The Yogi Provocateur Asks: Is AcroYoga Really Yoga?
One of the most vital parts to the practice of AcroYoga is laughter. One should thoroughly enjoy whatever they’re doing. Laughter brings lightness, smiles, and reminds us to breathe. It’s also something I usually do right in the face of those who tell me “AcroYoga isn’t yoga.”
Totally understandable, I’ll say, but have you actually tried it? Have you really felt the difference between moving and being moved?
The human body is a dynamic machine composed of a variety of intricate systems and moving parts. For most, yoga offers a detailed framework designed to help understand our bodies (physical, mental, and emotional). Through this, many have been able to develop and deepen their connection to a higher spiritual experience.
Just as Yoga is much more than physical asana, AcroYoga isn’t just about fancy, high-flying excitement. It’s about connection, creation, exploration, and most importantly, the acceptance of trust. All of the flash you see is actually clever marketing. Be honest—if Yoga Journal ran a cover photo of a sweaty, inflexible dude in warrior one rocking a big smile, would you think “Man, I want to do some yoga RIGHT NOW!”?
As in any other type of yoga, most come to AcroYoga for the flash and end up staying for the substance. And, just like other classes, there is usually a select group of practitioners who can float up to handstand and bind in a plethora of weird, wonderful ways. Just because their practice is much more flashy than normal, does that mean they aren’t doing yoga?
Beauty isn’t just skin deep. It goes right down to the core, past the bones, into the energy and inspiration that moves the body. My experience of AcroYoga helps to examine movement and connection from the inside out: Intention, Action, Result.
Yoga purists, have I caught your attention?
Take the example of the video above. It’s not being me being strong or Alex being graceful. It’s about finding trust in shared movement. We’ve spent hours honing our personal yoga practices in hopes of find balance together. Rest assured, Alex can easily do bakasana (crow pose) on the floor. I’ve done my fair share of pincha mayurasana (forearm stand) to learn the structure necessary to balance weight in my arms. We both practice sirsana II (tripod headstand) and have solid urdva dhanurasanas (backbends).
What you don’t see here is how many times we messed up (past that first laugh), the countless hours of personal and shared practice, the dozens of spotters and outside help we’ve asked for to build trust in what we’re doing, and the shared effort put into creating communication and vocabulary through movement. We’ve never slept together, hooked up, or anything like that. Intimacy is shared passion, and we both love the art of finding balance.
After teaching AcroYoga for over six years, I’ve come to call it the Yoga of Trust. Trust allows us to believe in something that we cannot see. It is the substance that makes the journey from the known and the unknown smoother and more easeful. While we often believe trust to be something we place externally, it often comes from developing a true understanding of what we ourselves are capable of.
What do you think about Yoga, AcroYoga, and finding trust through shared movement? Share your feedback in the comments below!