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The word ‘yoga’ means union in Sanskrit, and this is exactly what partner yoga aims to achieve – a uniting of two people.
It is a fabulous medium for building stronger communication and intimacy in just about any kind of relationship, whether it is friendship, a family member, or your significant other. Postures and flow sequences are designed in an awesome way to create and nurture trust, strengthen communication and create a sense of laughter and light heartedness!
The practice of acroyoga and the creation of the culture was said to be founded in 1999 by Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku in Montreal. This term was later made official by Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein.
So where does the ‘acro’ part come in?
Acrobatics is closely related to gymnastics, made popular by the circus, showing high levels of balance, agility, and coordination. Like yoga, it is thousands of years old and it was prevalent in ancient Greek and Roman societies. Merging acrobatics into yoga gives you… yes you got it.
Though you begin acroyoga with many static and beginner poses, more advanced acroyogis use dancing to create art through movement in dynamic poses or a pose sequence. Yoga and acrobatics play a larger role in acroyoga than dance. However all three of these ancient practices merge to promote a holistic and dynamic experience like no other.
Try out these beginner acroyoga poses as a way to start your journey into the practice. Make sure you are in a comfortable environment and join us for a soothing journey.
Offering an alternative to traditional yoga, acroyoga is a partner based variation. It builds trust, develops communication, and helps participants to be in tune with their bodies. There’s loads of poses, but we are going to start with the easy ones.
In acrobatic yoga, there are up to three people involved: the base (moving the flyer), the flyer (being moved), and the spotter which should have a knowledge of both the base and flyer position. The spotter is not essential, but is especially useful for beginners.
In both variations, it is important for the participants to switch roles to create a holistic and balanced practice. To keep this practice safe, poses that are unsteady or painful should be stopped by either of the participants saying “down”, so the flyer can be safely returned to the ground to prevent injuries.
The Key Principles
Acroyoga requires two people, known as partners. One plays the base and the other plays the flyer (the one being supported).
Many aspects of acroyoga overlap, however it focuses mainly on the connection of mind and body through dynamic meditation to achieve Samadhi; a trance like state. Physical movement only focuses one of the eight limbs of yoga, the rest include:
• Withdraw from senses
• Meditation to achieve self-awareness and self-knowledge
• Ethical integrity
So, what does this mean for acroyoga? Expect the grace of dance, acrobat movements and the connect of mind and body that yoga requires. This encourages a platform where trust, communication, and acceptance thrive.
Solar and Lunar Acroyoga
Acrobatic (Solar) and therapeutic (Lunar) are the two types of acroyoga which are often practiced together.
FROM 1ST-10TH OF THE MONTH
Lunar acroyoga uses Thai massage to calm, soothe, and stretch. Thai massage itself is a healing art that includes a mix of acupressure, aspects of Indian alternative medicine, and asanas.
With Lunar, the base places themselves on certain pressure points of their partner,. This promotes acupressure by using gravity to massage and relax. Many of Lunar’s movements stem from the Indian alternative medicine, Ayurveda.
One of the key beliefs held by the alternative Indian medicine is that balance promotes health. So a balanced and holistic practice is important in Lunar yoga. The end of a session is often after the partners switch roles and complete all positions. An equal session.
So what are some of the things you would do in a beginner’s class?
Jessie: We start with the fundamentals of yoga, counterbalance, helping each other get up off the floor without hurting our backs. Taking the weight before lifting up in the air. Working with three so you always have a spot.
Eugene: Yoga, core, sensitivity exercises.
Eugene: We use games to create sensitivity and communication.
Jessie: These are tactile games. Person to person: forehead to elbow, elbow to shin. So we start, in a non-invasive way, to make contact. You will go upside down sooner or later. If you have issues with going upside down then Acroyoga is the place for you because we start very slowly.
- REGULAR YOGI
FROM 11th to 20th OF THE MONTH
Balance between partners is also important in Solar yoga. This allows both partners to experience the weightlessness, balance, and stretch of the flyer, and the strength, coordination, and support of the base.
Achieving these positions is a display of intense body control, trust, and concentration. The partnership between these positions builds a unique connect between the flyer and the base.
You don’t need to be really fit, flexible, and have a certain body type. This is not the case! With the right training, Acroyoga is for everyone. Yogis didn’t just start out flexible, they worked hard to get that way. Flexibility is something that it enhances too but it is not a quality that is a required for your practice though. Don’t hesitate to get stuck in and learn the basics at your nearest spot.
- COMMITTED YOGI
FROM 21st TO 30th OF THE MONTH
And what are the main benefits of doing this kind of a practice?
Eugene: Well, physically, it keeps you in touch with your core. Once you do this you realise that the more you can activate your core, the easier it is. It also works you strength-wise, aerobically.
Jessie: Plus endurance, because we do a lot of holds. Sometimes three to five minute holds. There’s also psychological and emotional benefit that come over time. It helps you to communicate. What I said and what I should have said become very real in this practice.
Not only does acroyoga all of the benefits of yoga, it has the additional benefits from acrobatics and dance. This mashup of tradition is perfect to strengthen the bond between friends, partners, family, or even strangers!
The accomplishment acroyogis feel after completing a new or hard pose is like no other and will always be highly rewarding. Sharing this with your partner is simply euphoric. Whether you are an expert yogi or on the search for a new hobby, acroyoga could be the one for you!
Partner yoga brings people together through movement, play, breath, touch and importantly, in this forum – through intimacy. Here are some of the benefits of partner yoga, and what it can bring to your relationship:
1) Enhances And Cultivates Physical And Emotional Support In Relationships
Both partners need to be fully engaged in the experience, and rely on each other for the very creation of poses, and to maintain balance, alignment and focus. This is a great way to heighten the connection you have with your special someone as you learn to let go, enhance your communication, be open and have full faith in each other for their full support in each of the poses.
2) Creating Shared Moments
Partner yoga is not just about basing and flying, instead it is about giving and receiving. Size doesn’t matter, intention does. Let go of the idea of big people picking up small people, because it works both ways!
Think about two people moving together. Give yourself the chance to let someone receive your weight. Take the opportunity for someone to create shared movement with you. Now tell me, what is sexier than that – creating a bond and fabulous moments together while flying high!
3) Learning To Let Go
Sometimes we all take life too seriously, and there is always the temptation after a challenging day to take this out on our partner. Partner yoga is about learning to let go and enjoy life! To create that childlike approach to life, and learning to live the life you love.
4) Playground For Intimacy
Practicing with your loved ones can help to bring you closer. Relationships all go through lulls or rough patches when the status quo gets challenged and you need to work through them together. Partner yoga creates a fabulous sense of fun, and a sense of letting go and allowing you to not take yourselves and each other, and whatever problems exist around you, too seriously!
5) Improving Self-Awareness And Trust
In learning to trust another person, you deepen your ability to trust yourself. Partner Yoga practices reveal the beauty of our interdependence. We see that when we take the risk to become vulnerable in the presence of another, we are empowered to go much deeper with much less effort.
This is also true in life. We can accomplish much more, with much more joy and ease when we support each other.
6) Power Of Touch
As in a relationship, touch is also an integral part of partner yoga. Leverage and kinesthetic awareness all heighten the body’s ability to perform and make it possible to go more deeply into poses with less effort. We touch and are touched by others. We use the touch that we receive to increase our awareness of each other, and to open ourselves to greater depths in our body and our minds.
7) Creating A Sense Of Balance
We tend to have a particular tendency in our relational patterns. On one end of the spectrum, we may be so overly sensitive and yielding to others that we lose touch with a healthy boundary of self. At the other end, we may be so guarded, emotionally and energetically, that we are unable to make an authentic connection with others.
There is no giver or receiver in a yoga pose within Partner Yoga. Both partners are fully engaged in their own experience, each with their own clear role of support for the other person – creating that perfect sense of balance.
Who do you think can benefit most from Acroyoga?
Jessie: Acroyoga is for everybody. For people who have fear of touch or being touched, or being upside down: we’ve realised that over time in a supportive environment, they love it. And we go from terror to fear to caution to awareness. And to go from terror to awareness is amazing.