Acroyoga is a combination of yoga and acrobatics. Yoga is a big part of many people’s lives, but acrobatics tends to be left to the professionals. When you think of acrobatics, your mind usually wonders to the circus where people are flying aimlessly through the air. These are acrobats, but there are acrobats that are not part of circus and usually hang out at parks or yoga studios. Acroyoga intertwines traditional yoga with the energetic nature of acrobatics to create a fun and inventive way to exercise.
There are three roles in Acroyoga: the base, the flyer, and the spotter.
The base is the foundation. They stay in complete contact with the ground throughout the entire practice. The base typically lies flat on their back to create a sturdy foundation. Their job is to keep the flyer stable and supported off the ground. The base usually contacts the flyer with their feet and hands. The feet generally touch the flyers hips, groins, and lower abdomen while the hands are used as handholds or grasps the flyers ankles and shoulders. The flyer is held off the ground by the base.
The flyer must have a strong core and balance to be able to perform poses. The flyer moves through a series of poses while the base assists in keeping them off the ground. The spotter is responsible for keeping the base and flyer safe. They critique poses to improve form and insure safety. They also are there to make sure that the flyer lands safely in each pose and even will help catch them if they begin to fall.
The spotter may not be a physical part of the poses, but they are crucial to bring safety into the practice.
There are several elements involved in Acroyoga, such as: static poses, acrobatic flying, pops, and sometimes even massage.
Static poses: During these poses the flyer rests in a still position. There is no movement in these poses but the flyer and base must show strength and balance to hold their form. This is where the true test of strength lies during an Acroyoga session.
Acrobatic flying: This is how the flyer transitions from one static pose to the next. Traditionally, the flyer will start and finish in the same pose. This is known as a “washing machine”.
Pops: These are small jumps that help the flyer transitions. The flyer momentarily flies through the air while keeping contact with the bases hands. Some more advanced Acroyogis perform pops with no contact with the base.
Massage: Some Acroyogis incorporate massage into their practice. This is where the base will hold the flyer in a position so that the bases hands are free. This allows them to massage the flyers body. This brings a new level of relaxation to the practice and bonds the base and flyer closer together.
Acroyoga is not only a blast, but it also packs in a whole bunch of benefits. Yoga is typically a solo act, but because Acroyoga requires a partner it helps to build team work and trust. Along with creating a stronger bond, the flyer and base both develop their strength and flexibility. Acroyoga also improves the flyer, bases, and spotter’s concentration because they have to pay more attention to their poses in order to achieve a safe practice. This kind of yoga might not be for everyone but it is for those that want to bring teamwork and acrobatics into their yoga practice. If it interests you, go for it!