Slacklining Facilitates Meditation…Here’s How.

What is meditation?

Meditating is the act of focusing on one thing, such as your breath or a Mantra, to calm and still the mind. A calm still mind allows one to experience a state of inner peace or bliss. Many associate meditating with yoga and breath work, and for good reason. Both of these are excellent practices to help prepare the mind for meditation.

In the practice of meditation, the mind can easily wander off, getting distracted by our thoughts. That’s often the most difficult part of this practice…settling down the thought train cruising out of control in our mind. When we give ourself one thing to focus on, it helps to slow the thought train down. This allows outside distractions to fall away, and the mind to relax. With a continuous meditation practice it’s said  that one can connect to a state of inner peace and bliss.

Picture taken by Damien Lamee

I became aware of the practice of meditation in my early 20’s. Since then I have mostly tried meditating with yoga, breath work, and music. I have connected with all three, but still find challenge with the wandering mind.

I found with yoga that even though I would sit still and quite, my mind would roam. The same with focusing on the breath, the thoughts slowly and very sneakily distract me. Sometimes I don’t realize the shift to thinking happens, then I think about that, and there I am again. Swimming around in an endless pool of thoughts and ideas and plans and…what I need to do in 10 minutes.  Then I found Slacklining and my practice of meditation came alive in a whole new way.

Focus On Balance To Still The Mind

I have a passion for balance and have had this passion since I was a child. With the discovery of slacklining, I began to explore balance in a way that reminded me of meditation. In order to focus on balance I really had to connect to my breath. Like meditation, with calm deep breathes and one focus, my mind began to relax while on the line. Outside distractions and internal thought detours began to fade away and a feeling of bliss would lead my breath.

Relaxing into the line, calming the mind, and shaking hands with stillness

Slacklining Facilitates Meditation

Stillness and the feeling of oneness with the line is a part of my slackline practice, and when that feeling occurs everything else melts away. Time no longer exists, and worry is an unknown feeling. It’s just me and the line and we are having a beautiful silent conversation about balance. It’s like a conversation where two people finish each others sentence. Without thought, when the line moves my body responds in the most effortless way to maintain balance. The line then responds to my body movements and breath. This can happen so fast and on a micro level that neither me or the line appear to move at all. It’s moments like I just described that I feel the connection to peace and inner bliss.

How is slackline meditation different from yoga meditation?

As I said earlier, during yoga my body is on the mat, but my mind easily floats away to different mental activities. With the slackline, I find success with meditation when I focus on balance and take deep breaths. When I focus on other things, I usually come off the line or start struggling to balance. This immediately distracts the meditation experience.

I think of it like this, during yoga the body is usually in a seated position and stable. It’s the stable ground that allows the mind to become passive and get distracted. With slacklining, the mind is actively focusing on balance and breath. This not only keeps you on the line, it keeps the mind on task. It becomes an autopilot task after awhile, allowing the mind to relax and stillness and peace to unite with your breath.

I’m not discouraging anyone to shy away from yoga meditation, just offering another possibility. I’m a firm believer in the practice of yoga! And just like yoga, and meditation, slacklining is a practice. The more you practice, the more you connect with the line. The more you connect with the line, the more you connect with yourself.  Slowly and suddenly what distinguishes you from the line dissolves. For that moment, however long or short, there is no difference between you and the line.

Slacklining To Calm The Mind

Slackline lesson on Isla Mujeres in Mexico. Photo by @Lindsikaycircus

I think it’s worth it for every person to give slacklining a try. It’s a wonderful way to workout as well as find your inner stillness. Slacklining offers a unique way to connect with your breath and focus the mind. It opens up possibilities to approach meditation that’s different from many other forms of meditating.

Slacklining facilitates meditation because it still reminds me how important breath is, even after years of practice. The correlations between your deep breaths, the calmness of your mind and the stillness of the line is amazing. If you breath shallow and your mind is worried about falling, the line shakes like wild wind storms. Audibly exhale that energy out with deep breaths and think about staying on the line, and the storm starts to calm.

My breath is the movement of the line. Calm the breath, calm the mind, calm the line. This is a phrase I like to think of to settle down, and relax into the line. There are moments when all that exist is your awareness. This is when the mind is calm.

Many thanks for reading. I want to hear about experience with meditation and slacklining. Send me a comment and let me know what you think.

 

Peace,

Buddy Thomas

 

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