A Day with the YogaSlackers
The second one was the slackline workshop. Having never even seen a slackline I was both excited and nervous to be introduced to it. I was reassured by both Sam and Dan that yes, I would not break my arm. So I dove in head first!
Before even touching the line we did some warm-up conditioning moves. I love that they always include these. Even if you don’t have access to a slackline you can work on some of the core foundations to help you. After this we were ready to move to the lines.
We began by balancing on our knees, something that is not as easy as it seems. Right away it becomes clear how important your breath, your drishti (focal point), and trusting yourself are to this art. If you lack any of the 3 it becomes ten times harder. The first 2 were a piece of cake for me to get down, it was the trusting in myself and body that was a challenge.
I tend to always short change myself, an old habit that is proving hard to break. I understand that in doing so I can achieve anything. But the fear of failure and getting hurt love to creep up and scream at the top of their lungs in situations like this. Lucky for me, I had 2 amazing instructors to help me. They were very patient with me, but also knew when to push me, which is always helpful when learning something out of your comfort zone.
With time and their coaching I was able to slowly improve with the knee balancing. Part of the problem for me is I twisted my knee cap many years ago and it never healed properly, so where the line should sit, it won’t, so we had to figure out where it would without injury to me. After this we worked on standing on the line. A whole lot more intimidating, let me tell you. But I was totally game! The approach to this is literally playing on that edge of being grounded and falling off the line. Again those 3 fundamentals are crucial.
With time, I was eventually able to balance a little. Dan gave me a great piece of advice with this, he had me lift up and lean till I cam off of it it completely. Just before you go too far there is a moment where you find that perfect balance. The trick is to maintain that balance without falling off. This comes with time, practice, and your muscles adjusting to it all.
We then moved on to sitting on the line. This was probably the least scary of them all. But again, without those 3 key elements it is hard to keep your balance.
They ended this portion with arm balances, always a favorite of mine. If you think they are tricky on solid ground, try them on a slackline. My biceps were complaining for a couple of days, I loved it! Everything you do on the line uses a total yoga approach while working your muscles, body, and mind in a completely new way. Needless to say I am hooked! I now have a slackline on my wishlist.
They ended the night with the advanced acro workshop, which was a lovely ending to the night. I ended up having the honor of flying on Dan, as we had an odd number of people. (There is a base: the person on the bottom or ground, a flyer: the person balancing on them or on top, and the spotter: the person to make sure both the base and flyer are safe at all times.) The moves they taught us really forced you to trust not only your partner but yourself as well. The flow was beautiful, fun, creative, and challenging.
By the end of the night I was one tired but extremely happy yogi. I had also learned a lot about myself. How I am stronger than I usually give myself credit for (At one point that night I held up 2 grown men while being in a plank position) and how I need to really trust myself more.
We are all capable of so much in this life, but sadly so often we hold ourselves back due to fear. We must learn to truly believe in ourselves to reach our true potential. We must also remind ourselves to be patient, humble, and compassionate.
Before Sam and Dan left to continue on their tour, I was able to ask them a few questions. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did – here is that interview:
DAN: My biggest advice for newbies is don’t get frustrated. It takes some time to master the basics of slacklining. When the line is shaking like mad and you can barely stay on it for more than a couple seconds, the key to remember is taht this is when your body is getting some of the most benefits from slacklining. All that shaking is your body absorbing information on how to balance and your muscles learning on to stabilize. Plus you need to remember, your doing yoga on a 1 inch piece of wedding, so cut yourself a break.
SAM & DAN: The best way to keep up with us is on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/home.