Entries By solveig waterfall
As a skiing and climbing guide, athlete, and yoga instructor, I am continually impressed by the correlation between success in the mountains and a regular yoga or meditation practice. In my personal experience, by taking time each day to completely focus my attention on simple movements in conjunction with controlled breathing, even for a just a short period of time, I have found that I can dramatically increase my ability to handle a higher mental stress load and consciously reign in a respiratory-system-gone-rogue.
The primary intention behind a yoga practice is the alignment of a series of movements with the coordination of the breath. Beyond the poses, aside from the stretching, before the flow, and without regard to the brand of clothing you choose to wear or the space in which you practice, is the synchronization of intentional movements with focused and controlled breathing. That is the essence of yoga.
One of my favorite quotes is by Sharon Gannon: “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you areas where you are resistant in your natural state”. Instead of hand-eye coordination, think body-breath coordination.
This training allows the individual the ability to more easily and calmly focus on a specific task and execute difficult movements with precision—especially, and perhaps most importantly—when pushing towards exhaustion.
The goal of starting a mindful movement practice is in taking this basic principle and applying it to any activity of your choosing.
I understand yoga is not for everyone. Personally, I love the quiet space, the dance of a well-sequenced vinyasa flow, and in the winter months I crave the warmth and full body lymphatic cleanse of a heated studio; they are always significantly cozier than the mid-January temperature of my 1920’s craftsman and warm my core after a day of skiing far better than even the highest, most overworked setting of my Subaru’s seat-heating capabilities. That being said, I know plenty of guides and world-class athletes who firmly believe that yoga—of any sort—is not, and never will be, for them.
The secret is that these individuals find other activities with which to strengthen their mental game and incorporate mindful movement. Biking, running, swimming, pilates, even those post-work hikes with a heavy pack, all provide the opportunity to spend a few moments really thinking about and tuning in to your body positioning, your motor patterns, the rate and quality of your breath, all while tuning out the external static of life.
So my challenge for you in writing this blog post, if not to inspire you to rush off and attend the nearest yoga class, is to move through a few minutes of your next workout focused on not just exercising, but moving with intention, breathing in coordination with the efforts of your activity, and turning off the music in an effort to quiet your mind and direct your attention entirely to the task at hand. By practicing mindful movement in your daily tasks and familiar workouts, you will increase and strengthen your ability to use those same techniques to lower your respiratory rate and remain calm, thus allowing you to be more relaxed and move more efficiently when confronted with new and/or difficult tasks in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable environment for a longer period of time: situations much like those found on Mt. Rainier and other alpine objectives around the world.
Solveig Waterfall is an AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide and has been working professionally in the mountains for 12 years. She guides in Alaska as well as the continental U.S., Ecuador, Mexico, and Argentina. She also teaches backcountry skiing programs and ski mountaineering courses for RMI. Outside of guiding, she instructs yoga and fitness classes designed to complement an active life outdoors.
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Beautiful article! You inspire me.
Posted by: Patti sandow on 10/12/2017 at 9:11 pm
This just makes my heart smile. Atta girl Solveig.
Posted by: anne keller on 10/11/2017 at 6:24 pm
September 27, 2017
RMI Guide Brent Okita just called in from the Mt. Rainier summit! The last of the teams are coiling in at the crater rim and enjoying magnificent views with just a breath of wind. They will be on the summit for about an hour and radio us when they begin their descent back to Camp Muir.
Congratulations seminar team!
Enjoy the beauty and wonder of the world. Take in every precious moment. Even though we are not there, we are always with you in heart, supporting every step of your journey.
Jane & Zorba
Posted by: Jane Ccaihuari and Zorba on 9/28/2017 at 8:19 am
Enjoy the adventure Layton!! Proud of you, be safe, can’t wait to hear the stories and see pictures.
Posted by: Sondra and Harry on 9/28/2017 at 7:57 am
September 17, 2017
The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Casey Grom and Solveig Waterfall reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning. The team climbed into a cap with some light precipitation and winds of about 15 - 20 mph. They spent a short time on top before starting their descent.
Congratulations to today’s team!
September 11, 2017
The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Brent Okita and Solveig Waterfall reached the summit of Mt. Rainier and are now on the descent. Brent reported clear and beautiful skies with winds of about 25 mph.
Congratulations today’s team!
September 5, 2017
Categories: Mount Rainier
Today’s Four Day Summit Climb team led by RMI Guides Solveig Waterfall and Robby Young reached the top of Disappointment Cleaver. With the warm temperatures and smoke from wildfires burning in Western Washington, the team chose to make this this high point of the day. The team has departed Camp Muir and are on their descent to Paradise.
August 29, 2017
Posted by: Solveig Waterfall
The Expedition Skills Seminar - Shuksan led by RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall reached the summit of Mt. Shuksan this morning. Solveig reported warm, windy, clear, and smoky conditions from the summit. The team will descend back to camp for their remaining nights on the mountain.
Congratulations to the Expedition Skills Seminar - Shuksan team!
Congratulations Whynde. You are the most impressive person in every way!.
Posted by: Asbjorn Finsnes on 8/31/2017 at 8:48 am
CONGRATULATIONS on another monumental achievement. There’s nothing you can’t do once you set your mind to it.
Posted by: Geri Kuehn on 8/31/2017 at 8:15 am
August 12, 2017
The Sahale Mountain - Quien Sabe Glacier August 10 - 13 team reached the summit of Sahale this morning. RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall checked in to let us know her team was doing well, they had reached the summit and were descending back to camp. They will spend tonight on the mountain and complete their program tomorrow after reaching the trail head.
Congratulations to the Sahale Climbers!
August 8, 2017
Posted by: Solveig Waterfall
The Five Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning. Solveig and team spent two nights at Camp Muir taking advantage of extra day to acclimate to the higher elevation. This payed off with a successful climb this morning! The team has started their descent and are en route back to Camp Muir.
Congratulations to today’s team!
Great job Matt and the group! Your hard work paid off, hope you had a blast. Thank you to the guides for a safe climb. God bless, Love ya Matt
Posted by: Kevin Kilbane on 8/8/2017 at 6:03 pm
Congratulations to the team.
You worked hard for such a tremendous accomplishment.
Love you BD
Posted by: Anne Mercer on 8/8/2017 at 9:41 am
July 27, 2017
The Wilderness Adventures Team reached the summit of Mt. Baker via the Coleman - Deming route in the early hours Wednesday, July 26th lead by RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and Steve Gately. The team had a great climb and beautiful weather.
During this program, the teens learned various techniques which meet the challenges set forth by Mt. Baker. Including basic mountaineering skills; efficient mountain travel (rest-stepping and pressure breathing), various safety practices including use of helmets, harnesses, and avalanche transceivers, climbing in balance, proper use of our ice axe, self and team arrest, and moderate cramponing.
July 19, 2017
The Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons team reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning via the Emmons Glacier route. This team of all female RMI Guides and climbers left Ashford on Monday, July 17 after two days of training at BaseCamp and Paradise and drove to the White River Trail head. The team spent the last few days training and climbing on the route. This morning they began their summit attempt from Camp Schurman. After enjoying a bit of time on the summit they will descend to Camp Schurman for their final night on the mountain.
Congratulations to today’s Emmons Seminar Team!
Congratulations team…what an accomplishment!!!
Posted by: Shelli on 7/20/2017 at 6:16 pm
Woohoo! You ladies rock! Way to go moma
Posted by: Randi on 7/20/2017 at 5:18 pm