Hangle Dangle
Credit: Earl McGehee

I was drawn immediately to acroyoga when I first saw some people playing at a festival a few years ago. I have always admired acrobats. Unfortunately I experimented only briefly with a friend with as much inexperience as I had.

A few years have passed since then and I have had a few pleasant opportunities to practice this beautiful art.

Acroyoga is a combination of yoga, acrobatics and therapeutics (often Thai massage). This is a partner based activity, and it is best to work in groups of three or more so you can always have a spotter on hand to help and to rotate roles as to give one another a rest. A background in any of the above will give you a bit of a head start, but even those with no experience can start to learn.

Besides the spotter, the other roles are known as the base and the flyer. The base is the supporting person who is usually in contact with the ground for a pose (though some poses will utilize more than one base and one or more may not be touching the ground). They are responsible for supporting the flyer and assisting the flyer with transitions. The base may also give the flyer a massage. When the flyer isn't doing yoga or acrobatic poses, it can be very comfortable and relaxing to hang upside down and to receive a massage.

The flyer, as the name suggests, is not usually in contact with the ground. Balance and a strong core are important elements of a good flyer.

Communication is key for all participants of acroyoga, in order to play safely. Everyone must be clear if something is uncomfortable or painful and when there is need to adjust their positions. Trust is also important. This is why it is good to warm-up with trust building exercises.

A warm-down including partner stretching is a great way to end an acro session. Working with a partner to stretch can help you to go further. As always, communication is vital to avoid problems.

You may be able to find a local acroyoga class or meetup in your area with a simple web search. There may be classes offered at yoga schools or you may find something called an "acrojam". An acrojam is when a group of people practicing acroyoga meet to play. Depending on the number of attendees, the group may split into smaller groups. It is rather informal and not usually led by one teacher. There may be a few teachers present, or none. But you can learn from the other people playing! In my experience, it is a relaxed and fun way to learn, play and meet good people.

Elements of AcroYoga
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Acro flash mob
Credit: Earl McGehee