A few days ago somebody made clear that Acro Yoga is just a waste of time. It’s just fun. It has nothing to do with Yoga or a spiritual path. It wasn’t the first time I heard it. A few years ago an old yoga teacher in Tilburg put Acro Yoga down as ‘no real yoga’. According to him: yoga is something you do on your own. You can like Acro Yoga or you can dislike it, but I do think it’s very spiritual and by practicing it it will enrich your regular yoga practice and your spiritual life. Acro Yoga definitely is fun, but it is so much more. So here are 10 reasons to do (more) Acro Yoga
1 – Acro Yoga is fun
Yes Acro Yoga is fun. I love it and I’ve seen a lot of people around me falling in love with it. This love, this fun is the best base you can have for your practice. If you love doing something discipline will follow, because you want to do it more, more and more. I don’t believe in turning it around. You can’t discipline people and then telling them they have to love it. It always starts with love.
2 – Acro Yoga is discipline
If you fall in love with Acro Yoga, just as I did, you probably only want to do more poses, more transitions, more acrobatics, more Thai Yoga massage (which is a part of Acro Yoga). A lot of this stuff you can train doing Acro Yoga, but some of it you have to train without flying and basing. You need core, you need strength. I know a lot of Acro yogis who are very disciplined and train really hard to do all the crazy shit they do. Again it’s the love for Acro Yoga that wants them to be disciplined.
3 – You get strong doing Acro Yoga
Acro Yoga made me way stronger than I was before I started it. And not only me, but also the flyers I worked with. As a flyer you need and a strong core and pretty strong arms for all the transitions. As a base you will often have somebodies full weight (60 to 100 kilos) hanging on one leg. You need some strength for that. You will also balance people on your arms above your head. Stacking bones is the trick, but without strength it’s not going to work. You will benefit form this extr a strength in your regular yoga practice and in your day to day life.
4 – Acro Yoga makes you flexible
I am far from naturally flexible. When I started doing yoga – about eight years ago – I could barely though my knees in forward bends. It improved a bit doing yoga, but when I started doing Acro Yoga regularly I really, really improved. Why? Because as a base you have somebody hanging on your feet almost all the time. Pressing your toes down to the floor, stretching your hamstrings.
Other poses – like jumping into thrown – require a serious hip opener. As a flyer you can get into serious deep back bends. Way deeper than you are able to do on your own.
5 – Acro Yoga makes you discover yourself
So far I’ve been talking about the physical benefits of Acro Yoga, but it has spiritual and mental benefits as well. In Acro Yoga you work in a pair of two. Often supported by a spotter, which makes it three. Some moves you can even do with more people at the same time. In your normal yoga practice you’re always confronted with the challenges within your own body: skeletal restrictions, muscular restrictions. Working together with somebody else confronts you even more with this challenges. Now you are not just depending on you, but on somebody else as well. If you study what is happening in your mind, you will learn a lot about yourself.
6 – Acro Yoga is stepping out of your comfort zone
Acro yoga is a combination of yoga, Thai Yoga massage and acrobatics. You will be upside down a lot and not just upside down, but upside down on somebodies feet. If your base has got long legs like I have that can be pretty challenging. Just like jumping into high poses, being dropped, hanging on one leg.
The base has a big responsibility to keep the flyer safe. That could be a whole other way of stepping out of your comfort zone. If we want to grow, we have to step out. In that way Acro Yoga will make you grow.
7 – Acro Yoga will increase your compassion
As said before you are working with other people: bases, flyers, spotters. We talked about how this can effect your mind and gives you the opportunity to study your own mind and reflect on how you think about yourself. It also gives you the opportunity to see how you react on other people and on their abilities and limitations (physically and mentally) to base and fly. Some people need longer time to learn new moves. I’m one of them. To coordinate my feet and hands costs me a lot of time. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Having to deal with these challenges in yourself and in others is a great way to train your compassion.
8 – Acro Yoga increases your communication skills
Working together requires communication. Good communication. I’ve seen amazing bases drop amazing flyers, because they didn’t communicate. I’ve got a friend – a good base – he is better at it now, but when he use to try new things out, he was so busy with his own part of the move he wouldn’t say anything to the flyer, who had no clue what to do.
I teach a workshop called Yoga for Lovers. It involves partner yoga, something I always love to teach. Just looking at how couples interact and communicate tells a lot about their relationship. Doing Acro Yoga is working on your communication skills to fly smooth.
9 – Acro Yoga heals your body
Acro Yoga is mainly know of all the cool flying. If you are not that familiar with Acro Yoga yet, check out Daniel Scott and you will know what I’m talking about. But there is another side to Acro Yoga as well. A very soft side. Therapeutic even, because Acro Yoga is also Thai Yoga massage. A lot of flying is therapeutic flying. Stretches and massage techniques that will heal your body.
10 – Doing AcroYoga is making new friends
Acro Yogis are often the hippies under the yogis. Yes, there are some big egos in the Acro Yoga world as well, but mainly it is a beautiful world, where people get together to jam and share. I met Fraukje a few months ago. I was staying a few days in Den Bosch. I knew she lived there. She was a friend of friends. We arranged to meet up through Facebook. Our first contact was an amazing, lovely hug, followed by a small chat and lots of Acro Yoga. Same out here in India. Natalie introduced me to Jenn through Facebook, because we are both Acro Yogis. The first contact wasn’t a formal handshake, but a warm hug. That’s Acro Yoga.
In the Netherlands we always come together to jam: fly together, learn new stuff together. Share our knowledge. Often it goes hand in hand with a food party. Everybody brings yummy, healthy snacks, shares their food and we fly. Where in day-to-day life everybody always looks busy, Acro Yogis seemingly always have space for new friends and time to fly.