logo

A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers

- Pink Floyd


image

Athletes & Explorers

Aug 25, 2018

Lynn Jung: Use Yoga to Prevent Injuries and Run Free

One of the world’s leading female Freerunners on how she uses yoga to stay competitive, and it applies to those that aren't jumping over a roof gap too.

WRITTEN BY

Lynn Jung

Lynn Jung will feature in an upcoming issue of The Outdoor Journal. You can make sure that you get your copy, here.

Passionate freerunners often suffer from tight muscles and rigid posture due to the repetitive stresses of training. Here’s how these simple asanas can help you prevent injuries and run free.

Lynn Jung is a Professional Parkour athlete and member of the London based Freerunning Team “Storm Freerun.” Lynn is one of the world’s leading female freerunners. Born and brought up in Luxembourg, Lynn moved to the UK in 2015 to pursue her passion for movement as a career. In 2016 Lynn won the Best Female award at Red Bull Art of Motion in Santorini, Greece.

Not all freerunners follow a regular stretching routine and for many the quests for strength and speed takes up most of their training. However, stretching and flexibility training have their place in Parkour.

Shoulder opening Asanas target muscle tightness in the chest and upper back. Stretching your chest, back and deltoids counteracts bad posture caused by muscle imbalances and tightness. Freerunners often struggle with tight pecs and a rounded back due to repetitive pulling motions during their training.

For those who have not yet attempted to jump over a roof gap or land a precision kong, these yoga moves can help reverse the negative impact of office stresses as well, such as extensive time seated at one’s desk.

Shoulder Opening Yoga Poses

1. Reverse Prayer or Pashchima Namaskarasana

Sit or stand up comfortably, float your arms down to either side of your body and, bending your elbows, reach your arms behind your back. Press your palms together in a prayer position on your spine and reach your hands as high up your spine as possible. Hold for five deep breaths. As an alternative to the fingers or palms touching at the back, the wrists or elbows can be grabbed.

2. Thread the Needle or Parsva Balasana

Come to the floor on your hands and knees. Bring your hips over your knees, and your palms directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward. Reach your left arm up to the ceiling and on your exhale thread it under your right arm, bringing your left shoulder to the mat. Rest your head on the mat and keep your hips lifted. Walk your right hand over to the right, and on your exhale, press through the right palm to open the chest towards the ceiling. Lengthen the right side of the torso while twisting your spine. Experiment with different arm positions to deepen the stretch and move around in the pose until you find the release that you need. Make sure to maintain focus on your breathing.

This Asana gently compresses the muscles of your upper chest, opens the upper and outer muscles of your shoulders and releases tension in your neck and upper back.

Muscles Stretched
Upper Trapezius, Levator Scapulae, Rhomboids, Back of Neck, Spinal Erectors

3. Prone Lying Pec Stretch

Lie face down and place your right arm out to the side at shoulder height with your elbow bent, your palm facing down on the floor and your fingers spread apart. Turn your right ear to the floor and, by pressing your left palm down, roll your body to the right side. At the full pose you may have your left knee bent, with your left foot resting behind your right thigh. Increase the stretch by lifting your left arm to the ceiling, then drape the arm behind your back. Allow the side of the head to rest on the floor. Remain here for a few minutes then repeat on the other side.

Muscles Stretched
Pectoralis major and minor

4. Wide Leg Forward Fold with Clasp or Prasarita Padotanasana C

Start in a wide-legged stance and interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale, squeeze your shoulder-blades and on your exhale, fold your body forward from the base of your spine, keeping your weight on your heels. Bring your hands up and over your head as far as possible. Push your stomach towards your thighs, lengthen your spine and gently release your neck. Stay here for at least 5 deep breaths. Release your hands to your hips and breathe in deeply as you lift back up to stand.

Quads and Hip Flexor Stretches

Here is why every freerunner should look after their hip flexors. Besides causing bad posture and lower back pain, tightness in the hip flexors also reduces our ability to explosively extend the hip, thereby reducing our vertical jump.

5. Low Crescent Lunge with Quad Stretch or Anjaneyasana

Start in a lunge position and lower your back knee to the floor into a crescent lunge. Let your hips settle down and forward and lift your pubic bone toward your navel. If this stretch is enough for you, stay here, or you can inhale and lift your torso. As you do, place your left hand on the outside of your right leg, bend your left knee bringing your left heel towards your bottom, and reach back to grab your foot with your right hand. Press firmly through your entire left hand and gaze toward the right, feeling the stretch deeper. Release the foot back behind you.

Variation

Staying in the low lunge position, place your left had on the floor and gently guide the right hip open with your right hand. Let your right foot roll over slightly. From here, feel free to bend your left knee and reach around with your right hand for your foot. This allows for a deep quadricep stretch with an even deeper opening of the hip. Hold for five breaths.

6. Lizard Pose or Utthan Pristhasana

This Asana is all about opening up the hips and groin. From a high lunge position, sink deeply into your hips and lower your forearms to the ground on the inside of your leading knee. Feel free to place your forearms onto blocks if you cannot comfortably bring them to your mat. Now lower your back knee to the floor. Lengthen your spine. If you can, lift your elbows off the floor and reach forwards with your hands. Stay here for five breaths.

The Outdoor Journal teamed up with Lynn at Yogaloft in her hometown of Luxembourg. Yogaloft is a boutique yoga studio with two locations in Kirchberg and Merl offering over 55 weekly yoga classes everyday for all levels in Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Mindfulness, Kundalini, Meditation and more! To learn more, visit www.yogaloft.lu.

Stay tuned to The Outdoor Journal for more collaborations with Lynn. To follow her Freerunning activities, check out www.stormfreerun.com and www.lynnjung.net

All Images © The Outdoor Journal

Continue Reading

image

Athletes & Explorers

Dec 13, 2018

Steph Davis: Dreaming of Flying

What drives Steph, to free solo a mountain with nothing but her hands and feet, before base jumping? “Bravery is not caused by the absence of fear."

image

WRITTEN BY

The Outdoor Journal

Presented byimage

In the coming days the Outdoor Journal will release an exclusive interview with Steph Davis, follow us via our social networks and stay tuned for more.

Do you have to be fearless to jump off a mountain? Meeting Steph Davis, you quickly realise: no, fearlessness is not what it takes. It’s not the search for thrills that drives her. She’s Mercedes travelled to Moab, Utah to find out what does – and to talk to Steph Davis about what it takes to climb the most challenging peaks and plunge from the highest mountaintops.

Steph Davis, getting ready to jump. Photo by Jan Vincent Kleine

At noon, when the sun is at its highest point above the deserts of southeastern Utah and when every stone cliff casts a sharp shadow, you get a sense of how harsh this area can be. Despite Utah’s barrenness, Steph loves the orange-gold landscape with its towers and elegantly curved arches of sandstone. But Steph is not here because of the natural spectacle. Here, in this area which is as beautiful as it is inhospitable, she can pursue her greatest passion: free solo climbing and BASE jumping.

Castleton Tower… Look closely. Photo by Jan Vincent Kleine

Today, Steph wants to take us to Castleton Tower. We travel on gravel roads that are hardly recognizable, right into the middle of the desert. Gnarled bushes and conifers grow along what might be the side of the road. Other than that, the surrounding landscape lives up to its name: it is deserted. Steph loves the remoteness of the area. “One of my favourite places is a small octagonal cabin in the desert that I designed and built together with some of my closest friends. It’s not big and doesn’t have many amenities but it has everything you need: a bed, a bathroom, a small kitchenette … and eight windows allowing me to take in nature around me. That’s pretty much all I need.” Steph Davis cherishes the simple things. She has found her place, and she doesn’t let go.

No ropes, no safety net. Photo by Jan Vincent Kleine

Castleton Tower is home turf for Steph. She has climbed the iconic red sandstone tower so many times she’s lost count. The iconic 120-metre obelisk on top of a 300-metre cone is popular among rock climbers as well as with BASE jumpers. Its isolated position makes it a perfect plunging point and it can easily be summited with little equipment – at least for experienced climbers like Steph Davis.

“It would be reckless not to be afraid. But I don’t have to be paralysed by fear.”

Steph is a free solo climber, which means she relies on her hands and feet only – not on ropes, hooks or harnesses. She loves to free solo, using only what’s absolutely necessary. She squeezes her hands into the tiniest cracks in the stone and her feet find support on the smallest outcroppings, where others would see only a smooth surface. Steph climbs walls that might be 100 metres tall – sometimes rising up 900 metres – with nothing below her but thin air and the ground far below. She knows that any mistake while climbing can be fatal.

Flying. Photo by Jan Vincent Kleine

The possibility of falling accompanies Steph whenever she climbs. Is she afraid? “Of course – it would be reckless not to be. But I don’t have to be paralysed by fear.” She has learned to transform it into power, prudence, and strength. “It’s up to us to stay in control.”

“You have to learn to face your fears and accept them for what they are.”

That’s what, according to her, free soloing and BASE jumping are all about: to be in control and to trust in one’s abilities. “It’s not about showing off how brave I am. It’s about trusting myself to be good enough not to fall. It takes a lot of strength, both physical and mental. You have to learn to face your fears and accept them for what they are.”

Touchdown. Photo by Jan Vincent Kleine

Steph Davis likes to laugh and she does so a lot. She chooses her words with care, and she doesn’t rush. Why would she? There’s no point in rushing when you’re hanging on a vertical wall, with nothing but your hands and feet. Just like climbing, she prefers to approach things carefully and analytically. That’s how she got as far as she did. “I didn’t grow up as an athlete, and started climbing when I was 18,” she smiles, shrugging. But her work ethic is meticulous and she knows how to improve herself. Whenever she prepares for an ascent, she does so for months, practising each section over and over again – on the wall and in her head – until she has internalised it all. She does the same before a BASE jump and practices the exact moves in her head until she knows the movement is consummate.

Steph loves the orange-gold landscape with its towers and elegantly curved arches of sandstone. Photo by Jan Vincent Kleine

“Bravery is not caused by the absence of fear.”

Would Steph consider herself brave? She says that she wouldn’t know how to answer that, you can see the small wrinkles around Steph’s eyes that always appear whenever she laughs. In any case, she doesn’t consider herself to be exceptional. “I’m not a heroine just because I jump off mountaintops,” Steph says she has weaknesses just like everyone else. But she might overcome them a little better than most of us do, just as she has learned to work with fear. “Bravery is not caused by the absence of fear. It is brave to accept fear for what it is, as a companion that you should sometimes listen to, but one you shouldn’t be obedient to.”

She slows the car down. We have reached Castleton Tower. It rises majestically in front of us while the sun has left its zenith. If Steph started walking now, she’d reach the top at the moment the sun went down, bathing the surrounding area in a golden light. She takes her shoes and the little parachute; all she needs today. Then she smiles again, says “see you in a bit”, and starts walking. Not fast, not hastily, but without hesitation.

All photos by Jan Vincent Kleine

loadContinue readingLess Reading

Recent Articles



The Lilayi Elephant Nursery: The Story of One Orphan, and 11 Years of Conservation.

The Orphanage provides a sanctuary for defenceless calves, who are the victims of poaching, human conflict or, occasionally, natural abandonment. The catalyst was a single elephant called Chamilandu.

Film Review: Ode to Muir. A Snowboarding Movie, and an Important Covert Education

Lost in amazing scenery, and one of outdoor's great personalities. Prepare to learn, even if you won’t realize it’s happening.

Mike Horn: His Devotion to the ‘Mountain of Mountains’, and the Loves of His Life

The "Explorer of the Decade" on his upcoming documentary "Beyond the Comfort Zone" that follows his attempt to summit K2 with his daughters following the loss of his wife.

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Advertising

Analytics

Other