The last few days, I shared acro-yoga with some of the other kiters in between water sessions. It was a lot of fun! Here are some of the things I love about acro yoga…
You really can do it with anyone, regardless of experience or skill levels...
Needless to say it was a completely different experience with every-body. More on that later but the best part was feeling that we got to know each other really well in a short period of time. Personally I'm not great at small talk so it was nice to feel genuine connection with each.
2. Anytime… Anywhere
No equipment necessary! All you need to do acro is a partner and a flat(tish) surface. This makes it a great activity for when the wind isn't right for kiting or its too wet for mountain biking. Exotic locations make for great backdrops and what a great alternative to reaching for a beer! Something that will leave you feeling energised with your core activated ready for your next session on the water when the wind fills in. It can also be a useful way to reach high apples back home in sunny Bath!
3. Acro is Never Dull
Each new partner is a fresh adventure. Foot placements and balance points vary and there is a vast repertoire of moves to try which link together in many different ways. The only limit is your imagination and the courage to try something new. One of the most rewarding aspects of Acro Yoga is 'figuring out' a new move for the first time. Perhaps something you saw at a workshop that looked impossible at the time. Every new move that is mastered becomes a new building block in your foundation to (quite literally) unlock new heights.
4. Different Challenges
Alex was strong so I got to fly sitting on his feet in 'straddle throne' with a backward exit into handstand via 'high flying whale'. If that reads as gibberish then hopefully you can imagine me standing tall on his shoulders. That was out next move! Sadly I wasn't able to offer him the same platform but it was really satisfying to fly someone bigger than me and a great insight into how it must feel for my base when they are smaller than me. What was fascinating is that when he was confident in a pose with his core engaged he felt light to fly. Sadly Alex left before we got the cameras out.
Mandy had never tried yoga before so we spent a bit longer getting the initial postures comfortable and building trust before moving on to 'flying bow pose' and 'straddle throne'.
In each partnership we experienced things that were previously impossible. Finding power, relaxation and flow with each person was deeply rewarding for all. One of the kiters who didn't try himself actually thanked me and said how much he enjoyed watching. He seemed genuinely moved. What a great gift Acro is!
5. Physical Benefits
Acro Yoga requires strength, balance and alignment in equal measures. It is also a powerful teacher in each of those areas. It is a common experience to move from 'struggle' to 'grace' in an instant. Sometimes it only lasts for a fleeting moment but that moment is enough. The neural system has the taste of something new. Belief grows and facial expressions shift from intense concentration to a smile of pure exhilaration. Body confidence has grown - not because of what we look like to another person but because we know that our body can do something exceptional.
Check out Sylvie's focus in 'flying bow' - its a tricky one to stabilise!
Difficult become easy.
The challenge has been met…
Time to try a new move!
6. Holistic Benefits
Acro is one of the best ways I know to learn about how you relate to yourself and others. It calls forth high levels of communication and trust. Do you tell other people what you don't want or do you know how to clearly ask for what you want? Your acro is going to show this to you clearly. When interpersonal skills are strong progress is rapid.
There is nothing quite like the sensation of dropping into deep connection and relaxation with another person. In this shot Mandy and I are just about to transition from 'high flying whale' to 'side plank'.
I could spend hours talking with a coaching client who wants to learn to trust men but what if I could teach her to fly instead? To give her a bodily felt experience of what she craves deeply in a safe context. The same is equally true for someone who wants to experience stillness or release control. When the mind is fully engaged by a challenging balance stillness will arise naturally. When the mind is moving between two positions that it doesn't understand it has no choice but to let go and accept.
Acro is powerful medicine.
So whatever benefits you seek you will have a lot of fun figuring out different poses with different partners. The best way to learn is to find an 'acro jam' in your area. New 'acro-yogis' are ALWAYS welcome so go along and ask someone to show you some moves!