Yesterday I had a blast exploring the daredevil playfulness and therapeutic world of AcroYoga. The 2nd Annual AcroYoga Festival drew hundreds of acrobats, yogi’s and Thai bodyworkers, professionals and novices alike, for four days of immersion workshops. I could only break away from the city on Sunday, but made the most of my time flying, flipping, and contorting to my hearts content.
What is AcroYoga? A glorious fusion of partner yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage. These three ancient lineages form a practice that cultivates trust, connection and playfulness. There are 7 main elements that make up the practice: circle ceremony, asana, partner flow, Thai massage, therapeutic flying, inversions & spotting, and partner acrobatics. The highest aim is to bring individuals into a state of union with themselves, with each other, and with the divine.
Until yesterday I had only “flown” a handful of times at various yoga festivals. I was introduced to “divine play” at The Yoga Journal Conference a few years ago and had a more recent taste at the Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival.
As a ballet and jazz dancer growing up partnering and lifts were common place. Girls were always the “flyer” or lifted by the men. Modern dance and contact improv shook my world in college where everyone was lifting, tossing and pushing bodies. No gender rules applied and testing physics was our forte. So though I’ve never taken a class I jumped into the festival acro workshops amped to try all that I could physically manage.
My partner snagged this video of us performing one of the acro sequences from the “Washing Machine” workshop. These choreographed sequences continually flow and cycle, though I dismounted and finished it for the camera.
The morning session was more physical where people where launching in and out of transitions, hand and shoulder stands, while stacking poses and people in layers. On one attempt I landed funny and cracked my neck a bit. Maybe that’s when my rib jammed? Thanks to pilates, my core supported me in several precarious transitions and deep backbends.
After dangling around for several hours and contorting my back to pieces I loved the afternoon therapuetic workshops where we were lead through several Thai massage techniques. I can’t wait to practice on my clients, friends and family!
Eager to try? Here’s a fun and easy acro pose you can try today with a partner.
How To: Just like when you used to fly on your Dad’s feet as a kid, have your partner lay on their back and place their feet in the creases of your hips in a small v. Hold their hands and lean your body weight forward until legs lift off. Allow your torso to fall forward and hold a long straight back. The base will pull your arms over their head for a deep shoulder stretch. Hold abs tight to prevent too much sway in the low back. Relax your hips and allow the traction to happen. Hang there for a bit and then swap positions.
Doesn’t that hip and spine traction feel amazing?!
I’m ridiculously sore today, but completely addicted now. A lil sore rib won’t keep me away. AcroYoga is just one more reason to love moving and community!
Have you tried Acroyoga?