“slack” is sort of a misnomer…as the point is to cinch the line as tight as you can, so that you can then balance, walk, stand or lay down on a less then 2 inch wide length of nylon strap. play out all of your “man on a wire” tight rope/circus fantasies without the terror of plunging to your death. you won’t actually fall more than 12 to 18 inches, but man….is it scary! surprisingly so.
my dear friend jeffry had been talking up this experience for a long time and finally a month or so ago a couple of us met in camel’s back and tried it for the first time.
i was surprised and (relieved) to discover that you don’t just start trying to stand up and balance, but you start by kneeling in the grass on all fours and extend opposite hand opposite leg. piece of cake, right? but then, you lift the toes of the one grounded leg so that you are balanced on your knee, and everything changes. suddenly your body is spastically trying to right itself. a move that I teach and do every day in my yoga class, became foreign and incredibly challenging, by making the smallest adjustment…lift your toes and completely find your balance in your core.
you play with that for a bit and then you try it on your knees on the line. feels impossible, but then after the umpteenth time, you suddenly find your balancing point. you find a gaze point, a drishti on the ground, you slow and deepen the breath and you find it…for a second….then maybe 2…3…
you can then balance on both knees, sit on the line with one leg extended, lay on your back, sit in lotus ,etc… and then eventually you stand with one foot on the line, the other on the ground and you push up and stand on one foot on the line…..yeah, right…..
the first day in the park I spent most of my time either kneeling or sitting. riding the waves of body jerks as you wildly try and right yourself. it is like riding a bike, you cannot think your way through it, there is nothing to figure out, you can only breathe and feel and when you slide into that effortless space (for a moment or two) it is incredible. it is amazing watching other people do it. every single muscle in their body is twitching and jerking trying to find the balancing point. it is a constant evolution, because the point of balance keeps changing….over and over and over again….
what a genius practice this is. absolute presence. absolute focus. only the moment.
by the end of the time in the park, I was having moments… you begin to feel the possibility.
this weekend I went to sun valley and spent a day with jeffry and we set up a line between two trees near a Frisbee golf course. this was only the second time I had been on the line. revisiting the moves I had played with before and discovering how quickly they came back. then I attempted the push off from the ground with one foot on the line. the very idea seemed utterly impossible. fruitless. line shivering out of control. then steadying and slowing the breath, focusing on a spot on the line and pushing up, saying to yourself, “I’ve got this…” you try and try and try and then I fell. pretty hard, which was great, because you realize the ground is not that far away and it is not that big a deal and suddenly there is a shift….and then you push and you hang…for a moment and you realize that this impossible thing is actually possible….and that feeling is really something. and each time you discover some new tiny adjustment you can make, a new way to access the balance. how to let the balance just happen. just allow it.
It was beautiful to watch him as he has been playng and practicing for quite awhile. he walks the line, turns, sits…you see what can be done.
it was a very powerful and playful experience. it is like being a kid and learning to ride a bike again and finding the freedom, ease and expanse that comes when you find that sweet spot of balance. and again, and again, and right now and right now….a transferable life skill for sure…
give yourself some slack why don’t you…