Yoga in the Air
By May Zhee Lim, Markets Media Life Correspondent
AcroYoga is a form of exercise that combines acrobatics and yoga, hence its name. It has also garnered a worldwide following. To some of us – even a yoga follower like yours truly – the term is relatively unfamiliar, and so I did a little research into what AcroYoga actually involves and what people get out of it. Here’s what I found:
- AcroYoga is different from normal yoga in that it is a partner-based activity. There is the “base” partner, who is closer to the ground and acts as support for the “flyer” partner, who is the person being lifted off the ground and moves through a series of postures. Another way to think about it is that the base is the mover while the flyer is one who is being moved. There is usually also a third person, the spotter, who has knowledge of both roles and observes or makes recommendations on the poses.
- There is a massage component to AcroYoga, which is one of the reasons why it’s considered a therapeutic practice! When suspended in one of the aerial poses, the base will use their legs to massage the flyer’s upper body, letting gravity do its job. The flyer will repay the base with a massage as well, an act of gratitude when he or she is brought down from the pose.
- Size doesn’t matter. Certified AcroYoga instructor Daniel Scott writes, “You may think big people do the lifting, and tiny people do the flying. This is not the case. AcroYoga doesn’t defy gravity, it honors it.
Technique is more important than strength. You’ll quickly learn that muscles tire while bones don’t—whether lifting someone above your head, pouring weight through hands for a healing touch, or counterbalancing someone twice your size.”
- No experience or partner necessary. The great thing about yoga is that you are constantly learning new things about your body, and AcroYoga is no different! There will be experienced instructors to guide you through the basic steps with emphasis on safety and stability.
Since AcroYoga is still a niche in the fitness world, you can bet there will be more than a few first timers in your class. Instructors will sort students into groups of two or three based on similarity in size, so you don’t have to worry about showing up solo!
- AcroYoga Jam is a playground for adults. Communities of AcroYogis often pick a place where they can meet up and practice together. These gatherings, known as AcroYoga Jams, become a space for AcroYogis to share what they’ve learned with each other in an informal setting, and also to cultivate the sense of connection and community inherent in AcroYoga. These jams can also evolve into larger events, such as the Divine Play Festival held annually in Portland, Oregon.
Featured image via Wari Om Yoga Photography
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