Acroyoga: Yoga With a Partner
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Were you into cheer in high school or college and miss the effortless way it kept you in shape? Perhaps your partnership has lost its spark, and you want to rebuild the connection. Either way, acroyoga may offer the ideal solution.
Acroyoga combines elements of traditional Hatha and vinyasa yoga with acrobatics. It’s also similar to cheer in that you perform poses using more than one person: a base, a flyer and a spotter.
Does this mind-body exercise program intrigue you? Here’s what you need to know about acroyoga — yoga with a partner.
What Is Acroyoga?
Acroyoga is a relatively new phenomenon. Like many forms of yoga, it originated overseas but came to the States thanks to Jenny Sauer-Kline and Jason Nemer, dancers and yogis.
Acroyoga combines elements of all of the following disciplines:
- Yoga: You’ll do variations of poses similar to those seen in traditional Hatha practices.
- Gymnastics: Some of the movements are quite acrobatic.
- Dance: There’s an element of playfulness and sensual body expression to acroyoga.
- Massage: Your partner will touch your body, putting pressure on various muscles and pressure points that release tension.
- Cheer: Acroyoga is fun, and you’ll use many safety techniques cheerleaders use to execute the moves without harm.
Even within acroyoga, there are divisions that help you select the right class for your interests and ability levels. Acroyoga has two sides, the sun and moon or lunar and solar:
- Lunar: Lunar classes are softer and more therapeutic. One partner acts as the base, while the flyer is more of a receiver, passively accepting the posturing of the other.
- Solar: This form is more energetic, allowing both partners to do some seriously cool moves.
What Is a Typical Acroyoga Class Like?
It’s okay to feel nervous attending your first acroyoga class. One of the first questions many people ask is, “Do I need to bring a partner?” Fortunately, the answer is no. Most studios will pair unmated practitioners with someone and have a spare guide on deck to assist as a spotter in the case of odd numbers.
Some guides prefer that you work with multiple partners. Why? It helps foster a sense of community while teaching you new things — every practitioner makes minor adjustments.
Unlike many yoga classes, you won’t take the first few minutes to set a private intention, although you can certainly do so if you like. Instead, you’ll start with a sharing circle to help you build a connection with the community.
From there, you’ll move through a warmup that includes traditional moves like sun salutation before partnering up to begin the acrobatic section. You’ll have plenty of time to practice and take water breaks.
Can You Practice Acroyoga Solo?
The answer to whether you can practice acroyoga solo is yes — and no. You can certainly perform the warmup section. However, to master the partner poses, you need another person. Furthermore, it’s critical to have a third to serve as a spotter, who assists you in entering and exiting poses safely and preventing falls and injury.
Your best bet is to search an online acroyoga directory to find centers near you that hold regular practices. You’ll get to meet other people with a similar passion for health and fitness and form friendships that can last a lifetime.
Tips for Starting Your Acroyoga Practice
Even though acroyoga is a partnership activity, there are tips to help you prepare. Here’s what you can do to get ready for your first class.
1. Get in Shape
You don’t have to be the world’s greatest athlete to have a blast practicing acroyoga. That said, the stronger and more flexible you are, the greater skill you’ll have at mastering various poses. If you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle, it pays to do some walking and mild calisthenics at home for a few weeks before your first session to feel like you’re giving your all to your partner.
2. Cultivate the Right Mental Attitude
Acroyoga is supposed to be fun for all participants, and a negative attitude can ruin the spirit of the class. Check your expectations at the door — does it really matter if you are the flyer or the base? The spotter? Keep an open mind and learn to breathe and smile through frustration as you fall out of poses. You’ll cultivate these skills in session, but it’s best to walk in with an open mind and an attitude that you are there to have the time of your life.
3. Outfit Yourself
Close contact with other human bodies is beautiful, but varied cultural mores and experiences have created various comfort levels with different levels of undress. Look for clothes that fit you snugly to avoid getting entangled in the poses. However, pass on items that might make you or other participants uncomfortable. A pair of leggings and a well-fitting sports bra are appropriate.
Acroyoga — Yoga With a Partner
Are you ready to try something new in your yoga practice? Acroyoga combines elements of dance and acrobatics to take your routine to new heights. It can even help you bond with the one you love.
Try acroyoga with a partner and a friend or join a community today. You’ll meet new people and foster a sense of togetherness, all while taking your fitness to new heights.