There’s no doubt you’ve come across AcroYoga – even if you weren’t aware of it. If you’ve ever skimmed Instagram of yoga blogs and found yourself in awe at some daring balancing acts between two yogis, you’ve seen the beauty of AcroYoga. Is it yoga? Is it acrobatics? Well, it’s both!
From afar, it may seem that AcroYoga is only for gymnasts, advanced yogis, or couples. But the truth is that AcroYoga is for anyone who wants to advance their practice, open themselves to community and connection, and learn a few new tricks. Even if you’re still new to the practice of yoga in general, you may just find a new passion in AcroYoga.
While AcroYoga can be for anyone, there are some important things to take note before jumping right in. AcroYoga is a little different than the typical yoga styles and it’s good to know a little bit about what to expect before your first class. If you are interested in taking on the challenge and fun of AcroYoga, read on to see what’s in store for you.
What is AcroYoga?
At its core, AcroYoga is a mix of yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage. This unique blend creates a functional, therapeutic, and deeply synergetic form of yoga practice. AcroYoga relies on the connection between two people to take on poses and positions you wouldn’t be able to achieve alone. There is lifting, balancing, pulling, and grounding involved.
AcroYoga is divided into two types of practice: Lunar and Solar. Much like yin and yang, lunar and solar aspects balance the receptive, soft, therapeutic aspects of partner yoga with the active, focused, dynamic aspects. This balance makes AcroYoga fun, playful, challenging as well as a therapeutic and mutually-beneficial practice.
Because AcroYoga is a partner-based practice, there will also be a balance between the two individuals. There is typically a “flyer” and a “base.” You’ll learn how to take on both positions, but be mindful of your own physical restraints or health conditions in each position.
Find Your AcroYoga Community
If you are new to AcroYoga, it can be intimidating to join a local group. Rest assured – AcroYogis are known for their love of community and connection. That’s what AcroYoga is all about! You’ll be right at home. Search your local yoga studios or ask a teacher if they know of any AcroYoga practice groups. The AcroYoga International Organization provides online materials to help you learn about getting started in AcroYoga.
AcroYoga: What You Need to Know
Now that we have an understanding of the basics of AcroYoga, let’s dive into what you need to know before joining up with your new AcroYoga community!
Acroyoga Is More Than Just Yoga
We touched on this above but it’s worth repeating. AcroYoga is not just yoga with a partner. It’s not only balancing on someone’s feet or holding someone up on your back. It is a practice in trust. It is a therapy. It is yoga, massage, and acrobatics, all rolled into one incredible (sometimes addictive!) journey. The amazing thing about AcroYoga is that you get to experience all the best of these three activities. You’ll work with the focus, balance, and breathwork that yoga teaches. You will get to experiment with physical challenges and the playfulness of acrobatics. All the while, you’ll be engaging in a holistic healing system that encompasses love, trust, connection, and therapeutic touch. It is physical, yes, but there is so much more to it!
You Don’t Need A Yoga Buddy Or Partner To Start Acroyoga
It’s true! Even though you do need a partner to practice AcroYoga, you don’t have to come to class with a buddy. You can find a partner in your class or work in teams of three (which is often most common since flyers and bases will need a spotter). If you do have a friend who wants to join you in your AcroYoga endeavors, all the better! It’s great to have a friend to take on this new challnege with. However, make sure to stay open and practice with other people in the class. There is much to be learned from switching up partners and learning the nuances of working with different bodies, styles, and energies. Plus, this is a great way to get to know your class!
Acroyoga Is For Anyone
If you have the itch to try AcroYoga, that’s all you need to be part of the movement. Although some of the stunts seem challenging or reserved for expert acrobats, don’t let this intimidate you. There is space for everyone in AcroYoga as we all have our strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be challenged in AcroYoga no matter your physical background or experience with yoga. The important thing is to come to class with an open mind and heart.
Acroyoga Is For Every Size And Shape
Don’t let photos of trim and tiny yogis deter you from trying AcroYoga if your body doesn’t quite look the same. Yoga in general doesn’t discriminate; you can be any shape, any size, any age to start a yoga practice. AcroYoga is no different. What’s more, as part of an AcroYoga community, you will experience all forms of the practice. While it may seem that larger people are consistently bases and smaller individuals the flyers, that is not the case. You’ll learn to use gravity, form, and inner strength to address many different situations and postures in AcroYoga.
You’ll Practice Giving And Receiving
AcroYoga is unique in that often someone else is moving your body. You rely on the balance and focus of others, and learn to give in to letting go of all control. With AcroYoga, you learn not only how to support and stay present for others, but you learn to let go and allow yourself to be taken care of. In our control-hungry society, this can be a huge challenge! We are used to taking care of everything ourselves and are not often on the receiving end. But health requires balance, and there is no better place to learn the art of giving and receiving than AcroYoga.
You’ll Learn To Ask For What You Need Or Want
Typical yoga practice has everything to do with you and your own understanding of your body. You focus on your alignment, your breath, what feels strong, what feels strained. When you practice AcroYoga, however, you have a very important prop: another human. You’ll need to practice asking for what you need and want. Open verbal communication is key in AcroYoga and this practice will help you learn how to be more open in your daily life as well.
You Must Experience Both Aspects Of Acroyoga To Truly Practice This Form
AcroYoga is the ultimate practice of duality. There are two moving parts, you and your partner. There are also two complementary actions at all times: solar and lunar. To truly understand how to embody the solar aspects of AcroYoga, you have to experience being in the lunar phase as well. Only by experiencing both aspects can you effectively communicate and interact with your partner, and vice versa. Thankfully, AcroYoga provides many opportunities to experience both.
You Will Learn To Trust
Many people focus on the skill and tricky feats that AcroYogis pull off. The style looks exciting and art-like. But what isn’t always so visible on the outside is the crucial practice of trust that occurs in AcroYoga. You have to learn to trust your partner, trust your spotter, trust your instructor, and trust yourself.
Communication Is Key
This tip relates to our discussion of trust and opening up about needs and wants. But it is a crucial aspect of AcroYoga and deserves a little extra focus. AcroYoga is a beautiful practice, but it requires you to be fully open and honest during the process. Do not hold back when something diesn’t feel right, you’re lacking support, or something comes up that challenges you physically or mentally. The AcroYoga community is built upon the idea of open and compassionate communication.
Get Ready To Be A Part Of Something Bigger Than Yourself
The AcroYoga community has embodied the idea of “community” more than most typical yoga styles. This is inherently due to the fact that practicing AcroYoga requires working with others, but also because of the dedication to maintaining a safe, playful, connected space. Anytime we leave our comfort zone with others, we form a special bond. AcroYoga is the perfect example of this. In AcroYoga, we challenge the typical “form,” open ourselves to mutual healing, and chart unknown physical terrioty. That is something to share and celebrate!
Reach New Heights with AcroYoga
Does the thought of soaring atop your partner’s feet, practicing trust and communication, and learning a fun new skill still appeal to you? You’re ready to jump on the bandwagon and try out AcroYoga. This style is for anyone, and the AcroYoga community will only benefit from new people opening up to try this different style. You’ll find that AcroYoga not only helps to challenge your body, but your mind and heart as well. It’s time to let your inner child out – soar, topple, experiment!