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Soy Artista: Mexican slackline athlete rises above fear

Soy Artista: Ana Gabriela Patiño Vargas AcroYoga and Slackline Artist | Film by Lila Salinas

Ana Gabriela Patiño Vargas is a widely acclaimed slackline performer with over 12 years of experience as a slackline artist and Acrobatic (Acro) Yoga Instructor.

Of guanajuatense and veracruzan descent, Patiño Vargas grew up in Mexico City and studied Industrial Design at UNAM – Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. There, she discovered her love for Sackline and Acro Yoga. Patiño Vargas first began venturing into extreme sports when she was 18 years old.

Her interest in high altitude sports began with rock climbing. It wasn’t until she was introduced to a special group of students at UNAM, that she began learning of the symmetric intricacies involved with slacklining and the interconnected components of AcroYoga.

“That’s why I like climbing, highlining and body practices because they connect you to life, they connect you with nature and they connect you with other people. Acro yoga is more like learning to have a body dialogue with another person and being able to find balance together,” said Patiño Vargas.

Ana Gabriela Patiño Vargas on Slacklilne in Humboldt County Forest | Photo by Lila Salinas

Finding her Footing

Soon after learning the art of highline, Patiño Vargas began competing against slackline artists in Mexico where she won her first regional competition in Guadalajara. Soon after, she began receiving sponsorships to represent Mexico in a National Advanced Slackline Competition against other slackline artists in Colorado.

“I had to compete against a 15 year old boy, and he beat me, but hey, it was still fun, as long as I was having fun, I felt like a winner,” said Patiño Vargas. Patiño Vargas’ talents and triumphs at competitions allowed her to continually obtain a tourist Visa to travel around the globe and to the United States.

“Slackline was my first love, it involves movements, like yoga and it’s similar to the balance needed to do AcroYoga – they come hand in hand,” said Patiño Vargas.

Ana Gabriela Patiño Vargas on Slacklilne in Humboldt County Forest | Photo by Lila Salinas

2000 meters up

One of Patiño Vargas’ favorite places to highline is in Yosemite, CA. She recalls a magical experience where she faced her fears during highlining under a beautiful sunset while the moon was rising. “I was slacklining and someone says, “aye the helicopter”. “I turn around and the helicopter was underneath me and it looked like (pinches her fingers together) a tiny fly. When I saw the helicopter, I realized we were very high because the helicopter was very small,” said Patiño Vargas.

Then suddenly, I see a Base Jumper in a squirrel suit jumping off the edge of the cliff while I was walking on the line and I thought, how can that person throw themselves off the cliff? I was nervous, you’re always nervous on the line, there’s always a fear, what changes is how you face it, right?,” added Patiño Vargas.

“There’s a huge highline community in Humboldt – “The Humboldt Slackers Group,” added Patiño Vargas. Patiño Varags immediately became a performing artist within the Humboldt Community and a contributor sharing her knowledge and teachings about AcroYoga. Her certification was obtained at “AcroYoga Montreal” in Sao Paulo, BR and with the “Yoga Slackers” in Virginia, US during her Slackline tours in America.

Ana Gabriela Patiño Vargas and Emily May performing AcroYoga in Humboldt County Forest | Photo by Lila Salinas

Discovering Humboldt

Patiño Vargas continued to use her skills and obtained employment with a resort in Cancun, Mexico where she held residency for a few years as a Slackline performer and rock climbing instructor.

In 2015 after completing work for the season, she was invited by her college friends to visit them in Humboldt County. She traveled to Humboldt to join her friends and discovered a community of like minded performers.

Patiño Vargas annually teaches slackline youth classes for Orbe Group in Humboldt County and has recently been teaching with Color Maiz Collective and teaches weekly yoga classes at OmShala in Arcata, CA.

“I think that it’s necessary to heal our society. We live in trauma or in fears but there are beautiful things in life, there are things that can be enjoyed and learned also having fun and connecting with yourself and others through practicing art, it’s important to learn about them and be able to share them,” said Patiño Vargas.

For more information about Ana Gabriela Patiño Vargas’ yoga classes or performances you can visit her instagram @baguibagui_ or https://www.omshalayoga.com and https://www.inkpeople.org/dreammaker-data/color-maiz

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