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One of the biggest current trends in yoga isn't just about creating stunning, unique photos to impress your friends and family (although that's a great way to draw more people to the practice), it's about creating something bigger than yourself through communication, practice, and trust.
ACROYOGA: acro = high, and yoga = union, is the lovechild of acrobatics and yoga.
It's actually a blend of three disciplines: Acrobatics, Yoga, and Thai Massage. I think about them as the Active (acrobatics), the Passive (thai massage), and the Link (yoga, to tie it all together). All three are equally important. Acrobatic practice makes the body strong. Thai Massage allows the body to open. Yoga sends the mind into the space of possibility.
Just like the blend of three disciplines, practitioners, who sometimes refer to themselves at "monkeys", typically work in groups of three. The FLYER's job is trust - being the top of the pyramid means keeping your cool and knowing your team will keep you safe. The BASE's job is strength - supporting your flyer means knowing where you're going and proper alignment technique to use physics to make you strong. The SPOTTER's job is safety - the flyer and base can only play when they're in a safe space.
My wife and I have been practicing AcroYoga together since 2011. I'd taken a 5-day Immersion in 2011, learning lots of basic poses, spotting (safety is the highest priority in AcroYoga), and thai massage. After a few dates, I invited her to come along to class at OM FACTORY. We had a blast- the community is so welcoming, friendly, and supportive of anyone who wants to learn and play. It's been a part of our lives every since. There's really nothing like coming home from a long day and being able to say, "Honey, my low back feels sore. Can I hang upside-down on you?"
It's taught me so much about trust and communication. Taking time to explain what pose or transition you want to practice with your team before you do it quickly translates into your real life. When you take time to align your plan with your family, spouse, or friends before you act, everyone knows how to support each other better. That way, you don't both end up buying the extra large package of toilet paper.
Trust is about knowing you'll be safe no matter what you do. To put your body in someone else's care, upside-down, you have to know you're going to come back to Earth in one piece. The Spotter is single-handedly responsible for saving your life if a transition goes awry or the base's balance is off. When that safety element is taken care of, a team can do amazing things together. Can you imagine what we could do together as a community, a city, a nation, or a world?
There's only so much you can talk about. AcroYoga, like all practices, is meant to be experienced. If you're interested in learning, there are a couple places you should check out.
Classes happen a couple times a week at both OM Factory (http://www.omfactorynyc.com) locations in NYC.
If you're into the big scale festival-feel, the 2014 NY AcroFest is happening August 23-24 at Circus Warehouse in Long Island City, NY. Workshops range from beginner level (first timers) through advanced (handstand on someone else's hands and beyond). Tickets are $150 for both days, unlimited classes. To purchase yours, go to http://nyacrofest.eventzilla.net.
Written by Corey Loftus
Founder / Visionary : constantly quotable
Corey is a voiceover artist, yogi, and father to a fur-child named Eddy.
He'll work for almond butter.
corey [at] iamhom [dot] com