After a quick visit to check out the Skyventure windtunnel in Montreal (which is pretty impressive in its design compared to the other tunnels), we made our way to ‘Parc du Mont Royal’ to pursue a new-to-us type of play. Slacklining is very similar to walking on a tight rope. A 1 inch flat tubular length of webbing (similar to what rock climbers use) is anchored between two stable and solid points (often trees are used). Add the concepts of yoga with intense focus and breath, and you enter the company of the Yogaslackers. US based Chelsey Gribbon and Jason Magness define their version of slacklining (aka ‘slackasana’) as “distilling the art of yogic concentration. A very unique practice that totally redefined my idea of what balance and breath was all about. Intensity in mental focus and sustained full breathes are mandatory, similar to meditation in motion. In fact, the success to remaining on the slackline is fourfold:
- Focus (‘Drishti’ is the sanskrit word for gaze, which in yoga, helps with balance.)
I went in to the workshop literally stating: “my balance really sucks and I’m not certain if this will be accessible to me.” Talk about putting my limitations out there for all to see! However, within the 2 hour workshop, I was amazed at my tremendous steps of bravery and progress. I’ll be honest … walking on a 1 inch piece of tensioned webbing is a tricky intimidating process, especially with my tendency towards klutz-dom. But with gentle persistence, encouragement and a big helping of patience, I was able to balance in ways that were unexpected and incredibly rewarding. So enamoured was I in the process, slaDE and I invested in our own slackline kit (a special line and simple tensioning system)! Expect to see us slacklining at a dropzone near you.
Here’s what the Yogaslackers website has to say about yoga on the slackline:
Despite the seemingly impossible nature of the act, it is achievable by almost anyone with a little bit of perseverance and patience. The practice has many layers, simultaneously developing focus, dynamic balance, power, breath, core integration, flexibility, and confidence. Utilizing standing postures, sitting postures, arm balances, kneeling postures, inversions and unique vinyasa, a skilled slackline yogi is able to create a flowing yoga practice without ever falling from the line. Once certain skills have been mastered the line can be set up longer – making it much harder to balance on. For a comprehensive listing of asana (poses) that have been done on the line please visit team member Adi Carter’s page.