Griffith combines yoga, slacklining passions

Michelle Griffith first stumbled upon Moab in pursuit of adventure in 2012, and couldn’t stop coming back. In Moab, she conquered her fears to become a skilled and renowned high-liner and empowers others in her community to do the same by encouraging them to embrace challenges through teaching acroyoga.

“I tried to move back a few times, but the freedom of living in a car is addicting,” Griffith said. While she made a name for herself in the high-lining community, Griffith traveled often, sleeping in the bed of her Toyota Tacoma. During this time, the adventurous woman traveled both throughout the U.S. and to 19 different countries. She still loves to travel but now loves spending the majority of her time staying put in Moab. “It was time for me to dig my feet in and stop living in my truck, and move into a more directive phase of my life versus a receptive phase,” Griffith explained. “I always had so much fun in Moab and met so many people who were living life on their own terms.”

When she moved to Moab in December of 2016, the town provided her the opportunity to grow into the community and continue working for Yogaslackers, a company that allows her to combine her love of high-lining with her love of yoga, particularly acroyoga, which is an acrobatic form of yoga.

“By the time I started high-lining, I had been doing yoga for a few years,” she said. “There’s nothing I’ve done that has made me face my fear and the inner workings of my head like high-lining.” Griffith views this pursuit as essential to developing her identity and sense of self –a journey that certainly hasn’t been easy.

“I wasn’t a highliner. I slacklined here and there and I thought it would never be for me,” she explained. “It took me a year of getting on high-lines and trying to stand up before I got it. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.” It was her yoga practice that Griffith views as the tool that helped her face her fears. “My journey through yoga and realizing how powerful our thoughts and words are and how every thought we think, becomes our future,” she explained.

Griffith combines her passions for yoga and slacklining in her work with Yogaslackers. With the company, she travels the country teaching acroyoga and slacklining. “I love working with people to help them realize their own potential and become a better version of themselves, whatever that means to them,” she said of this work. It is this sentiment she hopes to share with her community through teaching weekly acroyoga classes. The lessons take place at the Helipad at 6 p.m. and are donation based, so as not to exclude anyone from participating. “I feel like acro is one of those communities where the barrier to entry is really low, but the barrier to stay is kind of high, because there’s a higher expectation of how we act and how we treat each other,” she commented. Through acroyoga, Griffith hopes to provide a fun and challenging environment, where people can make new friends and learn something new.

“I want to provide a source of positive encouragement rather than negative peer pressure. Both come from a place of wanting to push people, but there’s a more positive way to do it,” she explained. And Griffith believes acroyoga has become the perfect platform through which to do so. “I’ve seen people build really trusting relationships with each other through acro,” she said. “I’ve seen people learn how to communicate better and ask for consent in any situation, how to respect and appreciate when someone says no and respect their boundaries.” To Griffith, acroyoga is most importantly about community. She said, “More than anything I’ve seen a real community build around acroyoga. It’s a non-exclusive community. They invite people with real warmth and real welcome.”

Griffith hopes the community she is facilitating through acroyoga will be reflected in the wider community of Moab as a whole. Though she still travels often both to perform and teach at festivals and other events, Griffith hopes to give back to the community she feels rooted in and feels has given her so much. “I love how you can go into town and see five people who are just such a positive influence to your day,” she said. “I love that I can walk out my door, and drive for five minutes and be completely immersed in nature. I love that it attracts so many free thinkers and artists and inspiring people to this one little place.”

ByBy Jacque Garcia

The Times-Independent