A new option to up your fitness game: Acroyoga

FLY ME TO THE POSE. Meet Acroyoga: A rapidly growing fitness regimen combining the challenges (and benefits) of yoga and acrobatics

Acroyoga, short for acrobatic yoga, is a form of practice that combines the dynamic power of acrobatics and the serenity of yoga. This combination forms the foundations of a fitness method that also cultivates trust by connecting you with others while at the same time boosting strength, body awareness and playfulness.

The biggest difference between acroyoga and more conventional forms of yoga is that the latter is prety much a solo activity (although it can be practiced in groups), whereas acroyoga is an activity that directly involves two or three person. Even though many people might think that they need to be at a certain level of fitness before trying out acroyoga or are worried about the partner work aspect of it, these issues should not stop anyone from trying it out. Acroyoga can offer something for everyone, regardless of age or overall fitness level.

In short, acroyoga is not about pulling off certain poses or utilizing certain skills. It is, first and foremost, about connecting with your partner. At the same time it helps you build strength throughout your whole body, while challenging your balance and training you to use proper breathing. From the part where you have to work with a partner you can improve your coordination and flexibility—not to mention communication skills.

Above all else, the key to acroyoga is moving slowly and always communicating with your partner. In other words, if something doesn’t feel quite right, say something. When you’re about to do a dismount or anything else, say something.

The Positions
In acroyoga, every pose should involve at least three people: A base, flyer and spotter. Each have their own roles in ensuring a productive and safe acroyoga session.

The flyer, as the name suggests, occupies an elevated position. He or she is on top, doing all the balancing exercises while moving dynamically through the various yoga poses. Naturally, the flyer needs to have confidence while performing some of the more challenging poses in the air in order to succeed.

The base, is more connected to the ground and is the person on the bottom who is responsible supporting the flyer. The base often lays back with his entire torso in contact with the ground. This creates bone-stacking, which allows the utmost support for the flyer. The usual points of contact between the base and flyer are feet, hips and hands. One thing that needs to be emphasized is that while being very strong can help when being a base, in the end it’s more about technique than brute force.

The spotter plays the role of caretaker. It is their job to help guide both the flyer and the base into landing more advanced positions or to help guide and catch the flyer if they lose balance. It’s the spotter’s job to talk the others through the different movements and to make recommendations for alterations if they see a way to improve form.

Once again, communication between all three is of the utmost importance, and understanding how to communicate effectively during practice is critical. Naturally, there are quite a few common signals that can be used to quickly indicate that something needs to be done. For example, if during a movement or sequence the flyer is on the verge of falling or if the pose feels painful, either the base, flyer or spotter can say “down,” and all three would quickly move together to bring the flyer safely to the ground. On that note, it is also vital to rotate the roles so that everyone can try basing, flying and spotting.

The Aftermath
All in all, acroyoga is an excellent way to shake things up a bit in your fitness routine. And while it’s still not exactly mainstream, looking for places that offer acroyoga classes or private sessions isn’t all that hard, especially in major cities. Finally, and most importantly, getting up and spinning through the air while doing meditative yoga poses can be quite fun, actually.

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