Trains: Balance, rooting, concentration, confidence/overcoming fear
Description: Logs of varying lengths and diameters positioned ~10 feet above ground in an arc. Some logs have ropes above your head which you can grab onto. To complete a loop, you must go across all logs and the horizontal rope.
Goal: 2 loops in 2 minutes
This is one of the trickiest stations because a lot of it is in your mind. When there are no ropes to grab onto, no harnesses, and no safety nets, you can very well fall and seriously injure yourself. The more you think about it, the worse it gets.
- Start on the lower logs. Some are wobbly so we can work on our balance and if we fall, we can easily land on our feet because we’re close to the ground.
- Climb up to the high logs and get used to the height. Instead of walking right away, you can just sit or stand there and hang onto the tree if you want. The trees are your best friends.
- Afterwards, try walking the logs with ropes and if you’re confident, try the logs without ropes.
Some students were able to walk the logs early on. Someone did almost the entire loop (including logs with no ropes) on her very first try. I struggled. I didn’t complete the logs route until 6 days before the semester 1 test. I had never climbed across the entire horizontal rope before that day.
What was holding me back? My mind. The fear of falling and injuring myself.
What pushed me? The time crunch and the encouragement of my fellow students. Had the test come sooner, I have a feeling I would have pushed myself to progress sooner. On Day 93 (11/30/2013), it just clicked.
I would stand with my back facing the tree and my hands behind me, making sure the tree was still there. I took a step forward, reached for the tree behind me, and stepped back. I have done this many times on many days. All the other 5YP students have tried to encourage each other throughout the semester, but on this particular day it was Javo and Piper who helped me the most.
I watched Javo’s method of facing the tree and taking a step backward. His hands were outstretched and he could easily reach the tree. He started taking more steps backwards until he was in the middle of the log. Eventually he was able to walk across it (going forward). I tried his method and didn’t walk more than a few steps back, but the fact that he succeeded gave me motivation. Piper suggested that I start on a log that wasn’t as high as the others. There was a small tree below which gave the illusion that I would have a soft landing if I fell. Piper’s other advice was to look at where I should take my step instead of looking directly at my feet.
I pushed myself to just go. I realized that as long as I kept my hands behind me on the tree, my mind and center would stay there and I wouldn’t be able to go forward. It was like I had an anchor attached to the tree. My method:
- Start with my back to the tree and as soon as I feel steady, immediately put my arms out to the sides instead of behind me.
- Imagine my center traveling forward as I take each step.
- Imagine my feet sticking to the logs while repeating a word in my head. I say, “Staaay” as if I’m talking to my dog. (meaning = stay on the log and don’t fall off)
You can have the physical capability and concentration to do something, but without confidence, you’ll hold yourself back. You could possibly even increase the chance of falling if that’s the main thought in your head.
I still have ways to go before I reach the goal time, but during the semester 1 test, completing the loop was an improvement for me. The time is just a goal. What we’re really trying to do is train ourselves to become comfortable on the logs. Speed is one measurement. We can also go backwards, try to stay on a log for as long as we can, stand on one foot, do qigong patterns, etc… Maybe one day we can even do pushing hands on the high logs (or maybe not).
Day 30 10/1/2013 Test — 1:26 (logs with ropes, no horizontal rope)
Day 93 1130/2013 — 2:10 (all logs, no horizontal rope)
Day 99 12/9/2013 Test — 2:10 (all logs, completed horizontal rope)
Practice run in the middle of the semester: