How to learn acro yoga
Okay, so your morals won’t let you become a circus acrobat as long as there are animals involved, and joining the international Cirque du Soleil tour isn’t practical in and around work, kids and trivia nights.
If so, acro yoga may well be the answer.
It’s yoga, Jim, but not as we know it
It’s certainly not and Spock surely wouldn’t approve of all the body-on-body gyrations of acro yoga. Nor would a lot of us for that matter; you can’t turn up for this yoga class alone unless you’re happy to be intimately contorted with a stranger. To put it mildly, acro yoga takes Twister off the multi-coloured mat and onto knees, arms, backs and arms, all of which belong to someone else. That is, if you’re an acro yoga flyer.
Introducing bases and flyers
Your base in traditional yoga is a mat. Throw that out the window and replace it with a body; not a dead one, a very much alive fellow human being (the base) right there beneath you (the flyer) and acting as your mat. And if you’re female and already thinking about asking a male buddy to come along, “It’ll be a laugh,” you’re now aware of why it might not be.
Your male buddy base will have arms and legs and a body and those arms, legs and body will be leafing through your flyer for an hour. Catch-up coffees could get a bit awkward after that. As Spock would surely attest, acro yoga is only for married couples who have already performed their own version of maritally-sanctioned acro yoga in the privacy of their own bedroom.
And no, it’s not. But at least you’re up to speed; it’s yoga with benefits.
So let’s go into more detail; first, base, or ever so slightly past it.
Does the base have to be the strong one?
In a word, yes. If, say, you’re a big tree trunk of a girl and your man is a twig, you might want to arm wrestle first. While small, wiry men can be surprisingly strong, acro yoga is not the time to find out they’re not.
What positions are involved?
Far too many to describe here, but both base and flyer are actively involved in what can only be described as double-decker yoga. You support each other, contort each other and generally meditate as well as you can with a foot up your Jacksie.
Acro yoga is most definitely in its infancy and a long way removed from yoga’s more modest North Indian origins. For a start, it’s more physical; a whole body workout, particularly for the base. That said, a planking flyer atop two feet is going to be working pretty hard and hitting muscles not normally hit.
While acro yoga won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it represents an interactive, strength-based workout to add variety to your week.