Oshawa and yoga. Not something I particularly had in mind for the summer. But after spending the morning with my sister (who attempted yogaFLIGHT for the first time!), we made our way from Alliston to Oshawa, a small city just east of Toronto. Why Oshawa you might ask? Well, slaDE and I have been brainstorming about places to establish roots for the summer, and his friend Dawn (whom we met at the Yoga Conference several years ago) has a small brilliant home yoga studio — Breath of Light Yoga — with a long driveway that her and her partner might consider renting to us for the summer. It seems almost too good to be true, but we’ve set a dinner date for this evening, in the hopes of establishing a summer residence whilst helping out Dawn with her new business.
Having arrived early in to Oshawa, we set up our slackline and worked on our balance poses. Such a challenge for me, klutz that I am :). But yet, I will continue to play in the hopes of bettering my skills at core & body stability, steadiness and sure-footedness.
Dinner with Dawn was fabulous. Her partner Craig had been called in to work, leaving the three of us speaking well into the night, discussing spirituality, yoga, web presence of our work and business marketing. It seems like we will be a spectacular fit … such an amazing opportunity for us all. I’m pretty excited about the summer, and what potential it will bring.
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.