Acroyoga (sometimes referred to as partner yoga) is a practice where 2 or more people perform poses together that are acrobatic and/or therapeutic. When I teach classes I begin with partner warmups and stretching before getting into things like L basing. In L basing, the base lies on their back with their legs perpendicular to the floor (shaped like an 'L'). The flyer balances on the feet of the base. A third person often serves as a spotter to ensure safety. I'll assess the ability of the class as it progresses and then tailor the poses accordingly.
5 Benefits to Practicing AcroYoga
1. Learn How to Inspire Trust
Allowing someone to balance their whole weight on your feet requires a certain amount of trust. By progressing slowly with a partner you practice building trust. Conversely this gives you the chance to demonstrate to someone else that they should trust you.
2. Improve Communication
When you are practicing with others in AcroYoga, it is crucial that you communicate clearly and succinctly what you are feeling to your partner. When I'm teaching a class I'm on the lookout for people who look like they are uncomfortable but their partner doesn't realize it. I encourage people to consistently ask their partner "How are you doing?" What's really beautiful is that over time if you work with the same partner regularly you become very much in tune with their body movement and facial expressions. You will then make small adjustments together without much verbal communication.
3. Build Community
You'll get to know other like-minded AcroYogis and join a community of people who are often very creative, health-oriented and supportive. If you don't have an active community near where you live, you can start your own! Whenever I travel to another country or city I make an effort to seek out the local AcroYoga community. Just do a search on AcroYoga and the city name. There are often Facebook groups, websites, and Meetup groups dedicated to different cities.
4. Experience Therapeutic Partner Poses
AcroYoga has a branch of practices referred to as the lunar or healing practices. These are therapeutic in nature and have some crossover with Thai Massage principles. One of the best feelings is to hang upside down in a Folded Leaf (pictured above) with an experienced base and feel the whole length of your spine get tractioned from gravity!
5. Have Fun
Practicing AcroYoga is fun. It will make feel younger, happier and healthier. And kids love it too!
Similar to yoga, there are a variety of schools that teach different styles of these practices. The style I've studied most is AcroYoga co-founded by Jason Nemer. When I teach I follow the principles I've learned from those teachers. AcroYoga.org is a great starting point for more information.
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