Five Reasons You Should Do AcroYoga

Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga > Yoga > Five Reasons You Should Do AcroYoga

In preparation for the new Friday night AcroYoga (Montreal-style) class at Pilgrimage North Park, here are a few insights as to what makes AcroYoga a safe and playful practice accessible to all.

1. Skillful Spotting for Safe Flight

281379_2288675094459_1176392856_2731681_4751187_nWhile AcroYoga seems like a two person practice – flyer on top, base on bottom – it’s actually a three person dance. Anytime we train a new acrobatic skill or work a style of body balancing that has the potential for falling, we first learn how to spot any potential fall. Spotting is an artform, and good technique makes all the difference. Spotters are at the heart of Acro’s playfulness. When there is an attentive and skillful spotter involved, the fear element is lessened and practitioners are able to let go and fly free.

2. It’s All Bone Stacking

A common misconception about AcroYoga is the strength required to hold someone in the air. Physics will always be a factor, but with good mechanics, I’ve seen a 105-pound female base hold a 215-pound male flyer with ease. To do so, you have to learn to get out of your muscles and into your bones. Bones are solid, they won’t bend. Just as your forearm bones allow you to hold Crow Pose with ease, Acro becomes significantly less challenging when you learn to find a straight line (90-degree angles from the torso) in your arms and legs with bone stacked on bone grounded firmly in the hip and shoulder joints.

3. No Experience or Partner Required

969258_10151427303061434_1555558684_nIn the past six months we’ve held two AcroYoga workshops at Pilgrimage. In the first, approximately 24 out of 30 participants had little to no Acro experience and similarly in the second approximately 13 out of 20 participants had little to no Acro experience. You don’t have to know what you’re doing to come to class. Just as with yoga, it’s much safer to have your first few experiences with Acro in a class setting with a knowledgeable instructor. Acro is still a niche practice, as such many of the students in attendance will be on a similar beginner skill level.

And of those two workshops, at least half of the practitioners in each came without a partner. As you progress in Acro to try more challenging material, a regular partner is wonderful to have. But when you’re first experiencing Acro, it can be beneficial to fly and base with a variety of people to fully understand the nuances practice. If you do attend class with a partner, you’ll certainly be welcome to work with them, but if you come solo, groups of three (base, flyer, spotter) are often made based around similarity in size. So you can relieve any fears about being stuck trying to hold up someone twice your size.

4. Yoga Made Social

252138_2284023858181_1176392856_2726765_3286797_nAcro takes the practice and skill you develop from your time on the yoga mat and adds a social element. Unlike the focus-oriented silence you experience in your personal yoga practice, Acro thrives on good communication among practitioners. You can’t do Acro by yourself. When you fly on someone’s feet, or you fall out of a pose safely into the waiting arms of your spotter, or you hold someone in the air on your feet, it all melds to creates a sense of trust and mutual appreciation. In this way, Acro creates connectedness and community.

5. Fitness Made Fun

AcroYoga can be described as “adults playing like children” or “Cirque de Soleil for the everyday person,” because above all, it’s fun and exciting. The looks of wonderment from a first time flyer are priceless. It truly brings out the inner child. There might not be any other fitness practice (beyond laughter yoga) where you’ll laugh and smile as much, while still getting a great workout that balances both strength and flexibility. When you do Acro, it isn’t referred to as “practicing” it’s referred to as “playing.”

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