Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Adventures in Acro Yoga

I've been having a blast practicing AcroYoga lately! Growing up, I was a cheerleader and gymnast and had very little fear of being tossed around in the air, so when I discovered that you could "fly" in yoga too, my life officially felt complete. My husband has a pretty strong background in yoga so naturally, he is my perfect base. We've taken a few workshops around town but learn mostly through tutorials like this one on YouTube. 

Here is what I've learned from the past few years of practicing AcroYoga:

1) Properly warm up - Do whatever you need to do to open your hips, strengthen your core and focus your mind and breath. Do almost a full yoga class beforehand if you need to. Don't just dive in, like I used to! That's the quickest way to get hurt and not want to "fly" ever again.

2) Find a partner you trust - Husband, boyfriend, best friend....whoever you know has got your back, literally! Trust is the foundation of this practice as you push yourself FAR beyond your comfort zone to experience something new, so make sure you work out all your trust issues before you start. Bickering and placing the blame on the other person when you fall is so not ZEN!

3) Allow plenty of time to play - I've made the mistake of trying to squeeze an AcroYoga session into 60 minute time slot, just before dinner reservations....Bad idea. Don't limit yourself! Pick a day or night when you have plenty of time to play, laugh, fall down and get back up again. By the time you properly warm up, make a connection with your partner and get into the flow, an hour will have already flown by. Allow at least a 2 hour time frame to explore and enjoy all the good vibes of this unique practice.

4) Smile and Have Fun - that's the most important part! If you're not having fun, why bother? AcroYoga was created to bring people together, to experience human contact and to learn to work together in a yoga setting. So lighten up and keep your intention set on having FUN!

5) Be Realistic - While YouTube, Instagram and Facebook can be a great source of inspiration for trying new poses, it can also set you up for failure if you try to dive right into a sequence that is way out of your ability level. I texted my hubby a screen-shot of this Acro Yoga sequence by yoga goddess extraordinaire, Kathryn Budig with the caption, "Tonight?" Umm, yea right! Who was I kidding?! ;) Know your limits. Just like in a regular yoga practice, don't let your ego get the best of you. Honor your body, respect your partner and enjoy every minute of it!

One of our favorite sequences to play with is called "Catherine's Wheel". Here are some photos of different variations of the poses and how to safely get into the peak pose, which is a handstand variation. And here are some videos that inspire us - beginnerintermediate and more advanced.

Always bring love into your practice!

If you're near San Diego, check out Britta Turner's classes and workshops. 
She is an amazing AcroYoga guide! 

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