Acro Yoga - Everything You Need To Know
We’ve all been there: scrolling through Instagram and then suddenly coming across a post of two people in the craziest pose you’ve ever seen. One person is lying on the ground with their legs straight up while the other person is balanced on the first person's feet and seemingly floating in mid-air. After you were done admiring their strength and poise, you probably found yourself wondering: how do people get into that position, and is it even yoga?
That was possibly your first introduction to Acro Yoga. It's a combination of yoga, acrobatics, and therapeutic healing that involves two people at a time. This is one of the more challenging and rewarding forms of partner yoga in which the two participants can work on building trust and intimacy. While this may seem like a form of yoga only ideal for couples, it’s also widely practiced between friends, family, and workout buddies as well.
Related: Partner Yoga Moves Anyone Can Do
How Acro Yoga Works
Practicing Acro Yoga incorporates two individuals working together. There are two primary positions: the “base” position and the “flyer” position. The base is the one resting on the ground while the flyer is supported by the base in the air. Both individuals are monitored by a spotter who checks their alignment and ensures the flyer's safety from falling.
As the base, you are typically lying flat and supporting the weight of the flyer, which requires the legs to be properly aligned, holding the ankles above the hips. Once the flyer is well-supported, he or she will perform multiple postures. When working in tandem, the two individuals can execute a number of combinations together. Alignment is particularly important here because if the base doesn't have his or her legs properly aligned, it's going to make everything else a lot more difficult to accomplish.
Why You Should Try Acro Yoga
This type of yoga might be intimidating to some. The combination of working with a partner and the physical component of supporting someone else's weight can seem like a task too daunting to try. Add in the potential for falling from an elevated height and it’s no wonder that this isn’t the “go-to” style for yoga newbies. But you need not shrink back from experiencing this form of yoga and in fact, there are plenty of reasons to give it a shot:
Our daily lives are already filled with constant distractions. Yoga is a time to step away from all of that and become present and centered. During an Acro Yoga course, it's even more important because your presence in the class is necessary for the safety of you and your partner. As a result, the laser focus on communicating with your partner trains your concentration skills and makes your time together more effective in reaching your collective goals.
Learning How To Be A Better Partner
In order for any relationship to be successful, you need to work at it. Taking an Acro Yoga class with your partner not only hones your concentration and communicative skills but also builds unity together and strengthens your bond. You can learn to become in sync with one another so as to know how the other thinks and responds without verbal cues.
When you and your partner work to form that type of bond, it makes so many other facets of the relationship much easier to navigate. Among them is the ability to deal with conflict. Poor conflict resolution skills can end a relationship, but with Acro Yoga, you can start to work at healthier conflict management. Maintaining the balance of the ongoing opposition of force between you and your partner is critical as you move from one posture to the next. This give and take will provide you both with the foundation for resolving conflict without anger or resentment and, instead, work with one another to find a solution.
Face Your Fear
Challenge yourself to do something that scares you. For some, that includes conquering the fear of heights and falling. When you are assuming the flyer position, you will find yourself lifting off the ground with only the support of your partner to assist you. You’ll learn to trust your partner to carry you in the air and return you safely back to the ground. Confidence is earned with repeated success as you and your partner execute a series of poses through concentration, control, and correct alignment. Only then can you face and finally overcome your fear.
Meditating With Acro Yoga
Like many other types of yoga, the meditation component of Acro Yoga plays a large role in helping you achieve the objectives in your practice. There are specific meditations to consider so you may contribute to every pose in equal measure alongside your partner.
Getting Started With Acro Yoga
Just a couple of things to keep in mind as you set out to begin your practice.
Being In The Base Position
This is the position that keeps the team grounded and secure. Without the base, the flyer goes nowhere. So as you ruminate on this role, start to envision yourself as that foundational component who provides support and security. Remain steadfast as you root down into the ground and be thankful for all that has brought you to this place, at this moment.
Being In The Flyer Position
Everything about the flyer position should encompass that feeling of freedom and lightweight release, and above all, the knowledge of having that support beneath your wings to help you fly. Meditate on the fact that your role in this equation is just as vital, fueled by the love and loyalty of your partner.
The Right Spotter
Do not overlook this very important part of the team. The spotter is there to keep you both safe and well-protected. Think of the spotter as your instructor - he or she is there not just to make sure you both don't fall over in mid-posture but to watch closely over your alignment and to move you through your poses. Your spotter is also there to monitor your communication, making sure it's clear, concise, and fluid.
Before you get started with any sort of physical activity, it's crucial that you first warm-up. The same is true, of course, with Acro Yoga. Anything that gets the body warmed up and limber is recommended. Try some stretches and a few Sun Salutations before your practice. Not only will it make you feel awake and alive and raring to go, but you reduce the risk of injury and keep your body in good health.
Looking to learn about more great types of yoga to try today? Check out the Yoga Society Blog!