Acro-Yoga

Few weeks back, I walked into a garden café to ponder what I would blog about and there was a group of 6 people doing something that sort of looked like yoga.  Except they were on top of each other, in two sets of three. “Its called Acro-yoga” is what I was told by the French instructor leading the sequence. “A combination of yoga and acrobatics and involves two or three people doing one pose together” Seemed interesting; new concepts usually are.  They asked me if I wanted to join the class and since I had nothing else to do and could not think of a topic to blog about, I agreed. Seemed really hard and scary and like a lot of fun.   The first thing I was told is that I had to trust my team members and completely relax my body.

Here’s how the class worked.  One person is the base, one person is a flyer and the third person, if the pose calls for a third, is a spotter. As beginners. all three must be of roughly equal size and weight.

First, we learnt the plank on plank which is a two person pose.  I was surprised at how easy it was to have someone else do the plank on top of me while I was also in plank.  Some strength, but mostly technique and perfect alignment. I was the bottom plank or the “base”, she was the top plank, or the “flyer” and had her feet on my shoulders and hands holding my ankles. Easy enough.

The second pose involved three people.  I, the base, went into downward dog. The flyer backed up onto my sacrum, went into a back bend with arms stretched out behind her. The third person held on to her arms and, standing behind me (the person in down dog) also did a slight backbend, pulling the flyer deeper into the bend. I hope this makes sense?

Next we learnt the ”folded leaf”.  As the base, I lay on my back with my knees bent and with Charlie chaplin feet placed just below the flyers hip bones.  With straight arms, we held hands.  On an exhalation, the base straightened her legs to 90 degrees and bends her arms, bringing the flyers head down and legs a little less than 90 degrees, feet pointing to the ground and as wide apart as possible.  You tend to get all clenched up, especially as the flyer.  Its about trust and an openness to fall, because you really are only falling a few feet.  I thought of it as more acrobatics and less yoga, but with many of the same principles of breathing and alignment and keeping an open mind to a little bit of pain.  Either way, it was tons of fun. I took two Acro Yoga classes; they were a nice little break from the routine of  the Ashtanga primary series

This “acro – trust – yoga” seems to be becoming the latest yoga fad.   The last one I’d heard of was yogilates a combination of yoga and pilates.  And then there’s hot yoga.  And probably many other hybrids that I’ve yet to stumble across.  It’s all about ideas and being the first to have them. You take a concept, anything that hasn’t been done before, give it a fancy name, put a cool marketing spin on it and soon, everyone’s raving.   People are looking for innovative and interesting things to do to such an extent that it’s even penetrated this age old, established practice. I wonder if I can find a way to combine  yoga and splashing about in water. “Aqua-yoga.” Find a few celebrities to endorse me and I’m half way there to my first million. Whoever said there’s no money to be made in yoga?