbers are feeling. The Conscious Climber and conscious climbing in general is "just bringing the focus to the more subtle qualities of climbing" says Catherine. It's "less about the intense physical training or the hard send, but more the internal processes and things that we're experiencing." As a Rock Guide Apprentice with the Association of Canadian Mountain guides (ACMG), Catherine has been a part of the climbing community in Canada for over ten years and she believes there is room in the industry to create the space for climbers to express themselves in their own way, instead of being boxed into ‘climber stereotypes’. There is also room for people to honour the process of climbing and learning and she hopes through the Conscious Climber, she can support people more comprehensively in the climbing world. Catherine is also a Yoga and Meditation Teacher, allowing her to draw on a wide variety of experiences, such as sound baths and breath work, in addition to her ACMG training. “One of the simple things I learned at the meditation school is just how influential our thoughts are” Catherine states. “Thoughts can create feelings and feelings can animate your body, so there's this direct connection that people can really play with.”
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