Yoga is typically performed as a solo activity, with practitioners reaping the benefits of an exercise meant to help center and strengthen both your body and your mind. And now if you’re considering building the connection and trust in a relationship — any relationship, not just a romantic one — you can try out acroyoga. The founding of acroyoga supposedly goes as far back as 1999, but it's safe to say it's having a moment right now.
Acroyoga isn’t the first practice to bring elements of other activities into yoga. Aerial yoga, which incorporates the long lengths of fabric used in aerial performances into traditional yoga moves, is also a popular alternative to traditional yoga. But acroyoga, because of it's emphasis on using other people's bodies and energy, is big with couples. But since, AHEM, not everyone has a significant other, friends can take acroyoga together too.
There’s already a certain level of trust and intimacy in those relationships and exploring those bonds through poses that require focus and cooperation could help. Most people trying acroyoga for the first time are a little nervous at first, but imagine how quickly those nerves will go away if the feet you're trying to flip around in belong to someone you already know and (hopefully) trust?
So what exactly makes acroyoga special? There seems to be a few varieties of it, but brand of AcroYoga co-founded in 2003 by Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemar incorporates three major elements.
1. Solar Acrobatic Practice
The elements of this practice are “strength building, inversions with spotting, and partner acrobatics.” This is also where AcroYoga practicers are put into groups containing a base (person doing the lifting), flyer (person getting lifted), and spotter (person making sure neither of them gets hurt).
2. Lunar Healing Arts Practice
This sounds like the most relaxing part of AcroYoga. In this practice, partners practice "therapeutic flying," in which the flyer lets the base stretch them and the flyer gives the base a massage to warm up their legs. Just the basic give and take of any relationship with a few gravity-defying moves, right?
3. Yogic Practices
Yoga is at the heart of AcroYoga, “the glue between the solar and lunar practices." While it gives AcroYoga a foundation to build on, it also can't hurt to practice meditation and mindfulness with someone else.
The trust building benefits of acroyoga aren't exactly scientifically proven (yet), but if you're interested in trusting a friend or lover to hold you upside-down in the air, check to see if there’s a AcroYoga class near you.
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