Level Up with the Pros Part 2: Interview with Olivia Hsu

Olivia began practicing yoga over ten years ago, while on hiatus from climbing. An injured finger forced her to refocus, and subsequently began a life-long journey of finding balance and breath through Ashtanga yoga. Olivia now teaches in Boulder, when she's not traveling the world climbing and practicing. When we spoke, her voice was full of laughter.

What’s your morning routine?

I wake up, I drink a cup of tea, and then I do two and a half hours of yoga. I do it six days a week -- I practice Ashtanga, so traditionally you practice six days and then rest one.

Best mental breakthrough as a yogi?

I would say every day, because I think of yoga like drawing a circle in the sand and erasing it, and then doing it again. It's this idea that every day our body is different, so even if you're doing the same yoga postures, how your mind is, how your body is that day is always a little bit different.

How does your breath work in yoga carry over to your climbing?

I study Ashtanga, which is a very breath-oriented style of yoga, and maybe I gravitated towards it because I find a lot of similarities between that and climbing. With Vinyasa (Ashtanga is known to be the first Vinyasa yoga), it simply means linking breath to movement, so every posture that you do has a specific breath. Inhale arms up, exhale forward fold, inhale half lift, exhale forward fold, and when you do it correctly, you're just doing inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, and it becomes second nature. I think that translates to climbing, because when you're moving, that breath just becomes normal.

Do you have a go-to recovery meal?

I don't know if it's something that I love to eat or if I'm just lazy, but I always make a quinoa salad with an egg on top.

What's your favorite place to practice?

[Laughs] Wherever I am. My mat.

Essential oils, yes or no?

... I like them.

Do you have any personal rituals that you stick to?

I always drink a cup of tea in the morning, [Laughs] I wouldn't die if I didn't do it, but that's kind of a ritual that I sit and drink my tea and then go practice.

Cake vs. Pie?


What! Why?

Because cake can be so different. I feel like pie is kind of the same, and only the inside is different!

We disagree... again. It's what's on the inside that counts! Follow @olicow on Instagram to keep an eye on Olivia's day to day! Big thank you to Olivia and Paul and all the pros for sharing their everyday wisdom and practice with us.

Check out Paul's interview right here!