Acro Yoga is a fun, safe, and aesthetically stunning practice which combines acrobatics with yoga. It involves two people working together to perform yoga-influenced moves. It is a very playful and lighthearted practice. The person doing the “lifting” is called the base, and the person being “lifted” is called the flier. The practice resolves around trust between the two people. Once walls are broken down and the two people have some basic skills and knowledge of the practice, these top tips will help to take you further:
IG: @MissyKaiYoga Photographer: Cal Bingham
1. Take things slow
What you see on Instagram and other social media websites is not necessarily going to reflect where you are at in your practice. There are many online resources available, but the best place to begin a practice is in an introductory-level group class, or in a private lesson with an experienced instructor. Some of the poses can require quite a bit of strength and flexibility, so be sure to practice accurate self-assessment and ensure that the entire experience is pain-free and comfortable for both the base and the flier!
2. Think “slow and subtle”
When practicing acro yoga, it is important to move slowly. Small and subtle adjustments can often yield powerful results. Paying attention to details like the points of connection between the flier and the base, the foot placement, and even the emotional well-being of your partner can unlock new possibilities and openings in your practice!
Photographer: Cal Bingham
3. Communication and patience
When people work together in acro yoga, they are oftentimes going to be in each other’s personal “bubbles.” Acro yoga requires a lot of communication and patience to work through some of the challenges that arise in the practice. These are meant to be taken as opportunities to practice good communication skills, and patience in holding space for the person that you’re working with to learn along with them! This can be particularly beneficial for couples and building healthy relationships.
4. Be aware of the different types of acro yoga
Begin with intention: there are different types of acro yoga, just like there are different types of martial arts and dance. Be sure to research the different kinds – Icarian/Risley, L-basing, standing, dance acro, improvisation – whatever your niche is, be sure to seek out a teacher who will match your desired style!
Photographer: Cal Bingham
5. Progressions are key
Really difficult tricks can be made much more accessible by having a knowledgeable instructor break things down into progressions. By working skill sets that will help you move toward your larger goal or the final pose, you make tricks that are seemingly impossible much more achievable in far less time! Set yourself up for success by not trying to go 150% on everything, but gradually working up toward the final skill. The idea is to achieve true mastery, not just do a pose for a picture!
6. Have an exit strategy
Always important in an acro yoga practice is safety. As a teacher I highly encourage people to use spotters, or otherwise avoid doing maneuvers that people don’t feel 100% safe in. Spotting is a very important skill that all acro yoga practitioners should seek to develop, just as they would their basing or flying techniques.
Author Biography: Missy Kai Hoffman is the founder of Missy Kai Yoga, a service company which provides unique yoga, yoga therapy, and acro yoga instruction. Missy happily bases her practice out of sunny Santa Monica, where acrobatics have been practiced every Sunday since the 1930s. She is highly influenced by the Los Angeles acro yoga community and loves teaching and sharing her practice with others. For questions about acro yoga, or to connect with Missy, please check out her website at www.missykaiyoga.com or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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