Total Gym AcroYoga Fitness Challenge:
Part 1: Learning to Play
One can learn a lot when you turn your life upside down…literally!
By learning to flip, fly, roll, and balance you can experience how it’s completely possible to feel like you’re in the circus without having to leave home!
Perhaps you have heard of AcroYoga or even seen epic photos or videos of people posing, balancing and ‘breakdancing’ effortlessly on each other’s feet, hands or other body parts. You may say “Wow! So amazingly beautiful! I could never do that…”, but reality is, you most certainly can! I once thought the same thing, but after spending time learning and practicing with a positive outlook, it’s become my passion to fulfill my “cirque” dreams!
What is AcroYoga…
By definition, “AcroYoga blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts. These three lineages form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, playfulness, and community.” (AcroYoga.org) It is a practice split into two parts, Acrobatic (Solar) and Therapeutic (Lunar), which is explored between the relationship of a ‘mover’ and those ‘being moved’.
AcroYoga is an ever-evolving discipline. It is a dynamic offering that is both simple and complex. It’s developed through a combination of movement styles: yoga, healing arts (Thai massage), dance, and acrobatics. These skills are blended together through whole-body strength, flexibility, balance, counter balancing, coordination, gymnastics and circus arts.
It’s a practiced skill that is learned over time to create a flow of moving yoga poses, stretches, and beauty of positions with a partner or group of people. AcroYoga is a shared community of free spirited people connecting through movement. communication, and trust.
Benefits of AcroYoga…
- Healing Touch / Thai massage
- Wisdom of yoga
- Dynamic power of acrobatics
- Sense of community
- Trust development
- IT’S SUPER FUN!
The Basic Beauty of AcroYoga…
1. AcroYoga is for everybody!
You don’t need to be a circus performer, a gymnast, or a super flexible yogi to enjoy the practice. Acro teaches one the necessary building blocks to learn simple physical skills and be able to utilize them to perform complex skills such as handstands! The sky’s the limit with what you can achieve.
2. Partner based practice…
There’s much knowledge to be learned by working with different body types, sizes, skills, and personalities. It’s a great way to be open to the possibilities of what you can accomplish through work of a partner.
3. Flying, Basing, & Spotting…
Flyer- the person who is in the air doing all the strength and balance movements. Basing- the person on the bottom who is responsible for keeping the flyer supported and balanced. Spotter- the person who guides/ catches and provides safety if the flyer loses balance. Spotters have knowledge of where to spot the skills correctly. Flying Solo- If you decide to attend an Acro “Jam” or a class in your area solo, just show and someone also attending will usually be willing to soar with you! As long as you have no fear of being touched by strangers, it’s easy to get started.
4. Are you a Base or a Flyer?
Learning which position you are more comfortable with comes with experiencing and practicing both parts. Typically, it’s easier for the base if they are larger and stronger than the flyer. Or, you may work best as a flyer soaring on someone’s limbs. To truly understand positioning in space, it’s best to learn both parts of the skill (base & flyer) in order to help your partner succeed and know how each position feels. Working with different partners/ body types can change what position you practice that day. Eventually, you can decide whether you prefer flying, flipping, and twirling in the air or feel more comfortable grounded as the base.
5. Partner Size…
“AcroYoga doesn’t defy gravity, it honors it.” (acroyoga.org) Learning the technique is more important than the strength ability. The positioning of one’s body and the alignment of the bones balanced in space is what makes it an easy effort for those practicing. Once the technique is learned with his or her partner, then the comfort to provide a healing stretch or the ability to counterbalance someone twice the size can be achieved.
6. Give to Receive…
During an Acro class, you learn the art of allowing movement to flow passively or actively through a fundamental trust by ‘taking control of letting go’. Meaning, depending on the skill taught, participants either have full control, complete release, or a combination of both to maneuver positions. Typically, the base mover will control the communication for what is asked of the flyer pertaining to what skill is being performed.
AcroYoga is a practice that is a shared experience. It helps develop open and direct verbal communication with a partner. This is extremely important when cueing a partner who is upside down on someone’s feet! Things tend to get backwards and confused for each role. Right becomes left, up becomes down…sounds strange, but it’s the truth! Therefore, it’s so important to listen and communicate with each other to work as a team.
8. Trust Yourself & One Another…
Believe in yourself and others. This helps develop trust within the body, the community, and within yourself to do amazing things you never thought you could! By participating in basing, flying, and spotting, you will learn how to embrace trust, connect with balance, and unleash your inner acrobat skills!
AcroYoga is a practiced art that is something you can truly embrace through an understanding and appreciation of yoga. AcroYoga skills deepen through practice and confidence is developed over time with your inner drive to succeed. It’s something you can add into any program for exercise or fun. It can also change the way you view ‘a practice or skill’.
The AcroYoga Strength Workout…
Floor based, Partner work, & Total Gym
Acro play requires a base development of strength, flexibility, and inner core power. I have created a fun set of exercises that can prepare your body’s strength and flexibility in the Acro world!
These exercises utilize functional bodyweight strength on the floor, strength and trust with a partner, and core strength and balance on your Total Gym. Give it a try!
You will surprise yourself of how strong you can become!
Perform these exercises at your leisure and at your own pace to master the technique, develop strength, and flexibility within your body along with your partner.
Check out the video link to see these exercises performed by yourself, with a partner, and utilizing your Total Gym!
These exercises are not for beginners. Please be advised when trying these exercises on your own. Be sure a solid foundation of strength is developed prior to beginning these exercises on your own.
If I’ve sparked a little interest in you towards the Acro play world, then I’m pleased to ignite your learning curve! I suggest checking out some local groups/ classes in your area to learn the basics and safety of AcroYoga techniques. There’s a lot of knowledge available if you want to learn more about this amazing practice!
You can also check out yogabatics on YouTube. This channel provides 10 instructional videos that will explain the basics to getting started with AcroYoga. It covers each position of a base, flyer, and a spotters rule in the exercise.
The Beginning of the Show…
Amazing things happen to those who try new things. Just remember to be patient and enjoy the process in getting there.
It is with immense passion and gratitude that I urge your adventurous side to try AcroYoga to strength your inner soul, your body, and become a part of a community that shares the same passion for a divine partnership of practice!
Best of Love, Luck, Flight & Insight always!
http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos)
http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)