AcroWhat? AcroYoga Unravelled
There are two distinct parts to the AcroYoga practice, the acrobatic side and the therapeutic side. The acrobatics start very basic and we spend a lot of time working on the connection between the person basing (lying down) and the person flying (who is moving into poses on top of the other persons legs and arms) from here we can progress to standing acrobatics but this is for intermediate classes who have a strong understanding of how to keep one another safe. In AcroYoga we constantly work with a spotter, someone whose job is to keep the base and flyer safe – it's an extremely important roll and one that really serves to improve the communication, teamwork and trust within the groups.
The therapeutic side of the practice follows on quite naturally from the beginner acrobatic flights, initially working with basic Thai massage so the flyer can stretch the person who was basing and vice versa. It moves onto fairly technical therapeutic flights (again with one person basing and another flying) and then more advanced Thai massage as people get comfortable with touch and being touched.
Both the acrobatic and therapeutic practices have their own suggested vinyasa Yoga sequences that aim to train and prepare the body for basing and flying. Generally speaking Yogis who have good experience with inversions transfer very quickly to the acrobatic side of the practice, while those who have more experience with the healing arts transfer quickly to the therapeutic side. However from my experience the side of AcroYoga we are less comfortable with is often the one which can help bring more balance to our lives.
One of the reasons I fell in love with AcroYoga is because of the impact it had on my life and it’s putting it mildly to say when I was first introduced to the practice I was super uncomfortable. The idea of looking someone in the eyes, breathing with them, holding hands, learning to move with them in unison, it was all completely unnatural to an Englishman who grew up shying away from both physical touch and his emotional feelings. I had issues trusting others, issues relinquishing control, issues with trusting myself! But I knew very early on that I’d found something that could really change the way I lived my life – it’s easy to say in Yoga classes that we’re all connected, all looking to pull in the same direction, working to interact with compassion, happiness and joy – but AcroYoga actually forced me to put some of this talking into physical practice.