Yoga is one of the most popular types of exercise in the United States.
It has many benefits and requires little to no equipment, making it accessible and easy to practice both at a professional studio and at home. It can not only strengthen the body but also the mind.
One of the more unique and growing forms of yoga is Acro Yoga. This unusual but fun form of yoga takes some of the aspects of traditional yoga and mixes them with acrobatics and Thai massage to make something completely different.
In this article, we will take a deeper look into Acro Yoga. We will explain its background and core principles, and explain a typical Acro Yoga session.
The History Of Acro Yoga
Acro yoga is a relatively new disciple of yoga as it was only created in 2003.
It was created in the United States by Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein, who drew on their backgrounds in sports acrobatics, circus yoga, and contact yoga to create this new type of yoga.
The first formal Acro Yoga training manual was published in 2004 and the first group of Acro Yoga teachers was certified in 2006. Since then, Acro Yoga International has certified more than 1,500 Acro Yoga teachers around the world.
About Acro Yoga
Acro Yoga brings together three different traditions and disciplines. Let’s look at these in turn.
The first and most obvious is yoga. There are many different aspects of yoga and Acro Yoga focuses on not only the physical practice of moving through the different poses but also the awareness that yoga brings.
Yoga helps us to connect with the world around us through breathing and meditation and this is true of Acro Yoga as well.
Acro Yoga is not a solo practice. Instead, it takes aspects of acrobatics that involve lifting and supporting a partner through a variety of moves and poses.
This makes Acro Yoga a technical form of yoga, but also one that is playful and fun. Trust, respect, and joy between partners is very important.
Acro Yoga brings in aspects from Thai massage as well. It encourages students to heal, let go of the past, and listen.
How Is Acro Yoga Practiced?
Acro Yoga is unlike other types of yoga as it generally needs three people to be practiced correctly. These three people are known as:
- Base (giver) – this is the person that does the lifting during the practice
- Flyer (receiver) – this is the person that gets lifted
- Spotter – the role of this person is to assist when necessary and to make sure that everything is being conducted safely
A typical Acro Yoga session has several different aspects. It starts as a solo practice and each student will work on centering and checking in with themselves. This is the time to make your mind clear and ready for the practice ahead.
Once this solo practice has been completed, the session will move on to group work. This is where students will learn the Acro Yoga poses and lifts and how to complete them safely.
There are two different types of Acro Yoga practices.
This type of practice leans into Thai massage influences. It’s more therapeutic and healing than the more active Solar Practice.
In Lunar Practice, the flyer takes a more passive role. Instead, the base supports their weight and moves them through the poses. The flyer’s body is gently stretched and massaged through the practice.
This type of practice leans on the acrobatic side of Acro Yoga. Both the flyer and base take an active role in Solar Practice.
The poses and techniques used are more dynamic and energetic. Both students work together to make the practice fun,
The Seven Core Principles
Acro Yoga has seven core principles that teachers and students should adhere to. These are:
- Inclusion – Acro Yoga is open to everyone, regardless of their ability level, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or age
- Safety – Acro Yoga should remain safe at all times. Students should assess their own skill levels and watch out for their partners. When necessary, spotters should be used. Skills should be built progressively
- Fun – Acro Yoga should be fun at all times. People shouldn’t be afraid to try and should aim to break down any barriers that hold them back
- Presence – Give your full attention to your partner and remain present at all times
- Trust – Trust in your partner and fellow students and earn their trust through positive interactions
- Courage – Courage allows us to evolve and unlock our potential. We should have the courage to push ourselves but also to realize when situations are not right
- Respect – Respect is important in all interactions. We should state our boundaries and respect those of others
Benefits Of Acro Yoga
There are many benefits of practicing Acro Yoga. These include:
Like other types of yoga, Acro Yoga will help you build physical strength. The act of being both base and flyer requires you to use your muscles, especially in your core, legs, and arms.
Lunar practices can also help to relieve any muscle strain and tension you may have.
Acro Yoga uses a lot of inversions such as handstands. These can help to improve your circulation.
Most forms of yoga are solo practices. However, Acro Yoga involves working with others and forming a connection with them.
In this article, we introduced Acro Yoga. We explained what Acro Yoga is and how it was created. We detailed the different types of yoga practices and explained the differences between a Lunar and a Solar practice.
We also listed the seven core principles of Acro Yoga.
Acro Yoga is a very unique form of yoga that can have many benefits. We hope that this article has made you interested in trying Acro Yoga yourself!