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The Complete Guide to Acro Yoga

Acro yoga

Combining the spiritual disciplines of traditional yoga with acrobatic techniques, Acro Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in modern society. Boasting an array of physical and mental health benefits, the prac-tice focusses on strength building, improved concentration and overall stress relief. In this article, we will explore Acro Yoga in more detail, discussing the various techniques the practice incorporates as well as the health benefits it boasts.

The Basics of Acro Yoga

The Roles

In Acro Yoga, there are three main roles. These are referred to as the base, flyer, and spotter.

  • Base – The position of the base is taken by the individual who has maximum contact with the ground. Typically, this person will be lying flat on their back. In this position, both arms and legs are available to provide sufficient support and stability to the flyer. Generally, the main points of contact between the base and the flyer are the feet and the hands. For the base, it’s essential to practice on a high-quality yoga mat to provide the correct support. For a comfortable option, we recommend the Ana Heart, Empowering Yoga Mat.
  • Flyer – The flyer is the person lifted off the ground by the base. The flyer is able to move into a variety of different positions, often allowing gravity to do most of the work for them. An individual hoping to main-tain the flyer position needs to be confident, balanced and boast a high level of core strength.
  • Spotter – The role of the spotter is to simply stand back and make sure the base and flyer are practising the positions safely. If the flyer needs help down, the spotter will be there to support them. Another key role of this position is to critique the other two and recommend ways to improve their form.

The Elements

Acrobatics

The physical part of Acro yoga is based on Acrobatics. Using a variety of gymnastics techniques, individuals will build flexibility, trust and teamwork.

Static poses: Static poses are exactly how they sound – static. Generally, these are the most basic poses that beginners start off with. Great for improving balance, static positions require individuals to use equilibrium to maintain a certain form.

Acrobatic flying: Focussing primarily on movement, acrobatic flying enables individuals to move from one pose to another. Much trickier to master than the static poses, acrobatic flying should only be taught by certified instructors.

Yoga

In addition to acrobatics, Acro Yoga combines the physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines of traditional Yoga.

The History of Acro Yoga

First making an appearance in 1938, Acro Yoga has developed immensely over the past 70 years. The prac-tice was first seen on a video, picturing yoga teacher T. Krishnamacharya performing basic Acro Yoga with a child. Years later, in 1985, the practice made another appearance in the newly developed AcroSage inversion therapy. Created by Benjamin Marantz, the therapy involved therapeutic transitions and flying postures to carry out various forms of massage. Around the same time, Contact Yoga was also born, founded by a man named Ken Nateshvar Scott. Focussing on how individuals can connect through yoga Contact Yoga was designed to be practised with others. From here, the renowned practice of partner yoga was developed. In 1999, a studio named AcroYoga Montreal made its first appearance, bringing together dance, yoga and acrobatics to improve the health of individuals around the world. 4 years later, Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein created a studio called AcroYoga international. Their passion for movement arts and gymnastics helped them to spread Acro Yoga worldwide, encourages individuals from all walks of life to partake in the movement based yoga practice.

Acro yoga

The Goals and Benefits

Stretching

Like all forms of yoga, Acro Yoga is great for stretching the muscles. Typically, the flyer will partake in a series of split poses and backbends at an advanced level, allowing intense stretching to take place. Even for those who are just beginning, there are various different ways to carry out gentle stretches throughout the poses. When participating in intense stretches, it is important to wear the correct clothing to prevent rips and tears. For a flexible pair of yoga pants, we recommend the Ana Heart, Hendrix Supertechnic Leggings.

Relaxation

Relaxation is another key part of Acro Yoga. Incorporating therapeutic methods, Acro Yoga encourages loving-kindness between yourself and your partners. As part of the training, the flyer and the base will divide up into a giver and a receiver, taking turns to support the other through various different movements. As well as promoting relaxation, this process is designed to built trust between partners. Understanding that you each need to support the other for the postures to work best is important and will help to increase your skill-level with time.

Core Strength

Acro Yoga is great for building core strength. Regardless of whether you opt the position of the base of the flyer, a high level of core strength will be necessary to maintain balance whilst in the air. If you lack in this area upon beginning, regular practice will help to build strength fairly quickly, allowing your practice to advance alongside your strength.

Builds relationships

Possibily one of the most important benefits of Acro Yoga is the long-lasting relationships that it helps to form. It doesn’t take long for partners to realise that the postures cannot be completed without both parties being fully engaged, making each individual realise how much they need the other. Promoting deep-self love and increasing empathy, the practice of Acro Yoga can lead to long-lasting friendships.

In Summary

Whether you’re interested in starting Acro Yoga as a complete beginner, or you’ve already got a basic knowledge under your belt, Acro Yoga can provide an array of positive benefits to both mental and physical health. Like with any form of yoga, it is important to make sure you arrive prepared with the correct yoga gear. For a comfortable yoga top, we recommend the Ana Heart, Peace Long Sleeves. Today, there are thousands of Acro Yoga classes worldwide; so whether you’re looking for a couple of basic sessions or an intensive daily course, there is something out there to suit everyone.

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