Updated: Jul 19, 2022
Have you ever heard yourself saying that yoga is only for flexible people? With this mindset, just hearing the word “Acroyoga” may seem even more intimidating. But the truth is that you don’t need to be either flexible nor extremely fit to get started with Acroyoga. Anyone can practise Acroyoga — and if you’re a beginner it can be a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being at the same time getting the chance to make new friends and be part of a larger community of likeminded people.
Acroyoga, as the name implies, is a movement practice that blends the wisdom and practice of yoga with the playful power of acrobatics. Acrobatics is a style of gymnastics intended to build strength and flexibility as well as trust and teamwork between partners. In fact, partner work is one of the core foundations of Acroyoga, allowing you to work on your teambuilding skills and creating an authentic connection between you and other people in the practice space. Another integral part of Acroyoga is Thai massage, which is typically performed at the end of a session.
What to expect from a session of Acroyoga
A typical Acroyoga session starts with an opening ceremony to establish a connection with yourself and the other practitioners before beginning with the physical practice. Together, you move in a yoga flow and work on different breathing techniques. Then you move on to the acrobatic practice starting with a warm-up. After that it’s all about establishing a safe and solid base, lifting each other and working on the alignment and proper technique needed to practice more safely and fluidly.
Some common beginner-oriented AcroYoga poses include Front Plank, Bow Pose and Plank-on-Plank. Each of these are examples of foundational poses that you will learn once you start practising AcroYoga. They may seem difficult at first, but once you start practising you will realize that in Acroyoga, safety is always the number one priority. In class, you will learn how to progress your
The sacred Triad — The Base, the Flyer and the Spotter
In an Acroyoga session, you perform the poses in groups of three. Think of it as a mini-community of three people! The roles of the group members are Base, Flyer and Spotter. The Base is the person with the most contact with the ground, often laying on the back and using the arms and legs to give the Flyer maximum stability and support. The point of contact with the Flyer are the feet and hands, which is called L-basing. There is also the style called Standing, in which the Base stands up and relies on the hands and shoulders to support the Flyer.
The second yogi is the Flyer. As the name suggests, the Flyer “flies” above the ground with the support of the Base. The Flyer flows between a series of dynamic positions in the air. Being a Flyer requires core strength, balance and belief in oneself.
The third member is the Spotter. The Spotter stands beside the other two, making sure that the Flyer lands safely. Being the one with a more objective point of view, the Spotter also gives the Flyer tips on how to improve technique or form.
Finally, the session ends with a Thai massage with the purpose of establishing a balance of energy and expressing gratitude for the partnership that you and your partners have built during the practice.
Benefits of Acroyoga
Stay healthy in body and mind.
Acroyoga improves balance, mobility and strength in your entire body. It's a functional-based practice that is kind to your body at the same time as it builds fitness. But not only that — Acroyoga also enhances your mental health, allowing you to gain a new perspective on your physical ability whilst also calming down and balancing the mind.
Awaken your inner child.
As adults, we tend to forget how to play. We see play as a childrens’ activity — and perhaps we’re ashamed of truly letting go, worrying about what others might think of us. One of the major benefits of Acroyoga is that it allows you to awaken your inner child in a space where no one will judge you. You’re all there to play around with physical poses, experiment and have fun as a team.
Build deeper trust with other people.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of Acroyoga is that, since you’re working out in teams, it helps to build trust and connection with other people. Safety being the number one priority in Acroyoga, clear and open communication between you and your partners is key.
In turn, clear communication in a session of Acroyoga will help you improve your teambuilding and trust skills in all areas of life — whether it’s with a new partner in the yoga studio or your loved ones back at home.
“One of the first times I tried Acroyoga, people were just playing and helping each other learn. Everyone was so inviting, kind and fun. It was a beautiful community and that’s kind of the vibe of the whole sport — being open and trying new things to get strong while having a good time.”
— Holly Beale
Advice for the beginner Acroyogi
Start with easier poses and make sure that you and your partner can perform these safely before you move on to the more advanced poses. Maintain good and open communication with your partner and be honest when something doesn’t feel right.
Incorporate strength work into your training routine.
If you decide that Acroyoga is your thing, it’s a good idea to get started with a regular strength training program to improve your strength. Areas to focus on are the shoulders (such as push-ups and handstands) but also core stability and strength. Having a strong body will allow you to practice Acroyoga more safely and, most importantly, have more fun!
Relax and let go.
It can be challenging to relax when working out together with someone else — especially if you don’t know the other person. But in Acroyoga, we are all in the same boat. There’s no need to worry about what you look like — have fun and play with it. Be yourself. Awaken your inner child!
Be part of a community!
No matter your current level or experience of yoga, Acroyoga is for you. Since this type of yoga is so playful, it’s a great place to start if you’re a beginner at yoga and interested in trying something new. In the yoga studio, there is zero pressure to perform and nobody will judge you or your current skills. In Acroyoga, you can be yourself.
An added bonus is that you get to know new people, build deeper relationships and be part of a larger community of like-minded people. Win-win!
So whether you are searching for a new challenge in life, you want to get fit and healthy or simply get to know some new people in town, an Acroyoga session is the place to start.
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