The Philosophy of Slacklining: three yogic tips for success

Hello. It’s been a while since I last wrote – October was my last update. So hello 🙂 Has 2018 been good so far?

It’s never too late for an old dog to try new tricks…and another application for the physical and mental tools of yoga:

The Philosophy of Slackline Walking

I have a new toy to play with – I found a cheap slackline and thought it might be fun for the kids over Christmas. As it turned out the oldest kid – me -had the most fun with it!

What an interesting process to balance on a thing that both bounces and wobbles.

An old friend (or should I rather say “long-time” friend?) Malcom Gowans and some of the climbers gave me a few pointers and demonstrated how it’s supposed to be done. So with the visual lodged in my memory, I gave it a shot.

I tried.

And fell.

And tried and fell, and eventually I think I figured out the keys to the puzzle. Still a long way from being good at it but there were moments of balance and moments of recovering balance which was rewarding.

Tricks from Yoga as short-cuts to slacklining greatness:

#1: Use your dristi – gaze point.

Pick a spot horizontally ahead and stare at it intently: that becomes an anchor point for the body to orient around.
The philosophical Dristi is the internal Still Point and the intention to go ahead. It implies both a looking place and an expression of energy towards something.

The look at the future or a principled life regardless of the madness or chaos around. Just keep gazing at the point ahead on the horizon.

#2: Use your mudras.

A mudra is a “gesture of attentiveness”. In class with me, many of you are familiar with the various mudras we work with. Initially I used the the “hold a large ball” mudra and that seemed to work up to a point. Then I opted for the “wave arms like a monkey” tactic!

When I let the hands go floppy and allowed the arms to fling themselves randomly in their quest to keep balance, somehow I was able to stay on the line. Sometimes the gesture that arises is like a little scene out of a kung fu movie and others more like a gibbon walking.

#3. Find Sukham.

The “Sukham” of free-flow movement and fluidity must be allowed full expression so that the core can remain in the right place. So often we “stiffen up” when we need to actually yield.

It all sounds very Zen-like: something Yoda would say. It’s just that this kind of philosophy works on the slackline. Maybe it works for other things as we go along through life…



So until next time, thank-you again for reading. Please keep in touch with me and let me know your news.