My First Acro Yoga Experience
One of the things I love most about yoga is how diverse it is. There are so many different variations of yoga including hatha, bikram, Iyangar, restorative, aerial, acro - and the list goes on an on. Most recently, I tried acro yoga for the first time and completely fell in love with it.
Acro yoga is very interesting in that it combines yoga, acrobatics, and thai massage into one practice. What I enjoyed most about acro yoga was the team work required to make it safe and fun for everyone. In a beginner acro yoga team, there are three primary roles including the base, flyer, and spotter. In more advanced teams, there are more people included in the mix and the flyer for one base could become a base for another flyer, depending on the variation. The base can also hold multiple flyers as well however, that requires a lot of strength, concentration, and trust across all parties.
Roles in Acro Yoga
Base - the base is the individual who maintains the foundation for the pose with the flyer. This enables both arms and legs to be stacked properly for maximum stability. The main points of contact for the flyer are the feet placed on either the hips, groin, or lower abdomen, and the hands are either handholds or grasping the shoulders. It is important for the base to be cautious of the flyers pain points when placing their feet on their body. For me, it was really painful to have the base’s foot on my groin due the scars from the endometriosis.
Flyer - in this role, the individual is elevated by the base and can move into various dynamic poses guided by the base. Although the flyer needs to maintain stability in their core, the base and gravity are doing all the work for them. However, it is important that the flyer is present and aware of the shifts in balance throughout the movements.
Spotter - in this role, the spotter has the objective view of the partners and their primary responsibility is making sure that the flyer and base are safe. The spotter can also support the partners in adjusting their positions to enable better balance and form.
“Yoga, all types of yoga, is truly a full mind body experience”
I must say I got such a high from my first acro yoga class and immediately signed up for another class the following week. I really enjoyed how we all had to work together to make this a positive experience for everyone. I’ve stated in previous blogs that I consider yoga to be a trust exercise for yourself as well as with others.
I had the benefit of rotating across all three roles during my first class. When I acted as the base, I realized that it required substantial activation of my leg muscles to elevate the flyer. It also required that I establish trust with my flyer to allow them to feel confident enough in me lifting them safely. As the flyer, it required that I place trust in my partner, establish awareness of my center of gravity, and my core stability. I had to release all anxiety and fear and allow myself to enjoy the experience. I also had to concentrate on my role in this partnership and how it impacted the balance between us. It is definitely a lot easier said than done. Lastly, as the spotter, it required that I be present at all times as well as anticipate any potential mishaps. It is important to assume a position where you have optimal balance in case you need to catch the flyer.
This experience was a metaphor for life. In life, we are constantly playing a rotating act with one another across all three poses. The base, flyer, and spotter all need each other for support, trust, love, and guidance. I realized through this experience how important it is to have these qualities in the people I surround myself with so that I continue to have a positive and safe life journey.
Have you tried acro yoga yet? What was your experience like?