My name is Luciana Melo. I’m Brazilian, from S?o Paulo.
How Did You Get Into Climbing?
About seven years ago, a friend took me to a climbing gym. By the second day, I felt a connection to it.
In Brazil, we say the bug bit you. And I felt it… it's like I've really taken a sting and I don't know… the challenge, being something different, the body awareness… that's exactly when I started my path in yoga and I felt that the two fit together a lot, and since then I've been doing both. Though I prefer to climb outside whenever possible.
Why Do You Prefer to Climb Outside?
When I started climbing, I had no idea of the world of climbing. I saw the indoor gym and didn't even understand that this… that was a simulation of something outdoors. Since I was a child, I have been very linked to nature. I have always lived a lot on the beach and near the forest. I have a very strong connection with nature, and I think what brings me out is this, because nature brings me to myself.
Why Climbing? Why is This Activity Important to You?
Climbing for me has always been meditation. So, I think integrating our internal nature with external nature, it’s what climbing is for me.
But I think my biggest goal is to be able to spend the most time out there exploring my body more and more, learning from the falls, learning from the hardships and bringing it into my life. I learn these lessons here climbing, and then bring it into real situations in my life.
Right Before You Begin Your Ascent, What’s Going Through Your Head?
I don’t have much preparation. I end up using what yoga brought me. I use my breath a lot, bringing to consciousness and putting in my mind that everything is fine, that is all right. I don't have much of a ritual, but I try to use my breath a lot to calm down, instead, and to be aware that anytime I can come down anytime I want.
It has to be a fun thing. If I don't want it anymore, if it's not doing me good and I’m there in the middle, I just ask to go down and get down and calm down.
When You’ve Reached the Top, What Are You Feeling?
Well, the feeling of reaching the top, sometimes I don't know… It's just a feeling that it's over, that's it, let's go to the next one. Because I feel that the process was the most important part. It was worth it, and, of course, if I spend a lot of time training a route, wanting to conquer that top… getting up there is like...
I conquer the route because it is as if I discover that the whole process, the whole discipline, the whole process was real, it was worth it. It’s an incredible feeling, but… I can’t explain it.
What is the Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned From Climbing?
That is a tough question. We can't be what we want all the time, can we? So there are things in life that we have to stop and we have to go back and we have to deal with the process over and over again; the weakness, conquering everything you have achieved again, from your skin, muscles and mental condition. So, I think this impermanence and instability of climbing also teaches you in real life how to… a lot of other things, that not everything is permanent. So, we learn to deal with this impermanence, that life has to put you at that moment, and that we can withstand and persevere.
If We Tell Our Audience One Thing About Portugal...
One of the things I would recommend most to people who come and are interested in experiencing nature climbing is this: rather than wanting to be in the basic way of tourism of having the opportunity to observe the nature from above, from the top, whether from the castle or wherever, is that you really experience being inside it. Touch it. Touch the rock. Feel the energy of when you are climbing.
That energy that's in the rock, the trees, the wind. What's in there, you know? Feeling the sensations of nature and not only watching, just as the surfer goes to the sea, he is not there just watching, he is in there feeling it. So come with an open mind to go into nature and respect what is hers, know how to get in there and whatever you carry with you, you carry with you when you leave. You are there to look, feel, and observe, and then leave without taking anything from her. Leave her there, intact.