At some point in a yoga journey this happens: a desire to go deeper, boredom or dissatisfaction with a current yoga practice, or wanting more challenges.
As a lifelong yogini, five years ago these hit hard. Then AcroYoga (or Acro) entered my life. Offering a practice that consistently and reliably explores self, authentic relationships, and joy among the messiness of life. Acro is now my primary life practice because it works in teaching how to be fully engaged and alive in the world.
To paraphrase world renowned yoga teacher Donna Farhi, the practice of yoga is a life practice. It can be painting, singing, even Acro.
Really anything that allows one to discover themselves in life. As long as it’s practiced mindfully and with commitment, it’s a form of yoga. Ultimately contributing to the greater purpose of a yoga practice which, is to apply what we learn on the mat to our relationships, our work, and our play.
Here are eight reasons why Acro is a must try if you do yoga:
1. It Teaches Grace and Ease
There are options in the Acro practice for everyone regardless of feeling too weak, heavy, or busy. Practicing yoga is a great start and there is no need for an acrobatic or gymnastics background. Don’t worry about holding others back or not trusting the ability to lift, or fly on, another person.
With proper alignment and instruction it’s possible to find grace and ease.
There will be moments within the partnership that union happens by taking it slow and being aware. True confidence then shines beautifully (or handsomely) through in the practice.
2. It Challenges Strength
Acro challenges strength physically and emotionally. Physically, it strengthens the core, shoulders, and wrists, while testing one’s ability to move the body with awareness where it may not seem possible.
Emotionally, it trains skills to meet life face-to-face when the going gets tough. For example, Acro requires communication and trust. When my partner and I first began practicing together there were falls and arguments. With patience and persistence we worked through it. Which now translates into our relationship dynamics in everyday life especially when shit hits the fan.
3. It Improves Inversions
Whether working on headstands, forearm balances, or handstands, Acro takes inversions to a whole new level. As a stickler for alignment and supportive engagement, the concept of stacking contributes to gorgeous lines which are healthy for the body.
Combining the wisdom of acrobats with the mindfulness of a yogi the core will be found and shoulder stability will be wickedly strong. Also, the dreaded fear of falling will start to dissipate as confidence is built. Talk about an inversion love affair!
4. It Creates Connection
Yoga is an individual practice, while Acro is a practice of relationships. Acro is a way to come back and connect with someone that’s deeply cared for.
Brené Brown says, "I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."
With the craziness of everyday life, putting people first through a physical practice creates a closeness in the partnership. It’s a way to harmonize in an expression of creativity through breath and thoughtful touch.
5. It Offers Opportunities to Travel the World
This is for the adventurous spirits and those with wanderlust at heart. Acro gives instant community and play combining the best of new friendships with inspiring places.
For example, I’ve been a traveling nomad for two years. During that time I’ve met incredible people through Acro in places like Costa Rica, Thailand, the Philippines, and Bali. This is the only the tip of the iceberg of communities that exist worldwide.
6. It Helps With Evolving as a Human
Whether wanting to try something new or working through limitations, Acro provides a safe environment to achieve one’s fullest potential. The rewards of working through fears and risking vulnerability brings a sense of accomplishment and freedom. We are all in this together to progress personally and as a whole shifting the mindset of impossible.
For example, in developing my practice the most powerful teachings have been translating the physical into life. I thought a pose called Free Star, where someone is using their feet to balance my shoulders while I'm upside down, was impossible and the idea of it paralyzing. Thanks to the support of my partner and staying calm, I can stay for several minutes comfortably, now.
When faced with these same feelings in life I now know how to work through them.
7. It Elevates Joyful Living
With life being crazy busy and full of stresses, why not enjoy pure play? AcroYoga helps with this by getting you out of your head space and getting you to focus on connection, happiness, and joy.
Coming back to that ten-year-old self puts "getting old" into perspective. With Acro, laughing while progressing and creating lasting relationships is all part of the practice, making those times of frustration and fear much lighter.
8. It is a Practice of Community
Deep down, we all struggle with disconnection and loneliness. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, "belonging" is more basic than esteem or self-actualization, confirming that it’s normal to want to feel included.
Talk to most anyone who practices Acro and they’ll say it has changed their life. That it provides a tribe of people one can count on to be open, loving, and accepting.
The world needs more AcroYoga.
Through Acro, barriers are broken and it opens up the world of connection, allowing us to see we are all here for each other, regardless of our struggles and differences. Through a practice we share with another, it breaks open our ability to be vulnerable, aware, and kind. Which are certainly qualities the earth could use more of.
Why do you practice AcroYoga? Share with the community in the comments below!