Acro Yoga is a mix of partner acrobatics, Thai massage, and yoga. Essentially, it builds a practice of the understanding of trust. Trust within the body, trust within the community, and trust in the fact that it’s a lot of fun to do these amazing things you never thought you would be able to do. Every session begins with a person standing in a circle, letting go and falling down and people around are catching him. This is how you learn to trust others – even total strangers.
It brings in the playful, powerful and tech- nical influences of acrobatics, so there is lots of lifting your partner, and the healing qualities of the massage. The philosophy of yoga embedded in it takes it beyond just a physical practice. A typical session starts with connecting with yourself, and then with other bodies, through partner yoga or group work. Then you go through the acrobatic techniques – learning to lift each other and be lifted, and the alignment you need to do this safely and more easily. You work in threes (at least) so there is a person who is the base – the lifter, a flyer and a spotter to make sure everything is safe and to help out.
There are two types of practice: Lunar – this is the softer, therapeutic style bringing in more of the Thai massage and healing practices. There is a receiver and a giver. The base, the giver, supports the weight of the receiver – moving them around (to stretch and twist) and massaging them. The receiver is very passive in this practice. It is their job to hand over control and relax. Often, in the beginning, it’s easier to start with the lunar prac- tice. Solar – here the focus is more acrobatic and empowering – both people are active – it’s more dynamic and this is where you get to do cool tricks. You don’t need to be a master gymnast, circus acrobat, or seasoned yogi to enjoy. AcroYoga is a practice of substance, not flash. Also – size doesn’t matter! You may think big people do the lifting, and tiny peo- ple do the flying. This is not the case. Acro Yoga doesn’t defy gravity, it honors it. The technique is more important than strength. You will 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.
So don’t be held back by fear! Gather some friends and try it out! It is fun and also therapeutic!■