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LuckyGuy's avatar

For those of you who practice yoga, can you walk on a slackline?

Asked by LuckyGuy (38444points) February 9th, 2016

I thought I had a good sense of balance. I can stand on one foot or the other indefinitely with no problem. I thought that meant I could stand and walk on a slackline. I was wrong. It takes a completely different skill set. This is a world champion slackliner .
Balance must be maintained by moving your body and not by twisting your ankles and feet.
You can practice by standing on a 1.5“x1.5“x10 ft, 3.5cmx3.5cm x 3m long piece of wood and slowly walking from one end to the other. Do it while watching TV.
I have been practicing since late December – about 5 minutes minimum, multiple times per day. I also have a line set up outdoors strung between two trees about a foot off the ground with a guide line overhead. I am getting better but I still find this incredibly difficult. My brain still has not figured it out. Am I getting old?
Can you do it?
How did you learn?

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24 Answers

Seek's avatar

I’m only an occasional yoga dabbler, but challenge frakking accepted.

I’ll set one up at my new house. That gives me a few weeks to up my yoga game.

I’m naturally good at balancing (though you’d never guess as I’m still a hopeless klutz). This would make good bragging rights.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Just try standing on a narrow piece of wood. It is totally different from standing flat on the floor. Different muscles, different sense of balance. I am really surprised.

The slackline offers no resistance side to side. If you begin moving one way or the other you can’t flex your ankles to maintain balance. If you balance by flexing your ankle it just twists and you just slide right off. I don’t know how they do it! .
I have graduated to a metal pipe on the floor in my office.

zenvelo's avatar

@LuckyGuy Why the connection to yoga? I don’t see yoga as a prerequisite to walking a slackline.

I have held a place on a slackline for almost three seconds! But that’s it for me. My daughter, however, has played with slacklines at summer camp since she was about ten, and while she only does it a few times a year, can actually take a couple steps. But she’s never done yoga. I think she started young enough to be able to balance on it.

Cruiser's avatar

My brother brought one to a family reunion and after 20 tries I was able to take 4 steps but it was nowhere as taut as the one in the videos which I am sure would make it a bit easier to do. I could see doing the Tree yoga pose and even attempting it while standing on a softball could be a good prep exercise to getting your balance dialed in for conquering the taut line. The reason Tree pose would be so good for this as a prep is Tree forces you to use a point in the distance as your focal point to maintain your balance similarly as the taut line requires you to do.

Judi's avatar

Just because I do yoga doesn’t mean I’m good at balance! I do yoga because I’m NOT flexible and NOT mindful. I need those things in my life so I do yoga to try to bring some balance. No slack line for me.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@zenvelo I thought of yoga because of this question about Hatha yoga.
Someone can master balance on the floor but be totally spastic on the slackline. That is why wanted to ask someone who has done both.

The big difference is yoga on the floor allows you to use the feet to make corrections. The slackline doesn’t.

@Cruiser I can do the tree pose – either foot – all day. But when I first tried the slackline I couldn’t even put my weight on it. My body and legs would oscillate at about 4–5 Hz – before throwing me off.
Try the tree pose while standing on a piece of 2” x 2”. Totally different.

I am experimenting with arm weights to see if there is a difference.

Seek's avatar

Hmm… I have awful ankles, so I’m always mindful of keeping them rigid so I don’t eat the dirt. This might be possible….

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’ve used the “Tree”, “Extended Hand to Toe”, “Eagle” and numerous other yoga positions of this type to improve my balance, especially before and during a long cruise on a small sailboat. These, besides being good for facilitating deep meditation in the “Dead Man” pose (my favorite) afterwards, are excellent for developing the fine motor muscles required for walking tight decks in rough seas (like a cat!) and, I imagine, they would be good for slackrope walkers as well.

ucme's avatar

The only great balance I have is safely deposited in my bank.
Never fancied yoga, or fart stretching to give it it’s proper name.

Cruiser's avatar

@ucme “Fart Stretching” in yoga is known as butt pranyama (aka moving wind) which is really good for you and likely to generate polite applause if you fart while stretching in a yoga class.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I watched the video posted by @LuckyGuy, and I have 3 questions. (1) Was this guy using any sort of security tether? (2) What happened after he’d reached the other side? Surely, he didn’t turn around and go back!? (3) Is there any place on earth more beautiful than Canada?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Love_my_doggie He did that with NO tether! That is why it is called “Free Solo”. He set the world record. And yes indeed he did turn around and go back!
He is so confident in is abilities. He knows when to give up and fall and still grab onto the line. He does not wait until he is really losing it. He drops down grabs the line and bounces back up onto it again. Incredible.

The Skywalkers

LuckyGuy's avatar

This was the video that got me interested in the challenge. Of course my line is only a foot or so off the ground. It shows all the preparation it took to accomplish that feat. There is much more too it. The engineering involved is so complex.


When I watched that I found myself sweating.

Cruiser's avatar

@LuckyGuy Just to be fair to everyone here the guy in your OP video link has a cleverly disguised safety line. Look at his lower back you can see the brace and harness around his waist and watch the slack line bounce when he slips and grabs the slack line and you can see the safety rope snaked along the slack line. Provided he had quality rope on hand he was never in real danger.

johnpowell's avatar

Nathan Has You Covered

And yeah, I watch way too much TV.

ucme's avatar

@Cruiser You blowing wind up my arse big fella? ;-}

Buttonstc's avatar

I know that you’re somewhere in upstate NY but don’t know how near to Albany but unfortunately you just missed a slackline yoga workshop for all levels from beginner on up here:
However, I’m sure they will be doing future events if you’re so inclined. In addition to their Facebook page, this group also has a website , coincidentally, called “yoga slackers”

In addition to its connection to yoga which is fairly recent, slacklining has historically been connected to the circus.

And there has been a fairly recent renewal of interest in the circus arts in general, as much for physical fitness as for performance skills.

Years ago (15 or more ) I took a summer workshop in circus arts
In Philly. Slackline was one of the techniques to which we were exposed. But it just wasn’t my thing. I had zero aptitude for slackline and was far more interested in other aspects.

However, you may very well encounter some type of circus arts training program in your neck of the woods. Look for something along those lines in the summer.

Are you anywhere near Saratoga Springs? I think that Circus Smirkus does a yearly drop by each summer (presumably with workshops also.)

Buttonstc's avatar

Just for curiosity, what type of line are you using and where did you purchase it?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I got a 3” wide tow strap from Harbor Freight, 9000 lbs capacity. . I already had some 2 inch tie-downs with the ratchets that I use for hauling motorcycles and equipment so I used those to adjust tension.

I’ll check into yogaslackers. I’m about 250 miles from Albany so the commute would be a little far – especially in the 1 ft of snow we have so far today. :-)

jca's avatar

@Cruiser: I did see the safety rope but didn’t see it attached to the guy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Cruiser Did you see the video Untethered? ( 30 minutes, link above) He says there isn’t one and I can’t see any line attached. He also shows how he built up to doing it. He never falls off the line. Of course he falls but he always catches himself. There are lots of practice falls but he never misses or lets go of that line.
I will look at the 2 minute video wit a magnifying glass and see if I can see a line.
All I know is I’m doing it a foot off the ground and I have a cheater line above me that I can grab and I still can’t get 20 ft!

Look at the 2 minute video linked in the details of this Q. I don’t see anything protecting him ! ( Spencer Seabrook setting the record for Free Solo.) The guy in the other video does have a tether.

Cruiser's avatar

@LuckyGuy I am not suggesting he didn’t do it solo but there are a lot of inconsistencies in the video. Where at the beginning it looks clean and appears he is doing it untethered. But look at the very beginning when he is on land with just pants on and once he is on the slack line he is wearing a fall harness. Then towards the second half you can see a second “safety rope” dangling. and almost any of the overhead shots you can see this other rope and look at 1:21 and you see a metal device hanging from his belt line on his pants that to me looks like a safety tether. So if he was truly solo then why the safety harness suddenly appearing??

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Cruiser I’ll check a little later when I can get to the big monitor. Either way it is pretty awesome. (Note I didn’t say it was the brightest move. I said it was awesome!)

The videos of performers bouncing in the park about 6–9 feet off the ground is still impressive. They have concrete below them.

Judi's avatar

This is a friend of mines son. He is also a great yogi

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