Featured Fitness of the Month: AcroYoga

Remember trying “airplane” or “superman” as a kid, where you flew/balanced yourself on your friends’ feet propped up while they laid down on the ground? Yup! That is an AcroYoga move. See, you have probably done AcroYoga and were not even aware of it!

AcroYoga is a physical practice which combines yoga and acrobatics.

AcroYoga involves two or more partners assisting each other through various postures and positions. One partner acts as the “base” to support the other, known as the “flyer.” (These are also verbs — basing and flying.) In addition to the strength needed to hold the poses, AcroYoga’s main challenge is balance, for both the base and the flyer. Like many other aerial sports, there can also be an element of dance to an AcroYoga routine.

The first time I tried AcroYoga, I was terrified. “You want me to do that?! You want me to trust that she won’t DROP ME?!”

As always, many questions ran through my head. But I quickly saw the room was filled with excellent students and teachers who knew what they were doing. It was a safe space, and a space full of trust. With a few spotters, I tried a few things. Guess what thought came to my mind: “WHEN can I do this AGAIN?!”

One of our fellow bloggers, Lisa Curry, also does AcroYoga. “I love AcroYoga because it’s a fun physical activity, but also a challenge. It’s playful, and you work with a friend or partner to create beautiful movements and poses, requiring strength and balance. Each time we learn a new pose or sequence, we feel so proud and accomplished. I love the teamwork, which I don’t get much of as an adult.”

With my journey through AcroYoga, I met Matt Schnuth and Kristin Osborn, a wonderful duo who learn and practice at World Peace Yoga in Cincinnati, OH. Below is one of their live performances, which gives you an idea of what AcroYoga looks like in action.

From his first experience, Matt was hooked. “It was such a unique experience, and it was so cool to push the boundaries of what I thought was possible in even just one intro class.” AcroYoga has becoming addicting for the two. “I love that there just seems to be an unending set of ways for two bodies to move together.”

AcroYoga teaches you excellent verbal and nonverbal communication skills, as well as trust. It can feel so much like play that sometimes you can forget it is exercise. (And isn’t that the best kind of workout?)

Just like any exercise, it can be frustrating. For Lisa, the main frustration is how little she gets to do it. Since it is a partner activity, it takes some coordination to make a jam session happen.

Matt finds it’s sometimes difficult to be the flyer due to how tall he is. When it comes to AcroYoga, it is lovely (though not strictly necessary) to find a partner who is similar to your size.

Want to try AcroYoga yourself?

Some great resources include acroyoga.com OR acropedia.org.

Lisa’s advice for newbies: “Don’t be afraid to try it! Go for it, believe in yourself, and let the other acro-yogis support you. That’s what it’s all about, and you may surprise yourself!”

Matt encourages you to learn the fundamentals and basics, and practice AcroYoga safely. This is not a sport you do alone or try at home for the first time – spotters are a MUST, and crash mats are also a good idea to prevent injury.

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