AcroYoga is a combination of acrobatic tricks, yoga poses, and a bit of massage. A base and a flyer work together to create a dynamic series of aerial poses. Both people work together to keep each other supported and safe as they work to achieve synchronicity in movement.
By Vanessa Fleming, Summersalt Yoga teacher
AcroYoga is full of subtleties, from just a tiny bit more strength to get into a headstand with your partner, to timing with each other, to the most important part…chemistry. Two people working together need to have clear communication, understanding of how each other works, and a deep trust. Oftentimes, the relationship between partner and flyer mirrors the connection of people in a romantic relationship. These two people develop an unspoken language by using their bodies to connect, grow, and develop their individual practices. Flyers and bases are more than friends…they are partners.
Part of the reason this deep connection develops is because you are working together to enjoy and endure the beauty of AcroYoga. Something so freeing as bird pose can also be so painful with just a couple of centimeters movement. Precision of foot placement and arms stacking correctly so that both partners can execute the pose is essential. But as soon as it’s precise, the pose can grow from bird, to star, to headstand. The touch between partners can be very intimate. When partners don’t connect, the practice becomes defunct. If the practice is disconnected, injury can happen.
But when it connects…it can bring about a level of excitement that’s indescribable. A flyer flies, a base feels that energy, and they can continue to grow together. And as they grow together, the subtle connection deepens. Many partners end up lifelong friends, or even more. For the physical aspects, AcroYoga consists of poses like hand to hand, where a base is holding a flyer’s hands and supports him or her as they go into a handstand, foot to hand, where the base holds the flyer’s feet either while on the ground or standing. There’s also cartwheel, where the flyer presents his or her hips to the base and goes into an upside down position. Let’s not forget about throne, where a flyer is sitting like on a throne, on the base’s feet. From throne, the flyer can fall back into a back-bend, and the two can start to play with pops – literally popping into new poses. As the flow happens, the transitions are called “washing machines” because the movement of the flyer and base is akin to the movement of a washing machine.
So all of this develops an outstanding experience for both physicality and human connection. AcroYoga is a global phenomenon with practitioners and festivals all over the world. Give it a go! See what it’s all about.