What is Acroyoga, that style of yoga where you do acrobatics? Who created it? How to practice it? Is it open to everyone? And by the way... is it really yoga? In this article, I explain everything about this recent and oh so relaxing discipline!
Since I have been practicing yoga, I realize that this discipline is, for many, sacred. So much so that it sometimes becomes... a little too serious! For me, yoga is not only a meditative practice where mantras are whispered... It can also be funny and invite us to self-mockery! So, if you have been dreaming of taking up yoga to relax, Hatha Yoga or Yoga Nidra has certainly been recommended. However, it is not mandatory to practice classical yoga to get the full benefits of this discipline!
If your desire is to engage in physical activity while having fun, then Acroyoga is definitely for you. Fun, it invites you to surpass yourself and to have confidence in others. However, it also allows you to let go and relax... Values specific to yoga. But what is it all about? Prepare your holds and abs, let's fly away together to find out more!
AcroYoga, a yoga turned towards others
AcoYoga is a form of yoga that can be practiced by two or more people. It consists of performing figures that are often done in the air. We find in this practice the very essence of yoga, but also acrobatics and pressure from Thai massage.
AcroYoga is an excellent way to gain confidence in yourself, in your ability to perform acrobatics but also to gain confidence in the other person. Indeed, your partner will serve as a base in your postures. You will have to open yourself to him in order to fully enjoy the benefits of these figures. It is a yoga where physical commitment is important, but which also develops the psyche: letting go, trust, sharing...
On the other hand, the great thing about Acroyoga is its fun and playfulness. In fact, it is a yoga class where you might get a few laughs while trying out some postures. Moreover, there is no question of remaining static or waiting. In Acroyoga, you will be very active throughout the class in order to perform your acrobatics as a duo.
The postures are generally done in duo and sometimes in trio or group. There is always a wearer who serves as a base for the posture and an acrobat or flyer who will be in the air. Rather Kapha, stable and anchored to the ground or Vata, in perpetual movement? It will be up to you to choose the role you want the most. Nevertheless, if you do Acroyoga in duo man/woman, the carrier will often be the man who will work his strength while the outfielder will more often be the woman who will work on balance and flexibility. Moreover, the roles can also be reversed during the session.
In addition, there is often a paeur to ensure the safety of the people doing the posture.
Finally, in order to achieve each posture, you will see that communication and coordination are paramount in the team. This will strengthen the team spirit a little more, at each session!
History of AcroYoga: the origin of this practice
This style of yoga was developed in North America in the early 2000s. Indeed, it was in San Francisco that Janson Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein decided to combine the soothing aspect of yoga, the pressures of Thai massage and the work of strength and confidence necessary for acrobatics.
Jenny Sauer-Klein was a yoga and circus arts teacher while Janson Nemer was a former acrobatic gymnastics champion. So they decided to combine their passions to create a new discipline: between the wisdom of yoga, the relaxation of Thai massage and the dynamism of acrobatics. According to them, the goal of AcroYoga was to develop a work in couple where one increases one's confidence, one's sense of group and above all, where one takes a lot of pleasure and joy.
Another school was created in 1999 in Montreal by Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku. Founders of AcroYoga Montreal, they still teach dance, yoga, Acroyoga and other disciplines.
AcroYoga, a yoga that mobilizes the body... and the mind!
AcroYoga is a style of yoga where you will work a lot on strengthening your muscles. Indeed, the postures require you to strengthen the abdominal muscles while being well sheathed. You will also strengthen your back muscles, arms, legs and promote flexibility according to the postures. On the other hand, Acroyoga also allows you to work on your balance, agility and position in space.
Moreover, this style of yoga also mobilizes the mind... Indeed, it has a "circus arts" side that makes it very artistic. It will allow you to develop your artistic fiber and creativity.
Moreover, it will teach you what you are capable of over the course of the sessions, even if it seems difficult! With the help of your support, you will more easily dare to attempt postures that seem complicated. By working in a team, you will find it easier to progress and you will be motivated to surpass yourself. All these reasons make it a very good activity for your morale. You will often have to overcome your fear, get out of your comfort zone and go for it... And what pride you feel when you succeed! Acroyoga is an excellent way to become more flexible in the face of life's challenges, to boost your self-confidence and to change your reactions to new things. Nothing is impossible forever!
Finally, if you do yoga as a couple or with friends, Acroyoga will be the perfect discipline to strengthen your bonds and have fun together.
How to practice AcroYoga? Is there an age limit?
Contrary to popular belief, Acroyoga is open to all. Although the figures may seem impressive to you from an outside point of view, there are actually a lot of postures suitable for beginners. The most important thing is to go to your session in order to take a moment for yourself, let off steam and do yourself some good! You will work on removing your barriers, not focusing on your fears and trusting, little by little... However, don't be too hard on yourself if it seems difficult at first... Depending on your education or history, taking and giving confidence can take time!
Acroyoga is therefore open to everyone and all ages, from 3 years old to the end of one's life. Of course, the discipline will appeal more to the youngest and even to teenagers for its playful side. In fact, it is an excellent yoga to practice with your children as a family. On the other hand, you can start Acroyoga very late, as soon as you have retained your childlike spirit! In fact, the creators of Acroyoga in Montreal are still practicing at almost 60 years old. Therefore, there is no need to put a barrier in your way. If it's the discipline that makes you want to do it, go for it!
But what do you need to bring for your Acroyoga session? Equipment varies depending on the class. In general, however, you will need a thick but very non-slip yoga mat to prevent slipping. Take one per person. In terms of clothing, opt for a classic yoga outfit, rather close to the body to make gripping easier.
Yoga in the air: are there risks?
When you look at all these acrobatics, Acroyoga is probably more risky than other less aerial yoga. In the air, falling is possible, resulting in a significant risk of injury. Nevertheless, Acroyoga teachers testify that they are quite rare. If you are well accompanied and guided in each figure, there is little risk of falling. On the other hand, yoga styles practiced on the floor also carry a risk of injury, although it may not always feel like it.
Therefore, to avoid falls, it is preferable to be accompanied by a teacher. This will allow you to choose figures at your level and to evolve with confidence.
Also, if you wish to try Acroyoga outside of class, choose beginner's figures and bring a third person to make sure you are safe. Ideally, you should start in the sand or on the grass in order to cushion any falls. At home, do not practice on the bed, which could be dangerous (soft and high). Instead, put yoga mats on the floor and cushions around you.
Finally, don't think of an Acroyoga class as just a series of acrobatic postures one after the other. If you start by throwing yourself upside down into your partner's arms, you're at high risk of injury. Warming up is essential to prepare your spine and muscles for the exercises!
How does an AcroYoga session take place?
As you now know, an AcroYoga session always begins with a warm-up. This allows the body to wake up gently. It consists of stretching and breathing exercises that can be found in classical yoga: the dog upside down, the cat and cow posture or the child's posture. However, the focus is on contact and sharing with other participants. One can then do some traditional yoga postures in duo with another practitioner, in order to keep the touch or eye contact with him and improve his complicity.
The heart of the session consists of performing acrobatic postures with one's partner while being guided by the teacher. Strength and flexibility will be the focus. However, Acroyoga can also be more therapeutic. The practice can then be more lunar. In this case, the sessions are gentler and focus on the use of gravity and pressure by the wearer.
Duo massages can be done at the end of the session to relax and loosen all muscles. Finally, the session concludes with a final relaxation to regain calm and relaxation.
The benefits of AcroYoga
Do you dream of discovering Acro-Yoga? But what benefits will you find in this practice? Here is a non-exhaustive list of the benefits of this practice:
- Increase your self-confidence: Acroyoga is a discipline that allows you to go beyond your limits and get out of your comfort zone. It quickly invites you to feel proud of yourself.
- Facilitate sharing: In a society where individualism and fear of others are common, Acroyoga allows us to strengthen our ties with others, to open up and to trust. It promotes communication and openness to others and thus brings many emotional benefits.
- Deep body work: AcroYoga is a style of yoga where the body works hard. Strengthening muscles, flexibility, balance... Over the course of the sessions, you will be able to build your muscles and develop your abilities.
- Friendly and fun: This is the style of yoga for you if you are anxious about staying quiet and bored in classical yoga classes.
- Relaxation: Acroyoga combines massage with acrobatics and yoga! You will be able to relax and release your tensions, after having sweated well ...
It's decided, are you starting Acroyoga today? Then don't hesitate to look for a yoga class near you that offers this discipline.