When Slacking Becomes Hard Work

Yoga slacklining tests your balance by grounding you in the present moment—except that your feet will never touch the ground.

Slacklining is just one activity you can try at a Wanderlust Festival. Join us this summer

The crossover between sports and yoga is ever-expanding, from swimmers to professional football and basketball players, equestrians, scuba divers, surfersendurance runners, champion boxers, and rock climbers… there’s no shortage of athletes who turn to asana to improve their performance. So it’s no wonder the practice found a home among Dan Norgard and Sam Salwei, two climbers turned compadres, who created YogaSlackers, a yoga-meets-slacklining hybrid that’s not just for those hacky sack hippies who set up camp at your local park—but for anyone who enjoys the thrill of a good challenge.

Norgard and Salwei created their version of yoga slacklining to initially improve their rock climbing prowess. But when they brought their avant-garde practice to a Yoga Journal conference in Colorado over ten years ago, they didn’t expect such an overwhelming positive reaction. Everyone wanted to know where they could practice yoga slacklining in other parts of the country and beyond, and thus, YogaSlackers was born.

While yoga helps anchor us to the present moment, the added challenge of having the ground literally pulled out from under your feet is what makes yoga slacklining so exhilarating. Imagine a balancing pose like Dancer (Natarajasana), without the earth to ground you. Once you set foot on the slack line, you’ve no choice but to focus solely on the experience you’re having in the moment—a key component to meditation. If anything, it’s less of a challenge to keep the mind from wandering when you’re practicing yoga on a tight rope! “You’re either 100 percent on the line, or you’re not on the line anymore, “ Salwei says.

Yoga slacklining is about working with yourself only, without distraction. These guys might make it look easy in the video below but trust us—it’s even harder than it looks. Here’s a short clip from YogaSlackers practicing at Wanderlust Vermont in 2013. Happy slacking!

andrea-rice-headshot-new-editAndrea Rice is a Senior Writer for Wanderlust Media. She is also a freelance writer, editor, and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, SONIMA, mindbodygreen, AstroStyle, and other online publications. You can find her regular classes at shambhala yoga & dance center in Brooklyn, and connect with her on InstagramTwitter, and on her website