Have you ever wanted to try AcroYoga? It probably peaks your interest every time you see it, but you’re not sure how to get into these poses without falling. Today, you will not only learn all about AcroYoga’s beginnings, but also how to achieve some basic poses, that will get you flying high in no time very safely.
Krishnamacharya in 1938 with a young student doing backbends and contortion on his feet. But long before this people have been doing acrobatics and practicing stretching together.
The word acro means highest in Greek and yoga means union, thus AcroYoga is the highest union. The practice of yoga and acrobatics have developed to what we practice now which is a blend of yoga, therapeutics, and acrobatics.
In 1982 Ken Scott Nateshvar created Contact Yoga which focused mainly on partner stretching and some “flying poses”. From there we jump over to Canada where AcroYoga Montreal was founded by Eugene Poku and Jessie Goldberg who have a distinct style blending yoga, dance, performance, and acrobatics.
Finally, in 2004 Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer created AcroYoga International which is the practice that has spread worldwide. Knowing the roots of the practice is important because it connects us to real people who with their inspiration and talent created a worldwide movement.
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There are certain roles in AcroYoga that are important to know because they play an important role in safety and in communication. When you have defined roles you also provide clarity in who’s responsible for what as you practice all AcroYoga poses and sequences.
The foundation and leader of the bunch! The base is the person who is either laying down in L-Basing or is the bottom in a standing pose. They provide stability, strength and will generally lead the flow (unless the flyer or spotter are more experienced).
Usually the more dynamic of the bunch. The mantra is “tight and light”. Usually it’s the smaller person, but not always. As long as a base is steady and stable, the qualities of bone stacking can support a larger flyer. The flyer’s job is to trust and listen while moving through the poses with ease and control.
Safety and communication are the spotter’s role and this pose is probably the most important in the beginning. Spotters can help communicate when something is not clear, they will align the base if needed and can support the flyer in transitions. The spotter always makes sure safety is top of mind and they must be vigilant at all times.
As I mentioned above, whoever has the most experience will usually be the leader of the pose or flow imparting good knowledge, but once everyone is on the same page, these roles are pretty important to maintain.
Communication and trust are the most important aspects of AcroYoga as it’s a community effort and is rooted through positive and empowering communications. These qualities are the key to building teamwork that can last and translate into other parts of your life.
To come down, hold hands again and lower the feet to the floor.
Expert Tip: When practicing this pose remember to keep your arms straight and spotters stand facing your flyer’s back. This goes for both the base and the flyer!
As when practicing anything, check in with yourself and in this case with each other so that fun and safety go hand in hand. Check your surroundings and if you can, try practicing on grass or with a few yoga mats in the beginning. Listen to each other and communicate constantly to get the best experience possible.