Thursday, October 20, 2011

walk the line

Total union: James and his slackline.

Line-master Arne casually walking across.

There's all sorts of things one can get into here in Mysore. And last week, I had the good luck to try slacklining with fellow students at the Gokulam park beside the Krishna temple.

Its been a fun and easy going way to while away the afternoon. Finding balance among friends. Getting addicted to defying the laws of physics--or rather, better understanding the laws of physics.

At first, it may appear to be completely different from our practice, what with our fixed postures, set series, and precise counting. Slacklining is a practice in balance, using a nylon line anchored between two points. The line itself is slack, which means that it is dynamic, it stretches and has bounce. And it seems to be this fun and free-flowing activity, where one works on finding equilibrium amidst movement from one side to the other--um, sound familiar?

Walking across the line isn't easy, however. Breathing is essential. Eyes should be focused ahead of you. Body should be relaxed. The mind needs to be aware and vigilant, using the different parts of the body in harmony to allow that perfect balance moment to moment. Is this not similar to our yoga practice?

But then, I can't help but think, that this pretty much applies to everything. To all activities. To driving. To cooking. To our work. To life. If we applied these methods, which we use in our hour and a half asana practice, to all our everyday activities, how much more successful would we be as human beings? If we practiced them with as much diligence as we do when we get on that mat, how much more amazing our lives could be?

Then again, when I look at my own life, which has transformed so much due to yoga, I see how it has sneakily seeped into the rest of my life. I've been witness to it taking over gradually, killing my old habits, replacing them with new ones, healthier and more mindful, steadier in the shifting world of slack.

(Its a pretty casual affair, the neighborhood kids have a go so do entire families of students. There's an intention to set up the slackline at Gokulam Park after Sunday conferences. Everyone is welcome to join. Last Sunday was pretty fun, there was hula hooping and this wonderful easy going day out at the park vibe post-conference.)

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